Since the day in 1972 that Elder Larry Echo Hawk heard then-Elder Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) speak of envisioning Native Americans as educated leaders, he has dedicated his life to “lifting people.”
A member of the Pawnee Nation, Elder Echo Hawk was born in Cody, Wyoming, USA, in August 1948 to Ernest and Jane Echo Hawk. He grew up in Farmington, New Mexico, USA, where he and his family were taught and baptized by LDS missionaries in 1962.
At age 17, after being hit in the eye with a baseball, he promised the Lord that if he didn’t lose his eyesight, he would read the Book of Mormon. He regained the use of his eye and read 10 pages every day for nearly three months.
“It was the most powerful spiritual experience I’ve ever had, when the Holy Ghost witnessed to me that the Book of Mormon was true,” Elder Echo Hawk said. “That experience has empowered me throughout my life to help me improve.”
He was recruited to Brigham Young University on a football scholarship and earned degrees in physical education and zoology. In 1970 he was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps following two years of service. He graduated from the University of Utah with a juris doctorate degree in 1973.
Elder Echo Hawk has served as an attorney, a state legislator, a state attorney general, a BYU law professor, and the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior for Indian Affairs—a position he will resign in order to accept the calling to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Kimball officiated at the marriage of Elder Echo Hawk and his wife, Terry Pries, in the Salt Lake Temple in December 1968. She has stood by his side as he has served as a teacher, bishop, high councilor, and stake president. They are the parents of six children.