Brandon Ecoffey: Politicians show their true colors on #NoDAPL

Chairman Dave Archambault II of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Indian Law Resource Center

A note from the editor's desk
Conspiracy no more
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor

The decision by Dave Archambault Jr., to address the United Nations Human Rights Council is the correct one. Although the commission essentially has very little power to impact domestic policy in the United States it has become quite obvious that a majority of lawmakers on the northern plains also lack that ability.

As I've watched this country react to our people's continued opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline the relative silence from South Dakota's congressional delegation on the matter speaks volumes to their opinions of Indian Country.

It understandable that the trio of rank and file GOP members are in a tough position as the oil industry has filled the coffers of many lawmakers from both parties, but it would seem that with all the talk of honoring the government to government relationship during recent hearings on Indian Health Service at least one of our elected leaders in Washington would have made a statement in support of a meaningful consultation with tribal-nations over the pipeline.

Indian Law Resource Center on YouTube: Standing Rock Sioux Chairman takes #NODAPL to the United Nations

In North Dakota, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was ushered into office by the Native vote but has since been exposed as a pawn of the oil industry. Recently, she condemned threats apparently made by the hacker group Anonymous against North Dakota state officials and pipeline workers. The video posted online by Anonymous directed officials to not harm water protectors or run the risk of having private information about them leaked online. The condemnation struck a nerve inside me as the action was taking to protect the rights of citizens. If our elected officials would guarantee that the laws requiring meaningful consultation with tribal-nations were followed there would be no need for this group to act.

How else can the people defend themselves when our prayers are met with attack dogs and mace? Why can't our elected officials speak out against the use of mercenaries by an oil company against citizens exercising their human and constitutional rights?

The simplest answer for me is that the foreign policies that now allow for the United States to send the very same types of men who were holding the attack dogs in Cannon Ball to carry out covert assassinations in countries where congress has not declared war are manifesting themselves right here in the heartland.

There have already been drones surveying the camps as everyday Americans are being watched like terrorists. We know the government has no problem breaking into the private conversations of all citizens as exposed by Edward Snowden. Yet, when these things are brought up those speaking on them are accused of being conspiracy theorists despite proof that these things are happening.

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It isn't lawmakers speaking out against these human rights violations, it's people like those who make up Anonymous and people like those who are currently camping in North Dakota. When will our lawmakers join us? Lawmakers speak out against terror and the desecration of sacred sites in the Middle East, but refuse to say anything at all about a company deliberately targeting sacred sites right here in the United States.

The belief that politics and hypocrisy go hand-in-hand couldn't be more true in this instance.

(Brandon Ecoffey is the editor of The Lakota Country Times and is an award winning journalist who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He can be reached at

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