John Echohawk of Native American Rights Fund receives top honor

Native American Rights Fund executive director John Echohawk speaks at the National Congress of American Indians executive council winter session in Washington, D.C., on February 23, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com

The longtime leader of the Native American Rights Fund is receiving a national honor.

John Echohawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation, has served as executive director of NARF since the non-profit's inception in 1977. His decades of work are being recognized by the Keystone Policy Center, an organization that promotes problem solving and dispute resolution.

"The Keystone Policy Center has made tremendous progress over the past four decades, promoting collaborative policy solutions and reaching common higher ground when all other efforts have failed," President and CEO Christine Scanlan said in a press release. "We are proud to recognize national leaders and other organizations who share our vision and mission."

Echohawk is being recognized at the group's 23rd annual leadership awards dinner on Wednesday evening. With the "Spirit of Keystone" award, he joins an impressive group of past honorees that includes former Kansas governor and former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, journalist and news anchor Jim Lehrer and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The Keystone Policy Center is also handing out five other awards to leaders in the business, media and public policy arenas.

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