Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. She was born in the heart of Alaska on the homeland of the Athabascan people where she was raised in the traditional values of giving, respect for all and love.
Ms. Echo-Hawk currently serves as the Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, and the Chief Research Officer at the Seattle Indian Health Board. Urban Indian Health Institute is a Tribal Epidemiology Center that serves tribal people currently living off tribal lands nationwide.
In addition, she also works with approximately 100 tribal nations across the US. Her work incorporates these core principles and activities: engagement and participation of community partners; research and evaluation on health, healthcare, and other community priorities; education, training, and capacity-building for Indigenous people, including researchers, students, and communities; infrastructure development; technical assistance; and sharing results in a way that recognizes and respects the cultural of American Indian and Alaska Native people.
Storytellers of Health
Western based models of health programs often begin with the premise that a community has a problem. But an Indigenous model says we have the answers, they are carried in our stories, our land and our very DNA. At the Urban Indian Health Institute, the only health research, epidemiology and evaluation institute in the US focused on the urban Indigenous population, we recognize evaluation as ancestral traditional practice. How we implement the evaluation of programs is based on our responsibility as an Indigenous organization that is working to reclaim these ancestral practices. Our elders have told us that only when our cultural knowledge is incorporated and valued will we see the healthy future generations we strive for. This framework resists the impacts of historical trauma, instead it moves us into historical healing which gathers the pieces broken by historical trauma and stitches them back together in bold, beautiful, intricate patterns of resiliency woven on the fabric of our culture. Resiliency isn’t just about survival, resiliency is about love, it’s about self-determination, in our resiliency we see the character of our community and through indigenous evaluation we can tell this strength-based story. This presentation will tell the story of our organization’s journey in building and implementing an evaluation framework built on indigenous values as we measure the impact of our regional and national government funded projects. Together we will build a world where love, compassion, gratitude and reciprocity are more than ideals, instead they are every action.