The Washington Secretary of State is honoring Hank Adams, Assiniboine-Sioux, in an educational project called Who are we? that explores a diverse group of Washingtonians. His remarkable life has been documented in an in-depth profile compiled by Legacy Washington.
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Adams, born in 1943, is a Native rights activist who moved to Washington State from Montana when he was young. He was part of the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972, when a group of Native activists seized control of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and declared it the Native Indian Embassy.
He was a strategist, who at the age of 29, wrote a manifesto a professor of American Indian studies called “one of the most comprehensive indigenous policy proposals ever devised.” Adams’ “20 Points” was the proposal submitted to the Nixon administration in November 1972. “Like most of the things he’s written, the ‘20 Points’ does not carry his name,” says Suzan Harjo, who is Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee in the online profile. “I asked him once if he minded other people taking credit for his stuff and he said, ‘But that’s really not the point of it all, is it?’”
Noted Standing Rock Sioux author, Vine Deloria Jr. said of Adams: “In my mind histories written a generation from now will say that he was the only significant figure to emerge in the postwar period of Indian history.”