Tony LoneFight

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Date: 1992

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism


Artist: Tony LoneFight

Confronting Bodies: Tribal Council of the Fort Berthold, N.D. reservation

Dates of Action: 1992

Location: Fort Berthold reservation, North Dakota

Description of Artwork: An incident during a tribal council meeting "on a sensitive subject."

The Incident: Despite the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, which guarantees a right to a free press, there is at times tension between tribal officials and advocates of a free press. Such was the case with Tony LoneFight, the former editor of the tribal newspaper on the Fort Berthold reservation. "LoneFight, now a general assignment and Indian Affairs reporter for the mainstream "Grand Forks(N.D.) Herald, said he was covering a tribal council meeting on a sensitive issue when the chairman ordered him out. When LoneFight refused to leave, the official called the tribal police to remove him. "The cops came in, took one look at me and they said they had to go out and make a phone call. When they returned, they told the chairman I was protected under the First Amendment." However, neither the police nor the Constitution were able to prevent LoneFight's firing, which took place shortly after the meeting. "I could not get a hearing from the tribal chairman because he never scheduled one," LoneFight recalled."

Results of Incident: LoneFight began working at another paper.

Source: M.L. Stein, Indian Newspaper's Tribal Censorship," Editor and Publisher, May 16, 1992, pg. 14, 47