Crystal Echo Hawk

Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee), is the founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative, the first and

national, Native-led nonprofit committed to amplifying contemporary Native voices, stories and

issues to advance justice, equity and social impact. Crystal founded IllumiNative to activate a

cohesive set of research-informed strategies to disrupt the invisibility and toxic stereotypes Native

peoples face.

Crystal is an acclaimed speaker, thought leader, innovator and skilled executive who builds

meaningful collaborations and lifts up new leaders across Indian Country. In leading IllumiNative

over the past year, she has presented to over fifty companies and organizations, including NBC

Universal, Amazon, Disney, and Comcast and convenings of the National Education Association,

National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education, the National Congress of

American Indians (NCAI), Story Movements, and Netroots Nation. She has also authored editorials

that have appeared in Indian Country Today, the Guardian and the Huffington Post.

Prior to founding IllumiNative, Crystal served as President and CEO of Echo Hawk Consulting

(EHC). Through EHC’s robust and respected roster of Native American thought leaders and

extensive networks across Indian Country, the company helps amplify Indigenous voices,

knowledge, and innovation and develop strategic partnerships to create opportunities for impact.

Crystal was recognized by the National Center for American Indian Economic Development as its

2018 “Native American Woman Business Owner of the Year.”

During her tenure at EHC, Crystal co-led the 2016-2018 Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) project, an

unprecedented research and strategy setting initiative to address misconceptions, stereotypes, and the

invisibility of Native peoples within American society. Crystal founded IllumiNative in 2018 to put

the RNT research into action to drive narrative change that can support equity, social justice and self-

determination for Native peoples.

Prior to leading Echo Hawk Consulting, Crystal served as the Executive Director for the Notah

Begay III (NB3) Foundation from 2009-2014. Crystal helped grow the NB3 Foundation from a small

grassroots organization to an organization that reinvested more than $13 million to fight the health

epidemic facing Native children through strategic grantmaking, health and wellness programming,

research and advocacy that benefitted more than 50 Native American communities, tribes and 24,000

Native children.

Crystal received both her Master’s Degree in Social and Political Thought and Bachelor’s Degree in

European History from the University of Sussex at Falmer, England. Follow her on Twitter