Skip to content
Back to top

TLPI Congratulates the 2023 Thurgood Marshall Award Recipient- John E. Echohawk

August 7, 2023

The American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice (CRSJ)  honored the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Executive Director John E. Echohawk with the Thurgood Marshall Award on Saturday, August 5, 2023 during the 2023 ABA Annual Meeting in Denver, CO.

John E. Echohawk (Pawnee) was recently chosen by the CRSJ Selection Committee, chaired by Past Section Chair, C. Elisia Frazier. Mr. Echohawk was the first graduate of the University of New Mexico’s special program to train Indian lawyers and was a founding member of the American Indian Law Students Association while in Law School. John has been with NARF since its inception in 1970, having served continuous as Executive Director since 1977.  Mr. Echohawk has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal and has received numerous service awards and other recognition for his leadership in the Indian law field. The Section Chair Juan Thomas' remarks on the selection are available at

Mr. Echohawk has long been a hero of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. Indeed, in 2006, the Section published a piece naming him as their Human Rights Hero in their Human Rights Magazine. 

Established by the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice in 1992, the annual ABA Thurgood Marshall Award honors U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to the cause of civil rights in this country. The award recognizes similar long-term contributions by other members of the legal profession to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States.