Sarah EchoHawk, an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, has been named the president of Red Feather Development Group’s board of directors.
Based in Flagstaff, Arizona and Bozeman, Montana, Red Feather serves Native Americans on three reservations — Hopi, Navajo and Northern Cheyenne — to improve the housing conditions through repair and weatherization of homes with a focus on educating residents to be self-sufficient in home repairs.
Ms. Echohawk will chair an 11-member board, serve as the liaison between the board and the advisory board, and provide governance oversight for the organization. “I am humbled to have been appointed to lead the Red Feather Board of Directors and to have the opportunity to work closely with its dedicated staff,” said EchoHawk. “Mark Hall and his team are working hard to bring critically needed programming and resources to Indian country, many of which are not often readily available in Native communities.”
EchoHawk is the current CEO of American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), the only professional society established by and for Natives that provides scholarships, networking and support for those in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, with an emphasis on Native culture.
“We are thrilled to have Sarah stepping up to this important role for Red Feather” said Mark Hall, Executive Director of the Red Feather Development Group. “Her education, work experience and connections with organizations working in Indian Country could not be better suited to what we were looking for.” EchoHawk has been a member of the Board since 2014 and her wisdom and expertise has guided the nonprofit organization to a focus of providing educational, hands-on services and training to Native Americans on home repair and weatherization to create community resiliency. In 2015, Red Feather provided such services to over 250 families and weatherized or repaired 30 homes on 3 reservations.
“Sarah has an incredible portfolio of talent and experience, and she has the track record to prove that she has dedicated her life to advocacy for the American Indian people,” remarked Vice President of the Board Glenn Wright, Owner of BAR Industries in Cartersville, Georgia. “I am looking forward to learning from her as we support Red Feather in the important work of home repairs on the reservations.”
EchoHawk has a bachelor’s degree in political science and Native American studies and a master’s degree in nonprofit management. She is the daughter of John EchoHawk, a founder and leader of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the niece of Larry EchoHawk, former assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior for Indian Affairs. Previously she served as the Executive Vice President for six years at First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a national Native led nonprofit organization focusing on economic development in Indian country. Prior to her work at First Nations, she worked for the American Indian College Fund supporting tribal colleges and universities. Sarah has also worked as a consultant for nonprofit organizations and taught Native American studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
“I continue to believe that Native people have the ability to transform their own communities when provided the resources to do so. The Red Feather approach supports this idea by helping communities build from the inside out and not the outside in. Red Feather has been a part of that solution for over 20 years and I am proud to be associated with such an important partner to Native Nations. I am passionate about ensuring Native communities are healthy and their homes are a safe place to live,” said EchoHawk from her office in Colorado.