Five Years Ago This Month I Was Banished From An Indian Reservation


Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on a panel at the University of North Dakota’s Conflict Resolution Center’s symposium on civility (details on attending here, would love to see some SAB readers there). I’ve been preparing for the event this week, which is why posting has been light.

As I’ve been writing in the previous weeks, I am very suspicious of this topic. America has a long and ugly history with laws and regulations justified by a desire for “civility” but, at their heart, motivated by a desire to silence free speech. The Sedition Act of 1798 outlawed “scandalous and malicious” speech and writing. It put private citizens, members of the press and even a sitting member of Congress in jail.

That law was later overturned by President Thomas Jefferson and his anti-Federalists in Congress, but in 1918 President Woodrow Wilson passed the Sedition Act of 1918 outlawing “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language,” language clearly aimed at critics of WWI. That law was also overturned in 1921 by an incoming Republican Congress, but by the time WWII rolled around we were back at it again with the Smith Act which led to numerous trials of questionable legal provenance against people exercising their free speech, including the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.

The Smith Act was used during the “Red Scare” to convict communists for…espousing communism. In Dennis vs. United States the Supreme Court upheld such convictions, but Justice Hugo Black wrote in dissent that the indictment of the communists was “a virulent form of prior censorship of speech and the press.”

Now, while communism is a dangerous and misguided ideology, we should support free speech for everyone. Even for fools.

The Smith Act, by the way, is still law to this day. And the impulse to arrest people for speech hasn’t faded with time. The “Violent Radicalization And Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007″ made illegal “The use, planned use or threatened use, of force…to coerce the…government, or civilian population…in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

That’s a statement so broadly written that I’m not sure it wouldn’t have made the civil rights protests of the 1960’s, which saw clashes between law enforcement and protesters seeking equal treatment for blacks, illegal.

I’ve been touched by this issue as well, in a very personal way. Five years ago this month I was banished from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. I had written an article about conditions on the reservation (you can still read it here) which the tribe deemed “injurious to the peace.” They alleged at the time that my column “seriously threatens the general welfare, health, safety and political security and prosperity of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, its members and other tribes in the State of North Dakota.”

You can read the entire exclusion order banishing me here, though I’d note that it makes several inaccurate claims about me. Despite the tribe’s own laws (not to mention my constitutional rights) requiring that I be afforded due process including the right to present a defense with legal counsel, this resolution was passed without me ever being notified. It wasn’t until it was picked up by the media that I was notified that I had been banned.

Now, agree with my positions on the welfare state and Indian reservations or not, the point is that we shouldn’t be censoring people simply because we don’t like what they say.

When I hear a push toward “civility,” it worries me. Because in the past, when these movements have gained momentum, free speech has almost always been the victim.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

Related posts

  • Lianne

    Will you be reporting everything you see and hear?   Must be quite strange to be walking among the civil!  ;)
    More importantly, your ARTICLE was more damaging to the Native Americans than their living conditions?  I guess the tribal council didn’t want the residents of the reservation to know that they lived in squalor for fear they would rise up in anger and fight for freedom or something.

  • guest

    Don’t know why this was troublesome for you.  In my mind, the only thing more satisfying would consist of being escorted out of, and away from, that newest contribution of  Black culture, known as a rap concert…

    • Rob

      It was troublesome because it was an assault on free speech.

      And that’s a terrible thing to say about blacks.

      • awfulorv

        You would equate Rap music with culture? What brand of culture is that,  Mogadishu Mod?   What advancement to our culture do the words within most, filthy rap, songs contribute? The terrible thing is that our young are purchasing so much of this crap. I’ve been noticing, also, rings in noses, ears, wherever they can be attached, puffy lips, ruinous tattoos, almost black tans. That’s some culture, wonder where it came from,? I’d rather have Frankie, or Perry, or the Seekers, thank you.   And I’ll wager what I’ve said is not nearly as vicious as that being said, every Saturday night, when that black gangsta, in So. Chicago, sends his Disciples out for a night of robbery, mayhem, carjacking, rape, and murder. 

