Yesterday came news that North Dakota Democrats got a candidate for the U.S. House.
Native American attorney and activist Chase Iron Eyes will be squaring off against incumbent Republican Kevin Cramer, who is running for a third term in office, and Libertarian Party candidate Jack Seaman.
But if you’re looking for more information about Iron Eyes, it may be hard to come by. It appears as though he deleted his social media accounts shortly before news of his candidacy was made public. And, strangely for even a new political candidate, he doesn’t seem to have any presence on Facebook or Twitter right now at all.
His Twitter profile – the same one referenced in his author profile on Last Real Indians, a website he founded – is also no longer available. Though, again, a cached copy of it available through Google shows that he had nearly 14,000 followers there:
Iron Eyes clearly had a large social media following (by North Dakota standards). One that most candidates in this state would love to have. So why did he delete it? And apparently recently? The cached version of his Facebook profile shows his last posting was the middle of last month.
No doubt Iron Eyes will lean on his experience as an attorney and activist representing Native American interests as qualification to serve in the U.S. House, as well he should. While I have very little in common with Iron Eyes politically, there’s no question that he is a competent organizer with significant influence. I can tell you – as someone who followed Iron Eyes before his candidacy – that social media was a big part of his activism. It was a big part of what made him effective.
But now that record has been sent down the memory hole.
I suspect these social media accounts were deleted because Iron Eyes has some political views most North Dakota voters of any given political leanings would find pretty extreme. As I pointed out yesterday, this article on Last Real Indians where he describes sympathies for the armed occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon and suggests that armed Native American groups occupy the Black Hills is pretty far out there.
Is that the sort of thing Iron Eyes was seeking to hide when he deleted his social media accounts? Is he hiding his activism against oil and coal development and infrastructure?
If so that’s unfortunate. Voters deserve a clear picture of those seeking office.
It isn’t a good thing for any political campaign to start with a cover up.