indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
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:
White House to host first-ever Native youth conference on July 9 (4/24)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe fires casino manager (4/24)
Lakota Country Times: Timothy Standing Soldier passes on at 54 (4/24)
Mark Trahant: Invest in our Native youth for long-term success (4/24)
James Giago Davies: True believerism and comic book solutions (4/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Oglala Sioux Tribe must act on legal marijuana (4/24)
Ed Rice: Cleveland team comes up with excuse for racist mascot (4/24)
White House Blog: Recognizing tribal Climate Action Champions (4/24)
House subcommittee looks at poor conditions at Indian schools (4/24)
Navajo actress was put in darker makeup for Adam Sandler film (4/24)
Eastern Cherokee group plans lawsuit over tribal council raises (4/24)
Column: Commission takes on truth and reconciliation in Maine (4/24)
Senate votes to confirm Loretta Lynch as next attorney general (4/24)
ICT interview with confirmed NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri (4/24)
Dave Palermo: Tribes in California assert right to Internet poker (4/24)
Pokagon Band casino remains a concern for Indiana lawmakers (4/24)
Pojoaque Pueblo places casino manager on administrative leave (4/24)
White Earth Nation promotes tribal members in casino positions (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux student vies for Miss Indian World (4/23)
Lakota Country Times: Tribal citizens named to education board (4/23)
Ivan Star: Struggling with the warrior heritage in Indian Country (4/23)
Dana Lone Elk: Lakota people still carry on fight of Crazy Horse (4/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee passes bill to renew NAHASDA (4/23)
BIA faces fire over latest reforms to federal recognition process (4/23)
Opinion: First Lady brings truth with remarks about Native youth (4/23)
Incoming leader of Navajo Nation stresses importance of youth (4/23)
Native actors storm off set of Adam Sandler film in New Mexico (4/23)
Marijuana seen as new frontier in tribal economic development (4/23)
Senate approves anti-trafficking measure with tribal provisions (4/23)
Interview with Gyasi Ross about spoken word release Isskootsik (4/23)
Blackfeet Nation launches campaign to ban drilling at sacred site (4/23)
Cherokee Nation celebrates births of first calves from bison herd (4/23)
Burns Paiute Tribe investigates fire that destroyed two bulidings (4/23)
Kaibab Paiute Tribe welcomes designation as 1st dark sky nation (4/23)
University of Minnesota sees surge in Native student enrollment (4/23)
Editorial: Minnesota tribes work together to address treaty rights (4/23)
Editorial: Maine governor fails to treat sovereign tribes as equals (4/23)
Brazil to host inaugural World Indigenous Games this September (4/23)
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation probes woman's death at casino (4/23)
Tohono O'odham Nation vows defense for off-reservation casino (4/23)
Seminole Tribe talks with lawmakers about Class III casino deal (4/23)
Editorial: State needs assurances from Quapaw Tribe on gaming (4/23)
Native Sun News: Tribes take DOI to task over grizzly bear policy (4/22)
Native Sun News: Lakota rodeo legend Howard Hunter passes on (4/22)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation language programs are working (4/22)
White House Blog: Improving the lives of Native American youth (4/22)
Bob Gough: Indigenous people most affected by climate change (4/22)
Duane Champagne: Indigenous accommodation for colonialism (4/22)
Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee on transportation (4/22)
Navajo Nation voters choose Russell Begaye as next president (4/22)
Appeals court sides with Indian inmate in religious rights case (4/22)
Kashia Band interested in timber not marijuana on new lands (4/22)
Kaw Nation to return to ancestral land in Kansas for ceremony (4/22)
Moapa Band to host Further Future music festival next month (4/22)
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe runs into opposition to fish hatchery (4/22)
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.