Haskell News Commentary is extremely glad that Mr. Larry Echohawk was on the Haskell Indian Nations University campus and tried to speak with as many people as possible, even giving some of the dorms a look, without Venida Chenault at his side.
Unfortunately, he had to deal with Dan Wildcat bowing, kneeling, scraping, and groveling the whole time.
And although there is no better smoke blower than Dan Wildcat, with Mr. Larry Echohawk as a previous member of the Idaho state legislature and Idaho Attorney General, we are pretty sure he knows when someone is blowing smoke up his… suit. So we do applaud the assistant secretary for his efforts and say good for him!
We are also sending kudos to Senator Pat Roberts for his effort in this matter. Many times people complain about the performance of our Congressman and Senators but when Senator Pat Roberts became aware of this situation he jumped into the ring and took the bull by the horns.
The issue with Haskell is likely not one that will produce any substantial political capital for the Senator Pat Roberts; it probably will not get his name on NBC nightly news or Fox news. But it is an issue that is important for many people across the country, in many cases people who live below the poverty line, people who will never have an opportunity to cast a vote for Senator Pat Roberts. He addressed this issue because as the director Spike Lee would say, he wanted to “Do the right thing,” and we applaud him for that.
One last item and one which we don’t believe either Mr. Larry Echohawk or his staff was aware of. Was the attempted intimidation going on against people attempting to speak with either he or his staff.
In a fact finding mission we expect to see professional and ethical behavior.
Especially when each individual session with Mr. Larry Echohawk or one of his staff began with a promise that retaliation would not be tolerated.
We know that he was not invited to Haskell by Venida or her group (in fact Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn was noticeably absent).
And was it just us or did other people notice the tense way in which Venida read Mr. Larry Echohawk’s introduction to a group of two hundred plus people.
On Friday, people who had not been able to speak with Mr. Larry Echohawk personally were invited to speak one on one with Mr. Paul Tsoise (Chief of staff for Assistant Secretary Larry Echohawk).
When anyone went to speak with Mr. Paul Tsosie, surprisingly they found members of Venida’s group hanging around the hallway on an apparent mission to intimidate and interrogate them.
This is no way to run a university or any other type of business as far as that goes.
In a completely transparent attempt to conceal their actions they returned again and again, each time claiming they were there to drop off a submission.
How many people were question by good old friendly Mike Tosee about why there were there.
We understand that when word got around and it gets around pretty fast at Haskell Indian Nations University, some people were afraid to voice any concerns believing they too would become targets of Venida and her retaliation tactics. Our sources tell us that one person who spoke with Mr. Larry Echohawk had their car keyed in the parking lot.
And we have other reports of administrative retaliation that happened on that day.
Why does this sort of thing not surprise us?
One might wonder how likely is someone to attempt to speak with the secretary’s team when Venida Chenault is standing in the hallway with a notepad and pencil mysteriously writing each time someone enters the doorway. Subtle? No. Effective? Yes.
For now we won’t belabor the point, but there is a little bit more to this story. That being said we want to give Mr. Larry Echohawk a chance to look into it, as he seemed like a pretty fair guy to us.
Adding insult to injury Venida Chenault is traveling to Washington D.C. to for a love fest (also known as a strategy session) with Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn ALL next week. Venida reportedly told her group to keep their eyes and ears open and let her know if they hear of anyone attempting to submit any more information to Mr. Larry Echohawk.
While we would have thought that a negative fact finding investigation would have begun by freezing hiring, personnel actions and all travel by the people being investigated, maybe in this case Mr. Larry Echohawk is letting the guilty parties take that last ride…
haskellnews commentary 04/03/2010.