Apr 03 2012

Carlson: Elder Larry EchoHawk

Published by at 8:55 am under Carlson

carlson
Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

Idahoans of all persuasions, political as well as religious, should congratulate their former attorney general on his call to serve as a general authority and a member of the LDS Church’s First Quorum of the Seventy. It is an honor long overdue.

EchoHawk, 63, was also the 1994 Democratic nominee for governor, but lost narrowly to former Lt. Governor Phil Batt. The Wilder State Senator won 52% to 48% giving EchoHawk the distinction of being the first Native American to come close to being elected governor.

EchoHawk, a Pawnee, is currently the Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. To know Larry is to like him. He’s just one of those truly fine people all too rare nowadays.

Quiet, competent, hard-working, analytical and dedicated to supporting his wife and sons, he walks the talk of “faith, family and friends.” Educated at Brigham Young, he was a star defensive back on the Cougar football team and two sons were also star players, one at the Y, the other at ISU.

The sons obtained their own law degrees and set up law offices in Pocatello. The former U.S. Marine has spent time as an “of counsel” member of that firm and has represented the Fort Hall Sho-Bans in the past.

Given the prominent position Native Americans hold in the Mormon story (Saints believe today’s native Americans are descendents of the two “lost tribes” of Israel and that Christ appeared before them in the New World), it is surprising EchoHawk was not named sooner. There are some who expect he will eventually be named one of the 12 Apostles who serve as the “board” to the LDS president and his two first councilors.

As most know it is a gerontocracy that runs the LDS Church, but at 63 Larry is thought to be a “youngster.”

EchoHawk is only the second Native American named to the First Quorum of the Seventy and as such, carries the additional burden into this ecclesiastical office of having to redress the image left by the first Native American, Navajo George Lee, who served 14 years before being excommunicated for apostasy and conduct unbecoming a member of the church.

While Elder EchoHawk is fully deserving, the timing has to be noted for it is “no coincidence.”

It does not take a rocket scientist, let alone a political scientist, to figure out the authorities running the LDS Church are positively giddy with the prospect of one of their own, Mitt Romney, being a major party nominee for president.

If there is anyone among the political cognoscenti who think Church authorities would have liked seeing EchoHawk out on the campaign trail mobilizing the Native American vote against Romney as well as speaking out to the entire electorate, see me about some hot lottery tickets to last week’s jackpot.

So, EchoHawk gets an overdue “call,” and is out of D.C. and back to Orem where he and his wife have their home. This not so subtle move should invite additional questions regarding just how involved Church authorities are in Governor Romney’s campaign.

Again, under the no coincidences rule, does one not see the heavy national media buy last fall portraying all that is nice about being LDS with paving the way for the Romney campaign? And if the press ever gets full access to the contributors’ list of those giving to Romney’s Super PAC will anyone be surprised by the number of rich LDS millionaire?

It is also a given that in caucus states many wards and stakehouses served as unofficial Romney campaign clearing houses to ensure the faithful supportive of Mitt got to the caucuses. Methinks given how well organized the Romney campaign is that these kinds of details are givens.

For a faith that has been historically persecuted and has suffered the brunt of discrimination, one would think they would be especially vigilant about separation of Church and State. No, I’m not so naïve as to not know that American politics will always be intertwined to some degree with religion, values and morals. The disturbing trend is an acceleration of Church hierarchies, like the LDS authorities and the Catholic bishops, to step into and practice a particular brand of partisan politics.

The risk of such deep involvement is in fact what exactly happened to EchoHawk when he ran for governor. Holding a fund-raiser in Salt Lake and “working” the Mormon authorities for money, struck many members of the LDS faith, egged on by a super-critical Salt Lake Tribune, as improperly crossing the line. Some believe, coming just two weeks before the election with EchoHawk then leading Batt, that the matter cost EchoHawk the election.

Of course that was a mere governorship, not the presidency. Nor will I be so cynical as to suggest race, or ethnicity, or party affiliation had anything to do with how the authorities acted then.

CHRIS CARLSON is a writer and former press secretary now living at Medimont.

Share on Facebook

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Carlson: Elder Larry EchoHawk”

  1. dcroshawon 03 Apr 2012 at 11:27 pm

    As a personal acquaintance of Larry EchoHawk, I agree that he is very capable and deserving of his new calling. However, 3 things need clarification: 1. LDS church leaders do not get giddy, especially over politics. 2. LDS church buildings do not get used for political events of any kind. See the political neutrality statement at lds.org/newsroom 3. Callings in the LDS Church are not issued for political expediency.

  2. samcrowESQon 11 Apr 2012 at 7:07 pm

    First off, allow me to state my credentials. I am a left-leaning Native American lawyer (almost – May 2012) who also happens to be a practicing Mormon. I first met Larry Echohawk when I was at BYU and he was a source of inspiration to me and gave me the extra push I needed to apply to law school. That being said I am also very familiar with the way the LDS church calls their General Authorities.

    Thus the idea that the LDS Church extended a calling to Larry Echohawk simply to pull him off the campaign trail is far fetched, uninformed and a bit insulting to Larry Echohawk. When a calling is made to someone, anyone, in the LDS church it is always contingent upon the prospective candidate’s free will to accept or deny that calling. If that person feels that accepting a position with the LDS church is something that they would rather not do then they can feel free to reject the calling and go on with their lives. No strings attached. It happens ALL THE TIME.

    This article makes it sound like Echohawk was forced to take the calling and had to agree or else. He accepted the calling of his own free will. I guess that is the funny thing about religion, some people really do believe in it. This article makes it seem as though the LDS church is really just an extension of the Republican party. Unfortunately for this theory is the fact that there are many democrats who are LDS, even prominent ones like former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The suggestion that the LDS meeting houses are used as forums for political meetings is out of touch with reality. LDS church buildings do not get used for political events of any kind. See the political neutrality statement at lds.org/newsroom.

    While I am sure that the idea of Echohawk bowing to religious pressure so that Romney could advance and allow for a Mormon controlled Whitehouse is wonderful fodder for the conspiracy theorists, it is just not grounded in reality.

Share on Facebook

 


A truly down-home ad for Oregon Senator Merkley.

 

Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.
See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.


 
JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here