The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yeah, so a BIA employee violated somebody's rights. Do you have a point?

I was talking to a Lakota man yesterday about Marc Wisecarver's case. He was already familiar with the facts, had kept himself informed about the case. I was struck by his attitude which struck me as "so what?" That led me into a long conversation with him which led me to somewhat further understand how third-world the Pine Ridge Reservation is.

Even the horse-chasing episode (read the past few posts, below) didn't seem to strike him as particularly egregious in his world. "They do stuff like that to us all the time." "They" I took to mean first, the feds, and second, the colonized tribal members, especially tribal "officials," whom he views as marionettes for the feds.

In the off-rez world, a law enforcement officer or any other government employee would not consider driving onto a rancher's place, right by his house, and chase his horses with a pickup. It would be crazy to do so. You can get yourself killed that way.

My Lakota friend says the BIA and FBI trespass all the time, although he did give me that the horse-chasing was a little over the top, even for the rez.

Marc's lawyer is Gary Colbath, Jr., in the Federal Public Defender's office. He filed Marc's appeal on the second trial (Aug. 2010) on Feb. 28, 2011, twelve days ago. Four days ago, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals called him and asked if he could present oral arguments next Thursday, March 17, in St. Paul. That's unusually quick. "They never do that," Colbath told Marc's mother.

She sent me a link at which to listen to the oral arguments. I am not sure right now what time they will start. [UPDATE 3/12: The link will get you to a place where you can download the arguments after they're posted. I don't think it will allow you to listen live. I am looking for such a site.]

I'll also post the issues on which the appeal is based. Later, then.

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