An accomplished lawyer and renowned Indian rights advocate is West Virginia Universitys 2007 Elder-in-Residence for the Native American Studies Program.

John E. Echohawk will be on campus April 9-12, Monday through Thursday.

A member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Echohawk is attorney who serves as the executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide.

There has been tremendous progress in helping Native nations exercise their sovereign rights, protect natural resources, and guarantee human rights,Echohawk said of his role in that effort.Tribal governments have grown and flourished and Native Americans have been able to sustain their cultures and religions, despite many serious obstacles. We are alive and getting well.

On Tuesday, April 10, Echohawk will offer a public lecture,A $160+ Billion IOU : Federal Mismanagement of Indian Trust Fundsat 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlairs Rhododendron Room on the Downtown Campus. A reception at 6:30 p.m. sponsored by the College of Law will feature Native flute music by Rick Rivard. The event is free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, April 11, Echohawks luncheon colloquium,The Impact of No Child Left Behind in Indian Country,will be from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the College of Human Resources and Education, 601 Allen Hall, Evansdale Campus. Lunch is complimentary and no RSVP is required.

He will also meet with faculty from the Native American Studies program and the College of Law and will guest lecture in Native American, history and law classes.

Echohawk was the first graduate of the University of New Mexicos special program to train Indian lawyers, and he was a founding member of the American Indian Law Association while in law school.

He has also worked for the Native American Rights Fund since its inception, and has served as executive director since 1977. The National Law Journal named him to its100 Most Influential Lawyers in Americalist.

The annual Elder-in-Residence program is made possible through the Carolyn Reyer Endowment for Native American Studies. Its sponsored by the Native American Studies Program, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Social Work, the Nova Institute, The Presidents Office for Social Justice, The College of Human Resources and Education and the College of Law.

For more information, contact Bonnie M. Brown, Coordinator of the Native American Studies Program, at BonnieM.Brown@mail.wvu.edu or at 304-293-4626.