Tag Archives: lakota voices

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. Continue reading

Jodi Gillette | Humble Leadership

  • “I never thought of myself as pitiful”… “but I struggled with the injustice of our history”– Jodi Gillette

Indian Country is humble. It encourages, as discussed on a previous episode, leadership as service. Jodi Gillette is a great example of this leadership style.

Jodi Gillette’s Roots

Jodi Gillette is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She grew up in Kyle, South Dakota. Jodi describes herself as one of the most fortunate people in the country because of where she is from. As a child she was surrounded by family and friends. Sports, ceremonies, and powwows were central to her childhood.

Jodi Gillette, photo courtesy of Jolynne Woodcock

Jodi Gillette, photo courtesy of Jolynne Woodcock.

Her upbringing provided a solid foundation for her education and career. Jodi became well known throughout Indian Country through her service in the White House under President Obama. She was a policy advisor to President Obama on Native American affairs, and served in other key positions throughout her tenure in the administration. She now serves as a policy advisor at  Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry LLP.

In this episode of the Lakota Voices series, we discuss Jodi’s background further and how she ended up in the administration. The episode covers a lot of ground, and we didn’t get to discuss other aspects of Jodi’s life that has also received significant attention. Continue reading

Mike Black | BIA Director

Mike Black, Part 1 of Lakota Voices

“I like to tell [students] you’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try.”

“The future is whatever they want it to be. And there is nothing that should stop them from getting there.”

–Mike Black

Mike Black

Mike Black, Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Mike Black, Oglala Sioux, is the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mike’s story is a great example of what happens when you combine experience, skills, and mentorship. On their own, each is a valuable asset. But they may not be enough individually to propel your career to the highest level. Combined, they are powerful.

Mike Black was born in Flandreau, South Dakota and grew up in Aberdeen, South Dakota. As a kid, Mike enjoyed school and sports. Math came easy to him, so it’s no surprise that he attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Several friends from Aberdeen also attended the school, providing a critical peer support group. Continue reading

Lakota Voices | An Overview of a Special Series

Launching Lakota Voices

Pine Ridge is WAY TOO FAMILIAR with the tired narrative of Indian Country as poverty porn. It is ground zero for media that perpetuate the narrative. It’s also the example used by those trying  to counter itBut there’s another story about Pine Ridge and Indian Country generally. It’s our story told by us. In general, I call this story NextGen Native. And I’m excited to launch a series that focuses on this story in a specific community. The series is called Lakota Voices.

(ed note: I know the pic below is of kids from Standing Rock Sioux, but they are with FLOTUS which is awesome. Let’s roll with the flow)

A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Continue reading