Sept. 17: Need for land ethic in environmental policy

PULLMAN, Wash.—Native American attorney Walter Echo-Hawk will discuss “The Need for an American Land Ethic” in a free, public presentation about environmental challenges at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at 101 Kimbrough Hall on the Pullman campus of Washington State University.

A tribal judge, author, activist, and law professor, Echo-Hawk will discuss the role of indigenous peoples in helping nations form environmental ethics, and will explore the need for an American land and sea ethic to address the global environmental crisis.

Walter Echo-Hawk
Walter Echo-Hawk

“Long known as a leading advocate for Native American rights, Walter Echo-Hawk is now exploring ways in which the unique perspectives of indigenous communities can be brought bear in solving environmental issues around the globe,” said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, event co-sponsor. “It is both a great honor and a great opportunity to welcome him at WSU where our students, faculty, and community can engage directly with him.”

A reception will follow at the Foley Institute in Bryan Hall, 3rd floor.

Echo-Hawk 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.

He will discuss and sign his newest book, “In The Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America & the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Compton Union Building (CUB) Auditorium at WSU Pullman.

The book outlines the steps he says are necessary to create a more just society and heal past injustices committed against indigenous peoples following the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

A Native American rights attorney since 1973, Echo-Hawk has 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, most recently in his book, “In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided” (2010).

The events are co-sponsored by the Foley Institute and the Plateau Center for Native American Programs at WSU.

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service provides public affairs programming and education, supports student engagement in public service, and fosters scholarly research on public policy and political institution in a nonpartisan, cross-disciplinary setting.

The institute was established at Washington State University to honor Tom Foley’s more than 30 years of public service to both state and nation and as the 49th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Foley Institute supports programs in the four substantive policy areas most relevant to Tom Foley’s long-term interests: agriculture policy, environment and natural resources, media and ethics, and government studies, and public service.


 Richard Elgar, Assistant Director, Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service,, 509-335-3477.

Adrian Aumen, Office of Communications, College of Arts and Sciences,, 509-335-5671

Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service

Plateau Center for Native American Programs

College of Arts and Sciences