2017-09-07 / Voices

What Does “Qualified” Mean


I have heard plenty of stories about qualified applicants being denied fair and due-process by the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Some of these stories are born out of spite, while other may actually merit further consideration.

Last week, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council interviewed three candidates for the Chief of Police position. These three candidates were deemed “qualified” for the position by the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Human Resources Department. The council ended up choosing Grace Her Many Horses for the position. Gracie has plenty of experience in the field and will do a great job at keeping our people safe.

What was interesting, however, was the candidate that was denied an interview. That person was Robert Ecoffey. For purpose of full-disclosure I think it is necessary to note that Robert is my father. (To be completely honest, I would prefer that instead of jumping back into tribal politics, he continue to enjoy his retirement.)

Robert spent over thirty years working in the field of law enforcement and more than a decade as a BIA Superintendent. He was the first Native American United States Marshall in the history of that organization and he was also the National Director of BIA Law Enforcement. I am not exactly sure what the exact qualifications are for this position, but it I think most people would agree that he was deserving of an interview.

Instances like this expose flaws in our tribal government’s policies and provide an opportunity for our legislators to correct them.

The council has promised to amend its personnel manual in the coming weeks. I’m sure they will do their best to improve it.

*Brandon Ecoffey is the editor of LCT and is an award-winning journalist who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

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