Top BIA official resigns to take LDS Church post

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The top official for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is resigning to accept a full-time leadership position with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Larry Echo Hawk, assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, is being appointed to the Quorum of the Seventy, which is the Mormon Church's third-highest governing body. The announcement from the church came Saturday during its semi-annual general conference in Salt Lake City.

The 63-year-old Echo Hawk has overseen the BIA since 2009.

He was elected Idaho attorney general in 1990, the first Native American to be elected to the position in any state. He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in 1994 for Idaho governor.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement that he would work with Echo Hawk to ensure a smooth transition with his departure.