Comment from Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band tribal member:
"My name is Andy Laverdure. I am an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band. I live on the reservation. The statements made by Rob Port and his followers on the sayanythingblog.com site are some of the most horrible statements ever made. Indian women have been called 'welfare whores.' Indian children have been called "bastards." According to Rob, Indians do not pay taxes, they do not contribute to society, they only leech off the government 'sucking on the government's tit.' Because of this, all Indian society is a welfare society. Rob is stating that all reservations should be abolished. All treaties should be abrogated. Steve Cates, publisher of the Dakota Beacon (where the original article appeared in Jan. 2007), is just as bad, for allowing such an article to be published. The Dakota Beacon is a major republican journal printed and widely distributed in North Dakota! For ND Governor Ed Schaeffer is a regular contributor! Margaret Sitte, a republican bigwig in the state is a major supporter. The republican party, by publishing the Rob Port article in the Dakota Beacon is agreeing with the 'solution' to the 'Indian Problem' by default, because they are party to the statements made by not decrying the article that was published.
UPDATE: Response from Rob Port:
"I notice that on your blog you've included some commentary from one Andy Laverdure. I'd note that his comments about me are libelous, specifically this sentence: 'According to Rob, Indians do not pay taxes, they do not contribute to society, they only leech off the government 'sucking on the government's tit.' I never once said that Indians do not pay taxes, nor did I say that they do not contribute to society. I expect that you'll be removing these lies from your website in short order and post an apology in their place Or, in lieu of that, I expect you'll offer up some evidence that I said those things."
--Rob Port, posted May 16, 2007
Rob Port, excerpt from "The Appalling State of North Dakota Indian Reservations:
"....Our government spends billions of dollars on creating education and employment opportunities for Indians, not to mention the billions spent on personal assistance for the Indians themselves in the form of housing money, food money, welfare money, etc. But none of this is working. Most of the Indians on these reservations eat up all of that assistance and still don’t manage to lift themselves out of the ghettos they’re living in. Why? I think it’s because they live without consequences.
Most of us would probably consider living in a squalid apartment in a nasty housing complex a pretty serious consequence for not getting ahead in life, but it seems to me as though most of these Indians are perfectly content to live there. Probably because they don’t know any better. They were likely raised in housing projects by their parents, who in turn were probably raised in housing projects themselves. The 'welfare mentality' has become so ingrained in these people that most of them don’t have any drive to reach for something better. It’s not that they’re incapable of education and holding down a steady job, it’s just that they don’t have to do those things to eek by in life. Like their parents before them, they leave selfish lives full of self-gratification and little achievement while the government subsidizes them..." Rob Port, excerpt from "The Appalling State of North Dakota Indian Reservation."
Read entire Rob Port article:
Published in the Dakota Beacon. See page 10:
HATE WATCH: Is this an issue of "free speech," or is the sayanything.blog a forum for racism and hatred?
Minot Daily News in North Dakota says it is a free speech issue:
Grand Forks Herald editor seems to like Rob Port:
Previous post on exclusion order:
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Turtle Mountain Chippewa Nation passes exclusion order for insulting author
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Council unanimously passed a resolution banning Rob Port from tribal lands for insulting comments about the tribe and its members posted on sayanything.com and published in the Dakota Beacon. The resolution was passed Thursday at 3 p.m.The resolution states:"WHEREAS, there has been no effort made on the part of the Dakota Beacon to retract the article, amidst numerous complaints by tribal members; and WHEREAS, Rob Port, author of the article and webmaster of SayanythingBlog.com has made no effort to either retract or apologize to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; now THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that, Rob Port, author of the aforementioned article and webmaster of SayAnythingBlog.com, be excluded and removed from all land on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in the State of North Dakota and from such other lands as may be acquired on behalf of said Tribe and be added thereto under the laws of the United States and pursuant to Title 39 of the Turtle Mountain Tribal Code, in order that the peace, health, political integrity, economic security and general welfare of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa be secured; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, Steve Cates, publisher of the Dakota Beacon, and Dakota Beacon, Inc. publicly retract the January 2007 article “The Appalling State of North Dakota Indian Reservations” by issuing a letter to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, with said letter placed by the tribe for publication in regional news outlets and issuance to each of the other tribes in the State of North Dakota; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be transmitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, North Dakota Congressional Delegation Members, the Governor of the State of North Dakota and the North Dakota State Indian Affairs Commission for follow-through, oversight and information."
Here's Rob Port's response:
http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/so_one_day_i_came_home_and_found_out_id_been_banned_from_an_indian_reservat/KXMB CBS 12 Bismark:
Grand Forks Herald
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa has banished someone from its reservation for the second time since creating an "exclusion code" in 2006.