        • Sparkie Arbuckle

          I’d hate to see how you feel about rock and roll or country music!  Or biker culture.  Wowee.  You are a pre-mod racist piece of shit, huh?  No love for Georgie Fame?

          You want to talk about black music?  Rock and roll is black music.  Elvis was a Jackie Wilson impersonator, for chrissakes.  Robert Johnson was a major game-changer.  When jazz started, it was voodoo nigger music.  When blues started, it was too.  And Rock and Roll.  Now you are saying the same thing about hip-hop.

          Hip-hop sells.  Break dancing is popular, graffiti went from being a nuisance to adorning ‘cool’ shirts and backpacks, the roll of the DJ as performer changed music forever, funk is wonderful.

          You are just a hater of all things American, Orv.  Look around the world.  You people from abroad emulate our pop music stars.

          Bongo drums must really drive you up the wall, huh?


          • awfulorv

            Back to your fapping you hunka shit…

          • ellinas1

            “guest” the coward, is awfulorv’s sockpuppet.

          • Jim

             Rob 5
            hours ago in
            reply to bikebubba

            “Guest” is Hannitized, who is apparently too
            much of a douche bag to put his more odious comments under his regular handle.

          • awfulorv

            That’s what I’ve been trying to point to anyone whose brain, and oral cavity, is not occupied with that last drop of semen from their black partner. The insane idea that black Africa has contributed more than a smidgen of culture to the world.  I’ll bet there is not a professional, listenable, symphony orchestra to be assembled today, that’s 120 musicians, among all the countries of black Africa.  For reference, Oslo could produce ten of them tomorrow.

          • Sparkie Arbuckle

            You only like the blonde and blues, huh?

            All on board with the Nazis.

            Why don’t you speak on gypsies and eastern europeans, too?

          • awfulorv

            Having once had my keys stolen by Gypsy kids, and subjected to buying them back, I must tell you I’m not too fond of them either. 

          • Sparkie Arbuckle

            I don’t buy that meme happened to you.  A racist and a liar.

          • two_amber_lamps

             What about that meme that your a self admitted drunk?


          • Sparkie Arbuckle
          • badlands4

             omg! Wow.

            As for your “listenable” symphony orchestra comment.

            “The Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is the only symphony orchestra in
            Central Africa and the only all-black orchestra in the world.”

            They were absolutely beautiful. They started  it with nothing; no money, no instruments, no training. Nothing. They also do it for free, with some of them walking  over an hour to get there. I don’t imagine one of the Oslo symphony orchestra groups you mentioned operates against those kinds of odds.

            For reference, there are 200 members in their orchestra.


          • awfulorv

            listenable being the key word, heart bleeder.

          • Carolport

             Wow is right.  What beautiful faces making beautiful music in spite of how hard their lives must be. 

          • awfulorv

            I say again, though not so emphatically this time, there is not one, thoroughly professional, technically proficient, Symphony Orchestra, in all of Africa, As there is, for instance, on the island of Taiwan. That being written, I am not going to mock a group of people who try to make music despite the extreme hardships inherent, in their doing so. Instead I shouted Hooray! as I’m wont to do, on viewing the video.  Anyone who tries  to make music is all right, in my book. It is in our defining of musical quality that you and I, can differ, and be, equally, correct. Or, if it’s imperative  that you win, which I’m sure it is, I leave the field to you.  But, you’ve caused me to absorb something this day, which I didn’t know before, and that is good, in my view.  I shall carry my thoughts on the subject with me, and hopefully dazzle the Jehovah Whistlers, who are currently at the door, demanding audience.

          • Lianne

            “Amazing Grace”  must be the smidgen.

        • ellinas1

          Hello Orv! 

        • borborygmi

          Go back and Listen to Frankie and Perry and the Seekers or most rock or most Jazz.   Squeeze my Lemon Squeeze my lemon until the juice runs down my leg……The words might not have been in your face but the innuendo was there.  

          • Econwarrior

            That line was stolen from Robert Johnson, blues singer/player from the Thirties.

        • thevoiceofreason

          This is full of generalizations and should be disregarded accordingly.

