indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Brandon Ecoffey: Assumptions in newspapers can cut both ways

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: border towns, brandon ecoffey, liquor, media, native sun news, nebraska, oglala sioux, south dakota, whiteclay
   

The following editorial was written by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.


Brandon Ecoffey

What We SAY: Assumptions in Newspapers can cut both ways
BY BRANDON ECOFFEY
Native Sun News Managing Editor

At one point in time the media’s responsibility was two fold: one, to serve as the ultimate check and balance for governments and two, to provide unbiased news so the general populace could more effectively make informed decisions in everyday life.

For newspapers, the editorial column was a means to evoke discussion and provoke thoughts that most people had failed to comprehend. These columns were carefully managed opinions that were based on real quantifiable or observed facts. Unfortunately for some papers like the Star Herald out of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, an editorial is nothing more than a speaker box where racist assumptions and stereotypes can be brandished without any regard for truth or inward reflection.

On Sunday, August 18, the paper posted an editorial about the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s recent vote to legalize alcohol that included some of the worst assumptions about not only the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation but Indian country as a whole. I am from Pine Ridge, I have an Ivy League degree, and I am the managing editor for the largest weekly paper in South Dakota, so I thought I might be the right guy to draft a response to what the Star Herald recklessly decided to print.

I had yet to put my position in print on the legalization issue or Whiteclay, until now. I am pro legalization. The whole argument that problems with alcohol are going to get worse is based on the false premise that alcohol isn’t already widely available on the reservation. We have all the problems associated with alcohol addiction but absolutely none of the resources needed to combat them. I do fear that people like Ken Franks, an honest hardworking policeman on the reservation, and Kat Weston a friend of mine who is a nurse will see a spike in their already overwhelming workload, but what we are doing now is not working. Legalizing alcohol is not giving up. It is punting in an attempt to flip the field. Those that drink will continue to drink and those of us who don’t won’t. The only difference now is that those with the desire to seek help will have local treatment facilities to access.

As far as Whiteclay goes, it is incredibly simple: in a fair market system, the business with the best prices, convenience, and product will survive. If the Oglala Sioux Tribe runs competitive businesses, Whiteclay closes down. If the tribe can’t, then they should let Sis Patton or Bat Pourier and others like them do it. They are the ones with track records of financial success, not the tribe.

In the editorial that the SJ put up, they commented about tribal members on the reservation receiving $80 million dollars in federal money that, according to them, all goes to feed our inherent primal thirst for the white man’s firewater. They would also say, “The reservation serves as an example of what happens when people live with few responsibilities or expectations. If the government wasn’t enabling all that alcoholism, they’d be better off.” If only Kristi Noem knew about this, she would target funding like she did the funding for food stamps and Head Start. Us darn Indians are always scheming something from the tax payers.

One of conservative white America’s most well-known scribes, Milton Freidman, did prosthelytize without any social welfare programs the masses would be forced to utilize the job market, for it would be their only accessible resource. In some respects, I prescribe to this theory as well, however, in a place where there is no job market and federal funds are directed towards creating, not maintaining, civil and social infrastructure and not vouchers for alcohol, this theory does not hold water. I guess it is too bad that the drunken Indians blow all their cash on alcohol. Who needs schools, healthcare, or highways?

As far as the responsibility thing goes or the lack thereof (if you accept their assumption), maybe the Indians could send their kids to college instead of drinking. Then again this would only work if the Indians had some basic understanding of what it meant to be responsible. That would be a grand idea. Unfortunately, for the fact checkers at the SJ just a few of these reservation parents do. I am sure Tiarra Little at Stanford gets a little help from her parents. Or, what about Veronica Watters who went to Princeton? Heck, her father Jim had to throw a few bucks her way. If I think real hard I guess there are some other kids doing well also, like Lyle Jacobs who is at Duke. For a people with no responsibilities, it is a miracle how these kids are succeeding. Maybe they heard it in the wind? Yeah that’s it.

Eighty million is a heck of a lot of federal funding. If I hit the lottery for that much, I could buy up all the Nike Air Force Ones I wanted. Wow! That would be sweet. But in comparison to the $8.25 billion that Nebraska farmers and ranchers received in federal Aid from 1995-2012, it really isn’t that much. Lets hope that the radical Paul Ryan doesn’t get his way and drug test all recipients of welfare. There would be some mighty hungry farmers and ranchers in Nebraska. If we are in the habit of assuming, it seems they would be included; he did say “all.”

Since I am not from Nebraska, I can only figure that this money went to buying all those Cornhusker car ornaments that are so prevalent in towns like Scottsbluff and Gering. It’s all good. Please do not be offended if you are from the great state south of us; editorials are the right place for assumptions, right?

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at staffwriter2@nsweekly.com)

Copyright permission by Native Sun News


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge's David Michaud wins fighting match (12/19)
Mark Trahant: Old school budgets a better deal for Indian Country (12/19)
Ruth Hopkins: Boycott a repeat offender of cultural appropriation (12/19)
8th Circuit sides with Omaha Tribe in reservation boundary case (12/19)
BIA finalizes rule to add Alaska tribes to land-into-trust process (12/19)
Obama signs measure to extend VAWA tribal provision to Alaska (12/19)
Wyandotte Nation set to break ground on $1.4M cultural center (12/19)
Man from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe charged for cousin's murder (12/19)
Opponents of Cowlitz Tribe plan appeal of gaming land decision (12/19)
Menominee Nation off-reservation casino supporters hold rally (12/19)
Bear River Band hires tribal member as casino general manager (12/19)
Column: Poarch Creek gaming is only thing working in Alabama (12/19)
Column: Wait for decision on Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino (12/19)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe inaugurates new leadership (12/18)
Walt Lamar: Cooperation helps address crime in Indian Country (12/18)
Brandon Ecoffey: Tournament shows hope of the Lakota people (12/18)
Editorial: Showing caution for marijuana sales in Indian Country (12/18)
Editorial: New York governor makes right call to outlaw fracking (12/18)
Fines for foes of Tohono O'odham Nation off-reservation casino (12/18)
New York passes over tribes for first commercial casino licenses (12/18)
Factions of Cayuga Nation in court over Class II gaming facility (12/18)
Deadline extended for commercial casino eyed by Quapaw Tribe (12/18)
Opinion: Another casino isn't answer to Connecticut's problems (12/18)
Native Sun News: Youth take on lead role in Dakota memorial ride (12/17)
Mark Trahant: NCAI launches new campaign against racist mascot (12/17)
Norm DeWeaver: Job market is a disaster zone in Indian Country (12/17)
Amanda Blackhorse: Fake chiefs and fake headdresses must go (12/17)
DOI makes $9M in buy-back offers on Coeur d'Alene Reservation (12/17)
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes see success with two bills in Congress (12/17)
Boyd Cothran: Torture justified by treatment of Indian prisoners (12/17)
Rep. Gosar faces criticism over bill that benefits Hualapai Tribe (12/17)
Navajo Nation's highest court dismisses challenge to candidate (12/17)
Column: Tribal voices often minimized in environmental debate (12/17)
Column: Chief Cliff still an undeniably spiritual place in Montana (12/17)
Native activists in Brazil protest land bill with bows and arrows (12/17)
Shakopee Tribe funds Eastern Shoshone Tribe casino expansion (12/17)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.