July 17, 2013

Blackfeet critic jailed for Facebook comments

Great Falls man arrested on Blackfeet reservation for Facebook commentsA Great Falls man has been jailed for comments he made on Facebook about the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.

According to witnesses, Bryon Scott Farmer was arrested on Friday for violating Tribal Ordinance 67. The law protects members of the tribal council from “allegations of threats, slanderous material and misleading information,” according to court documents.

As of Tuesday, Farmer was still in jail in Browning. Farmer is an enrolled tribal member and often comments on a Facebook page called “Blackfeet Against Corruption,” according to his aunt, Carol Grant of Browning.

Farmer has been a staunch critic of the current tribal council, which has been mired in controversy since last year. Last summer, the ruling council led by Chairman Willie Sharp Jr. suspended five other councilors and more than two dozen tribal employees. Since then, only five councilors have been in office, and critics on the reservation contend that does not constitute a quorum to conduct business.
Blackfeet arrest man critical of tribal councilBlackfeet authorities have arrested a tribal member who has been critical of the tribe's governing council, accusing him of violating a law that protects council members from threats, slanderous material or misleading information.

Relatives of Bryon Scott Farmer say the Great Falls man was arrested Friday while attending a family gathering in Browning for doing nothing more than expressing himself.

"I felt violated by what the police did," Farmer's aunt, Carol Grant, said. "Because the only thing Bryon has done is exercise his First Amendment right, his right to freedom of speech."
Blackfeet Nation man arrested for posting on Facebook groupThe tribe's prosecutor charged Farmer on June 28. But he wasn't arrested until Friday, a day before the parade for the North American Indian Days.

Farmer remained jailed for the entire weekend while the events took place. He was apparently released late Tuesday.

"Guess whos back?" Farmer said on Facebook. "I love all my people who prayed for me while I was in jail, I felt your prayers, and remember jesus went to jail for his people. CHANGE is coming and we are all part of it on this site. BAC ROCKS!"
Comment:  Actress Misty Upham, Blackfeet, is one of those protesting corruption in the Blackfeet tribal government. I hope to hear more about it from her.

For more on the subject, see Blackfeet Indicted for Musicians' Hunt.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


Blackfeet infighting spills into Capitol, court

A power struggle that has splintered the Blackfeet Indians' governing council and divided the tribe is moving beyond the reservation's boundaries.

The intra-tribal political feud has been escalating for nearly a year, leading to the dismissal or suspension of several members of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council and leaving just five of its nine members to make decisions for the governing body.

The division has led to accusations of corruption by supporters of both factions and street protests outside tribal government offices in Browning.

The tumult has largely been contained to the isolated reservation in remote northwestern Montana. But this week, it spilled into the halls of the state Capitol and the federal courthouse in Great Falls with the arrest of three ex-tribal leaders accused of holding illegal big game hunts for country music stars and a film crew.