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LEHI, Utah (AP) -- The head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs has called for a new era of cooperation between tribes and the federal and state governments while describing his own difficult decision to accept the job.
Larry EchoHawk says he didn't accept President Barack Obama's offer to simply be a caretaker, and he vowed to be an agent for change.
EchoHawk spoke Wednesday at a Native American summit south of Salt Lake City called by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
A member of the Pawnee tribe, EchoHawk was a law professor at Brigham Young University in Provo when he was enlisted by Obama and confirmed in May.
He devoted much of Wednesday's speech to atrocities committed against American Indians in early U.S. history.
He says for that reason he initially was reluctant to be serve as a face of the federal government.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)