    • ellinas1

      How are you doin’ awfulorv?

  • Sparkie Arbuckle

    “Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on a panel at the University of North Dakota’s Conflict Resolution Center’s symposium on civility.”
    Hardy har har.

    • Todd

       You should be giving the speech, sparkie. This way you can call everyone a cunt, asshat or a clowns. You hypocritical drunk.

      • Sparkie Arbuckle

        I’d be glad to.  Tell them to scrounge up $20K and I’ll give em a 45 min lecture and 15 min of Q and A, c*nt.

        • Todd

           Obviously no one thinks you’re worth a dime, that’s why you just spout off here. Brahahahahaha!!!!!!

      • Sparkie Arbuckle

        Also, I took up using c*nt under the influence of 2kitten9.
        I took up using asshat because it is a tag Rob uses for his posts, and has been since ’06.
        And clown is a very civil insult, you c*nty asshat.

        • Econwarrior

          Thanks for admitting your lack of originality, little sparkie.

        • LastBestHope

          You began posting in a profane way under the “influence” of some other blogger? OK…how you became a  willing serf for The One is now a mystery solved.

          Being weak minded can be a valid excuse for follower-types. You are excused little guy.

    • ellinas1

      “guest” is the coward that goes my the moniker awfulorv.

      • Sparkie Arbuckle

        All racist are cowards.  Duh.

        • Econwarrior

          You and your little greek buddy make a strong argument that all who shout “racist” are liars.

          • ellinas1

            Your sister in San Francisco, said I am the best rooster she ever had given head.

          • Econwarrior

            I don’t have a sister in San Francisco, you lying faggot.

          • bobby

            So not a racist, but a facist, xenophobic biggot? good for you!

          • Econwarrior

            No, I just hate liars and guys who spew homosexual filth when they have no argument.

          • bobby

            I take hope that you enjoy this joke of a site as much as the author/owner.

          • BBantam

            What was your reaction when you found out he was a cross dresser?

          • ellinas1

            econwarrior aka robert180 will verify for you that his sister in San Francisco is a female, and employed as a teacher.
            Do ask him.
            By the way, say hi  to your mom for me. 

          • Econwarrior

            I don’t have a sister in San Francisco, you lying faggot.

        • ellinas1

          Yeah, but this one is special.
          The cons(ervatives) here on SAB have embraced him and defend him.

      • Carl

         Rob 5
        hours ago in
        reply to bikebubba

        “Guest” is Hannitized, who is apparently too
        much of a douche bag to put his more odious comments under his regular handle.


        • ellinas1

          Read carefuly what I wrote.
          “guest” with a small “g” is awfulorv.
          If you ask him he will verify it for you.

          The shit you posted above, is 20 years old, it is stale and false.

  • bottineaubay

    You know Rob, the conditions on the Turtle Mountain Reservation aren’t the  best, but you wrote the article to bring attention to yourself. I’ve spent a lot of time there, and there are many many hard working folks there that I consider my friends. As to the diatribe that your “followers” engaged in, I think it’s a good reason to suggest civility from them as well. If you want your name associated with this type of racist ranting, just remember that you are known by the company you keep.

    • Rob

      I didn’t mention myself in the original article at all.  I wrote it because I have a genuine interest in social and reservation policy, and I don’t think it’s working on the reservations.

      • Econwarrior

        I remember that thread very well; all you did was to describe what you found on the reservation, and you were viciously attacked for telling the truth.  Welcome to the club.

  • Dlao

    if only they were the nickname and mascot for a college sports team, then you’d be lovin em.

  • Kevin Flanagan

    Whatever happened to smoking the “peace pipe?”

  • Mike Peterson

     “Violent Radicalization And Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007″.. Ah the memories. I’m pretty sure I complained to the Herald about that one lol.

  • Flamejob5

    You left out the thousands of Northern political dissenters Lincoln arrested & imprisoned prior to any shot even being fired before the “Civil” War.

