Episode 33: Humility, Truth a Reconciliation: Guides for Equitable Recovery featuring Colleen Ecohawk
Colleen Echohawk is the Executive Director of the Chief Seattle Club. She is an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. As the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness, Echohawk is committed to homeless advocacy and changing the trajectory of Native American and Alaska Native people living away from reservations in urban places and experiencing homelessness. Recognizing a lack of equity in housing design and development, and the profound impact that this can have on the well-being of people of color, Echohawk has turned her focus to equitable low-income housing development and indigenous-led design. Under Echohawk’s leadership, Chief Seattle Club received the Puget Sound Sage Visionary for Justice Award (2019), Seattle Community Law Center’s Equity Award (2018), the Neighborhood Builder Award (2017), and Municipal League of King County’s Organization of the Year (2016). Echohawk’s education has been focused on organizational development and leadership; helping brilliant people do better work for the greater good. She is the co-founder and principal at Headwater People Consulting Group. Some of her recent recognitions include: recipient of King County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service (2020), one of Seattle’s most influential people by Seattle Magazine (November 2019) and one of Seattle Met Magazine’s 50 most influential women (2018). Colleen Echohawk serves on many local boards, including a Mayoral appointment to the Community Police Commission. Other board affiliations include Seattle Foundation, KUOW (National Public Radio member station,) Downtown Seattle Association, and All-Home Coordinating Board. In this episode Colleen shares what led her to answer the call to lead the Chief Seattle Club and her love for the people she serves. Reflecting on her studies in public health, Colleen speaks about the trauma the pandemic has unearthed and exacerbated for the Native community. She calls out the impact of white supremacy and systemic racism continues to have on housing, economic development and beyond. Alongside leaders in the greater Seattle area, Colleen continues to ensure that Native people have a place to connect with their respective tribal community. We also learn about the work that she is currently engaged in with the Equitable Recovery a Reconciliation Alliance. Colleen also shares her thoughts on what an emerging Native leader should consider in their professional journey. We are humbled in our leadership and name the truth of our experiences as we share Forward 4O’s platform with this phenomenal WOC in the nonprofit and social enterprise sector. Stay connected to Colleen on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Follow the work of the Chief Seattle Club on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Forward 40(4tea) on IG and Twitter @forward4tea. Continue to support and nominate a guest to be on the show. You can also learn more about the host Coach Faith here.