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She, Her, Hers
Sarah EchoHawk has been a longtime ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Her family is fairly well known throughout Indian Country as being a very progressive and politically connected family. As such, they have always viewed LGBTQ+ rights as a human rights issue.
Sarah began her formal allyship work in the early 2000s when serving as a longtime member of the Community Funding Panel for the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, a program of the Gill Foundation. The panel’s primary work was to review and award grants to Colorado-based organizations. Sarah has continued to be an advocate through her staff and board positions within several National Native Nonprofit Organizations that have put in place multiple programs and initiatives to support the Native LGBTQ+ community.
In Sarah’s current role, she has facilitated presentation of the colors by a Native American Color Guard where, in addition to displaying the U.S. and Canadian flags, they also include the PRIDE flag. Additionally, the Council of Elders facilitates a Rainbow Talking Circle, in addition to men’s and women’s talking circles, at their annual national conference every year. They also include pronoun buttons at events and sessions specifically targeted to or presented by members of the Native LGBTQ+ community.
PFLAG is important to Sarah personally as the parent of a transgender son who came out at 13 and is now 20. As a parent, she understands how very critical it is for LGBTQ+ children to have the support of parents, families, and friends throughout their lives. Sarah feels tremendously privileged to be on this journey with her son and, like most parents, wants her son to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Sarah is personally committed to working to dismantle the systems and beliefs that serve to oppress her child for simply being who was born to be, and is thankful that her family feels the same and that they have other LGBTQ+ family members who have supported her son throughout his life thus far. She is also thankful that pre-colonial traditional Indigenous beliefs, teachings, and values not only support LGBTQ+ people but also promote a deep respect for them; Sarah sees them as unique gifts to our people. Given all of this, Sarah views service on the PFLAG National Board of Directors as a way to connect families in Indigenous communities to critically needed LGBTQ+ support and resources.