Stacey Ecoffey | Life Gets Better

“Life gets better…Things get much better… if you can get through that hard stage… Life, love, happiness, everything gets a whole lot better…”-Stacey Ecoffey

Stacey Ecoffey’s Journey

Stacey Ecoffey is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota. She grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Pine Ridge. She is currently the Principal Advisor for Tribal Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Stacey Ecoffey

Stacey Ecoffey, Oglala Lakota

Growing up, horses were a big part of Stacey’s life. Her grandfather always had her on a horse, and she found horses to be a big stress relief. She attended rodeos. She also enjoyed school

Stacey Ecoffey attended Colorado State University. She earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology with a focus on Native American studies. Her school was far enough away that she could be in her own world, but close enough to home that the self-described “rez girl” could get home to visit family, too.

She thought she would return home to work for the tribe, but decided to attend graduate school before coming home. So she attended Boston College and earned her Master’s Degree in social work.

After grad school, she returned home and ended up finding a job as a coordinator for the tribal council’s Health and Human Service Committee. Very similar to Jodi Gillette, Stacey believes this experience was critical to learning how to function and maneuver and get things done in DC.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Stacey’s philosophy to always move forward, to have a glass half full.
  • How a fellowship prompted her move to DC.
  • The importance of networking.
  • How attending the Indians into Medicine program got Stacey used to being away from home.
  • How Stacey learned that you can always come back home.
  • How being away from home can strengthen who you are and your values.
  • The sacrifices people make when they are away from home.
  • How to make an impact in your community.


This is part 3 of a series called Lakota Voices.

For more episodes, subscribe to iTunes or Stitcher or visit NextGen Native to get all previous episodes.

Join the conversation using #nextgennative and #lakotavoices. Better yet, join the conversation in person with friends, family, teachers, elders and others.



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