NATIVE AMERICAN ATTORNEY; TRIBAL JUDGE; AUTHOR & ACTIVIST
Walter Echo-Hawk is a Native American attorney, tribal judge, author, activist, and law professor. He represents Indian tribes on important legal issues, such as treaty rights, water rights, religious freedom, prisoner rights, and repatriation rights. His career spans the pivotal years when Indian tribes reclaimed their land, sovereignty, and pride in a stride toward freedom.
As a Native American rights attorney since 1973, Walter worked at the epicenter of a great social movement alongside visionary tribal leaders, visited tribes in indigenous habitats throughout North America, and was instrumental in the passage of landmark laws—such as, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990) and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments (1994). He litigated in many of the epic struggles and has written extensively about the rise of modern Indian nations as a Native American author with first-hand experience, such as his groundbreaking book, In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided (2010) .
Walter speaks extensively and appears in film and radio to educate the American public about tribal life, culture, and indigenous justice. He is currently on a national book tour for his new book, and appeared in The Development of NAGPRA, a new film about the Native American repatriation movement produced by the National Park Service in 2010, and several national radio programs. Always thought-provoking, inspirational, and sometimes provocative, he explains complex issues in a professional, but easily-understood style.
IN THE LIGHT OF JUSTICE: THE RISE OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN NATIVE AMERICA
In 2007, the United Nations approved the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. United States endorsement in 2010 ushered in a new era of Indian Law and policy. In this groundbreaking talk, Walter highlights the steps that the United States, as well as other nations, must take to provide a more just society and heal past injustices committed against indigenous peoples.
IN THE COURTS OF THE CONQUEROR: RE-THINKING FEDERAL INDIAN LAW
This talk examines the forces at work in the "dark side" of federal Indian law that renders indigenous rights vulnerable. Walter expertly offers a blueprint for strengthening those rights in the 21st century. Walter also dives into case studies of Supreme Court cases that changed the fate of Native Americans, providing the contemporary historical and political context of these cases, and explaining how the decisions have adversely affected the cultural survival of Native people to this day.