Statement of Assistant Secretary Echo Hawk on the Passing of Chairman Richard M. Milanovich of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk expressed his deepest condolences to the family and friends of the late Richard M. Milanovich, the Chairman of the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, praising him as a great American Indian leader who represented his people with heart and soul.
“The news of Chairman Milanovich’s passing has deeply touched all of us here at Interior and throughout Indian Country who knew him as a leader, friend or colleague,” said Echo Hawk. “He was one of the most down to earth and personable leaders that I have ever known. We honor him with our sincerest gratitude for all that he has contributed in service to his people, other tribal nations and to Indian Country at large.”
“He understood the tremendous value of education and completed undergraduate studies while maintaining a steadfast leadership presence in his tribe,” Echo Hawk said. “As a true leader, Chairman Milanovich possessed a humble outward demeanor and was a noble champion for his tribe and Indian Country. On behalf of all Indian Affairs employees, I want to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences.”
Chairman Milanovich served his people for 28 years, helping to make the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians one of the most well respected and forward thinking tribes in Indian Country. He was considered a wise teacher, an inspirational mentor, and most of all, a great friend to many. Chairman Milanovich strongly believed that the youth of Indian Country should understand the legal, political and economic struggles that laid the groundwork for today’s Indian Country. He believed that through studying our past as Native peoples, we can forge a progressive future for all American Indian and Alaska Native people and the generations to come.