Obama Taps Former Idaho Attorney General, Pawnee Tribe Member To Lead Indian Affairs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama has nominated an American Indian and former Idaho Attorney General to become head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Obama nominated Larry EchoHawk, a law professor at Brigham Young University and a member of the Pawnee tribe, to the post Friday.

EchoHawk, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also ran for Idaho governor in 1994, losing to Republican Phil Batt by less than 35,000 votes. At the time, he would have been the nation’s first American Indian governor.

He became the first American Indian elected to a constitutional statewide office when he assumed the post of attorney general in the early 1990s

The embattled Indian Affairs agency has been without a leader for some time. The most recent head, Carl Artman, took the post in March 2007 after it had been vacant for two years and then resigned a little more than a year later.