Opinion

Column: Blackfeet Nation goes quiet on controversial matters





Columnist discusses the wall of silence from official leaders of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana:
The problem with law enforcement and governing matters on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation is you often only get one side of the story. And there’s a good reason for that. It’s only one side doing the talking.

This latest instance, in which a Great Falls man was arrested for posting critical comments of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council on Facebook, is a perfect example. Bryon Scott Farmer had been jailed since July 12 for violating Tribal Ordinance 67 – an unusual law that protects the council from “allegations of threats, slanderous material and misleading information” – and we wanted to know why.

When the Blackfeet’s chief prosecutor was reached by phone, the same man who signed the warrant for Farmer’s arrest, he said the tribe had “no more comments on the case” before hanging up. Calls made to other council members also went nowhere.

Only after we published the piece, citing court records that referenced a relatively tame Facebook post and the ordinance violation, did Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Chairman Willie Sharp Jr. call and say Farmer’s offense was worse than it looks. He accused Farmer of trying to incite violence at the July 13 North American Indian Days in Browning.

Get the Story:
Kellyn Brown: No Comment (The Flathead Beacon 7/25)

Get the Story:
Abuse of Power? (The Flathead Beacon 7/23)

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Blackfeet Nation chair defends arrest over Facebook posting (7/18)
Blackfeet Nation man arrested for posting on Facebook group (7/17)