Marcia Franklin talks with former Idaho Attorney General Larry Echo Hawk about his current position as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. Echo Hawk was sworn into office by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on May 22, 2009.
Echo Hawk, who served as Idaho's Attorney General from 1990-1994, tells Franklin why he decided to accept the job, one of whose responsibilities is overseeing the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), an agency he himself describes as having a "haunting history of mistreatment" since it was established in 1824.
He talks about his goals for the agency, which has a $2.6 billion budget and 10,000 employees. The BIA administers 55 million acres of land on behalf of nearly two million tribal members; the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) runs a school system with 47,000 students.
Franklin asks Echo Hawk about his strong opposition to tribal gaming when he was Attorney General, and whether his views have changed in his new position. He also reflects on his failed bid for Idaho's governor in 1994, when he ran against Phil Batt.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Echo Hawk served for 14 years as a Professor of Law at Brigham Young University. He started his career in Idaho as Chief General Legal Counsel to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. He then went on to be elected as Bannock County prosecutor and serve two terms in the Idaho legislature before becoming Attorney General.