    The American Gulag

    Executive Order To Bomb Americans

  • awfulorv

    A friend of mine tells me of the time he came over a hill on an Indian Reservation in the Southwest, driving an 18 wheeler, doing about 70 mph, and there were about five hundred sheep on the road. Sort of like a large, furry, set of bowling balls, as he described the scene.  Naturally he stopped, found the owner of the sheep, asked him if he’d like to set em up, and go two for one, but was unable to gin up any interest.  So he reimbursed him, handsomely, and drove off with at least two legs of Mutton protruding from his windshield.

    • awfulorv

      On second thought, I may have stumbled onto a game the Ultra Rich might really like. Something to occupy their minds during those times, we all have them, when they’re feeling a little down,  and they’ve tried every other form of entertainment. 

  • cylde

    Most people never had heard the term”teabagger” until Anderson Cooper used it on national TV. soon the term was being bandied about on national TV several times a day by talking heads and democrat activists, then it was on the tongue of many congressmen, finally in 2009 i heard the president use the term. Nobody would define the term in ordinary english. What they were calling millions of people that called themselves tea partiers was actually a term used in  homosexual circles that referred to scrotum sucking. What kind of civility is that from our president?

    • awfulorv

      Civility indeed, even as late as Bill Clinton’s terms ladies were being helped in taking off their dresses…

  • uvikingslost

    North Dakotans vote June 12, 2012

    Referendum Measure No. 4

    This referendum measure concerns Senate Bill 2370 as passed by the Legislative Assembly in the November 2011 special session (Session Laws, Chapter 580). Senate Bill 2370 repealed section 15-10-46 of the North Dakota Century Code, which required the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

    YES – means you approve Senate Bill 2370, the effect of which would allow the University of North Dakota to discontinue the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

    NO – means you reject Senate Bill 2370, and would require the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.


    Vote (X) YES on Referendum Measure No. 4 to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, which will help UND transition into the Big Sky Conference and Division I athletics.


    May 26, 2012

    ATTN:  ALL North Dakota Voters


    Please READ the below CONCLUSION of the ORDER dated May 1, 2012, written by Ralph Erickson, Chief Judge, United States District Court, For The District of North Dakota, Northeastern Division. That should give the North Dakota VOTERS the legal understanding that the YES vote on Referendum Measure No. 4 on June 12, 2012, is necessary for the University of North Dakota to retire the nickname and logo and logistically transition into the Big Sky Conference and Division I sports with the NCAA’s blessing.

    Vote (X) (YES) on Referendum Measure No. 4 on June 12, 2012, to allow the University of North Dakota to retire the nickname and logo and transition into the Big Sky Conference and Division I sports.

    The major reason for the ultimate, logical,  passing of Referendum Measure No. 4 for the YES votes is listed below: 

    The federal and state courts have now weighed in on this nickname and logo issue and it would in the best interests of the University of North Dakota for the voters to allow UND to retire finally retire its nickname and logo.

    Take care and PLEASE vote wisely. The University of North Dakota’s future is depending on your vote.



    Case No. 2:11-cv-95  Filed:  May 1, 2012

    In The United States District Court
    For The District of North Dakota
    Northeastern Division

    The Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe Of Indians,Plaintiffs,


    The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA),


    Case No. 2:11-cv-95

    By: Ralph R. Erickson
    Chief Judge,
    United States District Court


    After full consideration of the record and the pleadings in this case, none of the counts pled by the Committee state a legal claim sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss under the provisions of federal law as pled.

    Many of the counts are entirely without merit, and the ones that could potentially have been meritorious could only have been properly brought by UND, which was in actual privity with the NCAA.

    As a voluntary, private organization, the NCAA was free to implement the policies it saw fit for governing its events, no matter how provident or improvident those policies may have been.

    None of the plaintiffs are members of the NCAA,and their lack of standing is a fatal flaw in nearly every count dismissed in this Order.

    More importantly, the Committee has failed to raise a colorable claim under any of the provisions of federal law pled and the NCAA’s motion to dismiss is GRANTED.



    Dated this 1st day of May, 2012.

    /s/ Ralph R. Erickson
    Ralph R. Erickson, Chief Judge
    United States District Court
    For The District Of North Dakota
    Northeastern Division