But the banished individual this time is not a suspected drug dealer, high-risk sex offender, or someone who has committed a serious crime. He's an Internet blogger.
Friday, the Turtle Mountain tribal council banished North Dakota political blogger Rob Port from the reservation after a column critical of the reservation appeared in a state political magazine.
Port, of Minot, is webmaster for SayAnythingBlog.com, a political Web site.
The tribal resolution says Port's column was "injurious to the peace and seriously threatens the general welfare, health, safety, political security and prosperity of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, its members, and other tribes in the state of North Dakota."
Port is under fire for a column that ran in the January issue of The Dakota Beacon, a political magazine published monthly in North Dakota. The column also appears on Port's blog.
Titled "The Appalling State of North Dakota Indian Reservations," the column stems from Port's daylong experience at the Turtle Mountain reservation, where he says he spent about 15 hours "going around neighborhoods and knocking on doors."
In his column, Port talks about the conditions of the homes he saw and the people he came into contact with while on the Turtle Mountain reservation.
He writes that living conditions on the reservation are "abhorrent" and continues with: "Most of us would probably consider living in a squalid apartment in a nasty housing complex a pretty serious consequence for not getting ahead in life, but it seems to me as though most of these Indians are perfectly content to live there. Probably because they don't know any better. They were likely raised in housing projects by their parents, who in turn were probably raised in housing projects themselves."
Port's column also calls for an end to reservations and "cradle-to-grave entitlements."
Eight tribal council members voted to exclude Port from tribal lands. Tribal Chairman David "Doc" Brien signed the resolution into law Friday.
Attempts to reach Brien were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Turtle Mountain Vice Chairman Ted Henry said the council was approached by a group of people demanding Port be banned from the reservation.
"We were getting a lot of calls asking that we do something," Henry said Tuesday, explaining that the column was the source of tribal members' ire.
Last year, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa adopted its exclusion code, a tribal ordinance that creates a process to permanently banish or withhold services from tribal members and nonmembers who are involved in serious crimes.
It was put into place because of growing concerns about illicit drugs on reservations and the lack of jurisdiction tribes have over nonmembers who deal with, possess, or use drugs. Only serious felony offenses committed by members or nonmembers of the tribe are federally prosecuted.
The exclusion ordinance has been used once before, when the tribe banned Calvin John Andrist, who is not a member of the tribe but living on the reservation. Andrist was removed after a request to the tribal council from tribal law enforcement officers, who said Andrist was involved in numerous drug-related actions from the summer of 2005 to March 8, 2006.
Tribal members and non-tribal members who are repeat offenders either dealing in drugs or committing sex offenses can be banned from the reservation permanently, according to the ordinance. Tribal members are given warnings before they are banned, according to the ordinance.
Non-tribal members can be banished without warning if the tribe deems immediate removal necessary.
Port said Tuesday his opinions do not warrant such a reaction.
"How do you ban somebody from land without even telling them about it?" he said. "It doesn't seem very straightforward, banning somebody for an opinion piece."
Port has been writing his opinion on politics for about four years. After his article appeared in print and on the Web, some outraged Turtle Mountain tribal members responded at Port's SayAnythingBlog site.
"I didn't write it thinking I am going to tick these people off," Port said. "I thought I am writing it because people don't think about what's going on in the reservation very often."
Turtle Mountain's Henry said the column unfairly generalizes what life is like on the reservation.
"It cut our people down," Henry said. "I am sure we are having troubles already, and this just seems to make it worse. We do have a lot of good people here. The article doesn't say anything about that. A lot of our Indian people work hard."
Port agreed, to a point. "Not everybody up there lives like that," he said. "There are tribal members with very high levels of education, with jobs and who aren't using drugs. But, it's also crime-addled, with poverty and drugs. It's ludicrous to me that I get people angry with me for pointing that out."
The tribal resolution banning Port from Turtle Mountain tribal lands accuses Port and people commenting on the site of using demeaning terms about Indian women, children and other reservation residents.
Port denies having used such terms, but added that his blog isn't censored: "I don't think it's fair for me to be held responsible for what other people are saying."
The tribal resolution also demands a retraction of the column published in The Dakota Beacon column in a letter that might be published throughout the state.
"It makes me a little sad that this is their reaction," Port said.
The resolution was not only for the Turtle Mountain people, but also for Port's "own safety," Henry said. "A lot of people were pretty upset with the article," he added.
"I don't think he'll retract it, and I suppose there will be more writing now," Henry said. "But (Port) won't be allowed back on."
Nadeau, a Herald staff writer who covers cops, courts and general assignments, is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.
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