Claims are often made that tribal newspapers are just mouthpieces of tribal governments and are not free to really discuss controversial issues or air both sides of some issues. The Indian Civil Rights Act, 25 U.S.C. sec. 1302(1) prevents any tribal government from “abriding the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . .”
Tribes are not required of course to create or pay for tribal newspaper to avoid restricting the “press.”
But, in light of recent tumultuous political issues on the Hopi Nation Reservation, it looks suspicious that the Hopi Tribal Council approved a $21.8 million budget for 2010 that deleted funding for the Tutuveni, the tribe’s only newspaper.
Apparently, fiscal problems are the reason for defunding the newspaper because the Tribal Council also decided there will be no cost-of-living increases or salary increases for tribal employees according to a news release from the Hopi Tribe.