Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Crystal Echo Hawk

Executive Director | IllumiNative
Pronouns: She/her/hers

Crystal founded IllumiNative in 2018 as an outgrowth of the Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) project, the largest public opinion research and strategy setting initiative ever conducted by and for Native peoples. Crystal designed and co-led the RNT project as CEO of Echo Hawk Consulting (EHC). Through EHC, Crystal served as a leader of tribal and philanthropic teams that raised and directed the reinvestment of $37 million in Native communities. Crystal previously served as the first Executive Director of the Notah Begay III Foundation and led program design and investment of $9.7 million in Native obesity/diabetes prevention and youth leadership.

Presentations from Facing Race 2020

Disrupting Native American Invisibility and Dismantling Racism

The workshop will showcase IllumiNative’s unprecedented research projects. Our founding research showed the profound invisibility of Native peoples in contemporary society fuels toxic misconceptions, bias and racism against Native Americans. Our most recent research project, the Indigenous Futures Survey, showed the priorities, concerns, and aspirations for the future of Native peoples today. Together, our research shows the power and critical need of changing culture and narratives to include Native peoples. Through a creative presentation, small group dialogue and large group engagement, the workshop will create space for shared learning and explore how participants can utilize and integrate the research and newfound understandings in their own lives to support and amplify Native voices and issues and build a stronger multi-racial movement for equity, inclusivity and justice.

Engaging with the research is a critical first step for participants, given the entrenched nature of Native invisibility across society. We will host a short Q&A after the presentation. From there, we will move into small groups where participants can apply the research to their own life experience and their own work for systems change. We will distribute a strategy brainstorm worksheet for recording ideas for activating narrative change and strengthening our collective movements for justice and then report back, looking at the overarching key recommendations for moving forward that were generated in the session.

Speakers: Crystal Echo Hawk, Leah Salgado

Culture in the Time of The Uprisings

All periods of change require a collective leap of imagination. In recent years, the Trump administration and racist Right have enflamed culture wars to advance white supremacist rule and racist violence. But at the same time, artists, athletes, culture-bearers, cultural organizers, and narrative strategists have moved millions to embrace radical racial justice narratives and ideas. Black and Indigenous people and other people of color working in the culture expand our desire for racial justice and sense of possibility. How are people innovating and advancing racial justice narratives? How do we think about the cultural battleground now in this time of uprisings? Race Forward is proud to present this plenary of leading cultural organizers, thinkers, and influencers.

Moderator(s): Hiba Elyass, Chevon Drew Speakers: Crystal Echo Hawk, Layshia Clarendon, Cristina Jiménez Moreta

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Water Warriors

Water Warriors is a story of a community’s resistance against the oil and natural gas industry. When an energy company began searching for natural gas in New Brunswick, Canada, indigenous and white families united to drive out the company in a campaign to protect their water and way of life.

Featuring post-screening conversation with filmmaker Michael Premo, Judith LeBlanc with Native Organizers Alliance, and Crystal Echo Hawk with Echo Hawk Consulting.

Speakers: Michael Premo, Judith LeBlanc, Crystal Echo Hawk

Reclaiming Native Truth in the 21st Century

Data on current attitudes towards Native communities is almost non-existent. Reclaiming Native Truth was a two year project that collected data, expert insights, and created a collaborative space which engaged grassroots, tribal and community leaders about what people think about Native communities and issues. Changing public perceptions is fundamental to creating a new narrative to advance social and policy change for racial justice and the achievement of tribal sovereignty. The workshop will examine the results of the report and explore the impact on building the racial justice movement with strong ties to Native Nations and communities..

Speakers: Crystal Echo Hawk, Judith LeBlanc