In 2019, Echo-Hawk designed a “Pathway” blanket for Pendleton, a non-Indian company that said the proceeds would help the College Fund provide scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native youth. The product page is no longer available on Pendelton.Com and a video featuring the artist has since been set to private on YouTube. The Urban Indian Health Institute also had worked with Echo-Hawk. The organization, based in Washington, said it was “removing any materials made in collaboration with him or featuring his art.” “We have worked tirelessly to address sexual violence against women and girls, and we always stand firmly with survivors,” a social media post later on Monday read. The organization’s leadership includes a member of the prominent and large Echo-Hawk family, whose work spans art, activism, law and politics. Abigail Echo-Hawk reaffirmed her sentiments about the case on Monday as well. “I believe and stand with victims,” Echo-Hawk, who serves as executive vice president of the urban Indian health advocacy group, wrote in a post on one of her personal social media accounts.
Like you, the College Fund has learned about the allegations against Bunky Echo-Hawk, a Native artist we have worked with in the past. We will be following the legal proceedings as they unfold.— The College Fund (@collegefund) February 7, 2022
On Tuesday, another organization that arose out of the efforts of the Echo-Hawk family weighed in with a statement in support of “supporting survivors of violence and abuse.” IllumiNative indicated it had recently learned of the criminal case. “We have become aware of the charges filed against Bunky Echo-Hawk and we have taken actions to ensure he will not be involved with the organization, or affiliated projects, in the future,” the statement posted on social media read. The non-profit IllumiNative, which has gained nationwide acclaim for its work on issues such as racist mascots and representation of Native peoples in film, media and television, is led by Crystal Echohawk. On behalf of her relative, she created the GoFundMe that raised over $163,000 in the wake of a fatal accident that took the life of a young family member. “At this time, we are asking Bunky’s many relatives, friends and supporters across Indian Country to support him and his family,” Crystal wrote in the successful solicitation, a copy of which was posted by the Museum of Native American History in Arkansas, where the artist’s work has been featured. Despite the disclosures, other entities that have worked with Echo-Hawk or have ties to his large family remained silent about the criminal matter. The Nike multinational corporation, where the artist had been a designer for the N7 Collection geared toward Native people, is among those facing pressure on social media to make a statement in support of survivors. NDN Collective, where Crystal Echo Hawk serves as president of the board and which frequently touts IllumiNative’s efforts, hasn’t gone public either as of Tuesday afternoon. The growing non-profit, headquartered in South Dakota, had encouraged donations to the GoFundMe, according to a post on social media that no longer appears to be accessible. The Pawnee Nation is also being urged to go public by some of its citizens. Echo-Hawk’s father is Walter Echo-Hawk Sr., who currently serves as the tribe’s president. The elder Echo-Hawk is a well-known Indian law and policy advocate. “Henry Ford Cummings was my grandfather who fought world wars for your rights to exist,” one Pawnee citizen wrote in reference to her late ancestor. “He would be proud as I speak up on your silence,” the comment on a tribal social media post asserted.
(TW) Trigger Warning:— IllumiNative (@_IllumiNatives) February 8, 2022
The last few days have been so upsetting and triggering for many of us. Please connect with support services if you are struggling in this time. We are praying for healing for all survivors of abuse. pic.twitter.com/9LKaQh295T
A prominent Indian Country artist has been charged in connection with an incident involving a minor.
Carmen Marie Richardville White Eagle, the Pawnee citizen who posted about the case on the tribal social media account, explained to Indianz.Com why she went public. She underscored the need for her own leaders to speak out. “As a small tribe from Oklahoma with a big emphasis on the elites, the Pawnee Nation has a responsibility and a duty to its alleged most precious assets: our womxn, children, Two-Spirit and trans relatives who statistics prove are more in danger,” said White Eagle. “The tribe’s lack of support for the victim and silence around the issue speaks to the idea of a cover.” White Eagle is a leader with NOISE, which raises awareness about the crisis of missing and murdered Native relatives. The organization is based in Oklahoma. “As vice chair of an organization that educates, creates safety and advocates for the protection of our marginalized, it is also my duty to use what platform I have to bring this into the light,” White Eagle added. “This is not the conduct of a tribe my grandfather taught me to honor,” White Eagle said of the late Henry Ford “Hank” Cummings, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in World War II. Public knowledge of the criminal case arose this weekend, after Echo-Hawk’s mugshot was posted by a widely-read publication in Oklahoma. A copy of the cover page of the latest issue appeared on social media on Saturday, generating interest across Indian Country. Subsequent to his arrest on the charge on January 14, Echo-Hawk continued to make posts about his recovery from the October 16, 2021, incident that took the life of his 15-year-old daughter. The crash occurred in Colorado, as the pair were making their way to Oklahoma for a Pawnee Nation ceremony. Not long after the tragic collision, Echo-Hawk shared a condolence letter sent by President Joe Biden on behalf of himself and First Lady Jill Biden. The post was an indication of the influence of the Echo-Hawk family throughout law and politics. According to court records, the case against Echo-Hawk is being prosecuted by Pawnee County Assistant District Attorney Jeff S. Jones. He is a former attorney general of the Osage Nation. Echo-Hawk is being represented by attorneys from the Atkins Markoff Adler law firm. The case is State of Oklahoma v. Walter Roy Echo-Hawk Jr, No. CF-2022-00001.
I believe and stand with victims https://t.co/H0gPNd5k6P— Abigail Echo-Hawk (@echohawkd3) February 7, 2022
Note: Thumbnail photo of Pawnee, Oklahoma, by Kevin
We are deeply saddened by the allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor against Walter “Bunky” Echo-Hawk Jr.— Urban Indian Health Institute (@TheUIHI) February 8, 2022
Our research institute works tirelessly to address sexual violence against women and girls, and we always stand firmly with survivors. pic.twitter.com/6Ds8NbAgrP
Tribal nations enjoy ‘diplomatic’ status at Department of Agriculture (May 27, 2021)
‘We’re still here’: Native film depicts struggles as Navajo Nation heads to U.S. Supreme Court
Fake Indian art still a major problem despite federal responsibilities
‘Indian Country really got behind our team’: Santee Warriors make it to state championships
Self-proclaimed Native Republican Jorge Riley pleads guilty for U.S. Capitol attack
Native America Calling: What do tribal water rights mean if there’s no water?
Native America Calling: Sourcing ethical Native art and jewelry dealers
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Business Meeting to consider S.70, S.277 & S.385
Native America Calling: The hope for Leonard Peltier
‘This is about self-determination and sovereignty’: Tribes welcome return of ancestral lands
H.R.423 – Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act
H.R.548 – Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act
StrongHearts Native Helpline: Women denied right to safety with court decision
Native America Calling: The death of Captain Cook
‘Bipartisanship is our strength’: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs touts achievements as new session starts