Published September 21, 2019
TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa City-County Library’s American Indian Resource Center will induct Walter Echo-Hawk into the Circle of Honor during a special presentation March 7, 2020, 10:30 a.m. at Zarrow Regional Library, 2224 W. 51st St.
The Circle of Honor award presentation begins a month-long celebration honoring the achievements and accomplishments of Native Americans. Programs will be held throughout TCCL locations during March. All library events are free and open to the public.
Author, attorney and legal scholar Walter Echo-Hawk, Pawnee, has been a Native American rights attorney since 1973. As staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund until 2009, he represented Indian Tribes, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians on significant legal issues in the modern era of federal Indian law, during the rise of modern Indian nations in the tribal sovereignty movement. He was instrumental in the passage of landmark laws like the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments. He also has written extensively about the rise of modern Indian nations as a Native American author with first-hand experience.
Echo-Hawk’s books include “In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Works Indian Law Cases Ever Decided” explores the forces at work in federal Indian law that render Native American rights vulnerable today. “In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America & the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” explores the proposition that Native American rights are inalienable human rights and urges Indian Country to work toward the human rights framework created by the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
His newest book, “The Sea of Grass: A Family Tale from the American Heartland,” traces 10 generations of the Echo-Hawk family. It is described as a “novelized account of the lives and times of real people whose lives were shaped by the land, animals and plants of the Central Plains and by the long sweep of Pawnee history in the grasslands. Their trials and tribulations are a stirring tale of resilience and survival that captures the human spirit in Native North America.”
Echo-Hawk has represented various Oklahoma tribes; served as a Justice on the Supreme Courts of the Pawnee Nation and Kickapoo Nation; taught Federal Indian Law at the University of Tulsa, Lewis & Clark and University of Hawaii law schools. He also serves as Chair, Board of Directors, Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums and is on the “Knowledge Givers” advisory board for Oklahoma’s American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.
“Walter Echo-Hawk has devoted his life and expertise to the indigenous cultures locally and throughout the world,” said Teresa Runnels, American Indian Resource Center coordinator. “It is a great honor to recognize him for his work in preserving tribal and cultural sovereignty, social justice and religious freedom.”
The Circle of Honor ceremony recognizes an American Indian for his or her achievements by acknowledging the inductee’s contributions that have enriched others’ lives and by celebrating the inductee’s action in the face of adversity, commitment to the preservation of American Indian culture and legacy for future generations.
The Circle of Honor is sponsored by the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, American Indian Resource Center and the Tulsa Library Trust. The award consists of a $5,000 honorarium and a medallion featuring the American Indian Resource Center’s turtle logo.
The Circle of Honor alternates annually with the American Indian Festival of Words Author Award. Past Circle of Honor recipients include Charles Chibitty, Wilma Mankiller, Neal McCaleb, Billy Mills, Kirke Kickingbird, Ruthe Blalock Jones, Sam Proctor and Dr. Henrietta Mann.
Each March, TCCL’s American Indian Resource Center presents free, family events to celebrate the history, culture, arts and achievements of American Indians through a series of enlightening programs.
The American Indian Resource Center provides educational and informational resources, activities and services honoring American Indian heritage, arts and achievements. The center also provides access to more than 4,000 books and media for adults and children by and about American Indians, including historical and rare materials, new releases, videos and music CDs.
Recent additions to the collection include native-language printed materials and CDs for independent learning. The goal of this collection is to promote, revitalize and preserve our country’s native languages.
For more information on the Circle of Honor ceremony, call the AskUs Hotline, 918-549-7323, or visit the library’s website, https://www.tulsalibrary.org/locations/visit-the-american-indian-resource-center