Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Larry Echo Hawk Larry Echo Hawk

1948 - living

  • Born 1948, Cody, Wyoming
  • Baptized 1962; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young adult
  • Married Teresa (Terry) Pries 1968, Salt Lake City Utah Temple; six children
  • Bachelor's in Physical Education and Zoology, BYU, 1970; Juris Doctorate from U of Utah, 1973.
  • Staff attorney with California Indian Legal Services, 1973-1975; Attorney for Echohawk, Thorne, Ross, Sloan, and Kearl, 1975-1980; Special Prosecutor for the Navajo Nation in 1985; Chief General Counsel of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes from 1977-1986; Member of the Idaho House of Representatives from 1982-1986; Bannock County Prosecuting Attorney from 1986-1990; Attorney General of Idaho from 1990-1994; Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU from 1994-2009; Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, 2009 to present.
  • Bishop, High Councilor, Stake President
  • First Quorum of the Seventy 2012-presnt

    As a young man, Elder Larry Echo Hawk heard Spencer W. Kimball give a speech at BYU envisioning Native Americans as educated leaders. From that day forward he has dedicated his life to "lifting people."

    A member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Elder Echo Hawk was born in Cody, Wyo., on Aug. 2, 1948, to Ernest and Emma Jane Echo Hawk. While growing up in Farmington, N.M., in 1962, he and his family were taught and baptized by LDS missionaries.

    "I always like to say their names - Lee Pearson and Boyd Camphuysen," Elder Echo Hawk said. "I could not have accomplished the things that I've been able to do in my life without the gospel of Jesus Christ."

    And he has accomplished much in his 63 years, not the least of which includes marrying his childhood sweetheart, Teresa (Terry) Pries, whom he met in the fourth grade.

    "We like to joke that we didn't 'get serious' until the seventh grade," Elder Echo Hawk said. He baptized his wife when she was 19. Elder Kimball married them in the Salt Lake Temple on Dec. 20, 1968. They have raised six children together and he noted that she has stood by his side as he has served as a teacher, bishop, high councilor and stake president . and lawyer.

    Since graduating from the University of Utah in 1973 with a Juris Doctorate, Elder Echo Hawk has practiced law in many different capacities, trying to help improve the lives of Native Americans.

    He began his career as a staff attorney at California Indian Legal Services, but started his own law practice in Salt Lake City in 1975. This firm, which eventually expanded to include seven attorneys, dealt primarily with Indian law. In 1977, Elder Echo Hawk became one of the first Native American lawyers to serve as a tribal attorney, helping create change that would enable Indian nations and people to advance and protect their rights and improve their economic conditions.

    In 1990, after four years in Idaho's House of Representatives, when he was elected as Idaho Attorney General he became the first American Indian in U.S. history to be elected as a state attorney general. In 1994, he returned to BYU to teach law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School for the next 14 years.

    In 2009, he left BYU when he was appointed by President Barack Obama to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, a position he will leave on April 27 to step into his calling as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

    As a young man, he was recruited to BYU-Provo on a full-ride football scholarship; he played in every game for four years.

    Although he had been baptized at age 14 and seen great changes take place in his family as a result of the gospel's influence, Elder Echo Hawk said he had not then gained his own testimony. When at 17 he sustained a serious eye injury that threatened to take the sight of one eye, "I committed to the Lord that if I would be able to keep my eyesight, I would read the Book of Mormon," he said.

    He regained use of his eye and read 10 pages every day for nearly two months.

    "It was the most powerful spiritual experience I've ever had when the Holy Ghost witnessed to me that the Book of Mormon was true," Elder Echo Hawk said. "That experience has empowered me throughout my life to help me improve."

    He also credits a diligent priests quorum adviser, Richard Boren - who emphasized to young Larry Echo Hawk that he had great potential and the ability to reach his goals - as a motivator for later successes.

    At BYU, he earned degrees in physical education and zoology. In 1970, when he graduated, he was also honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps following two years of service.

    Elder Echo Hawk told a story about his experience at boot camp while serving in the Marine Corps:

    A drill instructor had ordered all the recruits to stand at attention while he went down the line, ridiculing each loudly and vulgarly. Upon reaching recruit Echo Hawk's bunk, the drill instructor dumped all of his belongings from his duffle bag onto the bed.

    "The drill instructor looked through my things and grabbed my Book of Mormon," he recalled at a BYU devotional in 2007. "I expected that he would yell at me as he had done with all the other recruits. ...

    "He paused, raised his hand holding my Book of Mormon, and then, in a very quiet voice, said, 'Do you believe in this book?'

    "I yelled out, 'Yes, Sergeant Instructor!'?"

    The drill instructor was silent for a moment, then gently returned the Book of Mormon and proceeded on with the next recruit in the same manner as he had previously done with the other recruits.

    Though Elder Echo Hawk has often wondered why that drill instructor spared him that day, he knows one thing: "I am glad I was able to say without hesitation that I am a Mormon and that I know the Book of Mormon is true. That testimony is a precious gift given to me with the help of two missionaries, a priests quorum leader and a prophet of God."

    Heather Whittle Wrigley, "Elder Larry Echo Hawk: 'Lifting people' a lifelong choice," Church News, April 14, 2012 (Principal Source)
    "General Authorities: Elder Larry Echo Hawk," Official Church Biography
    "Elder Larry Echo Hawk", Liahona, May 2012.
    Department of the Interior Profile

Selected Discourses and Writings
"Come unto Me, O Ye House of Israel" General Conference, October 2012  

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