This IREHR Special Report takes you inside the April 6 meeting hosted in Bellingham, Washington by the anti-Indian groups Citizens Equal Rights Alliance and Citizens Equal Rights Foundation. The report sheds light on these groups’ anti-Indian ideas and goals, their legal strategy and their plans to re-invigorate anti-Indian activism in Washington State and around the country.
“Take these tribes down”
The Anti-Indian Movement Comes to Washington State
By Chuck Tanner
April 6, 2013. As blue sky peeked through the clouds of an overcast Northwest morning, a group of mostly indigenous people gathered near the Lakeway Inn Best Western in Bellingham, Washington. Drumming and singing pulsed as those present held signs reading, “Honor the Treaties” and “We are All the People.” Event organizers, Idle No More Bellingham, had called community members together to protest two organizations “who are holding a conference to discuss opposition to the existence of tribes as separate and sovereign entities.”
Inside a Lakeway Inn conference room, about fifty people were gathered to hear a lineup of speakers assail the very ideas of tribal sovereignty and treaty rights – of tribal nationhood. The anti-Indian movement had come to town. The concerns of Idle No More Bellingham were entirely justified.
The Bellingham conference was sponsored by the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) and Citizens Equal Rights Foundation (CERF), one of a series of events being hosted around the country by these closely-linked national anti-Indian groups. CERA/CERF held previous meetings in New York and Massachusetts; others are slated for late April in the Midwest and June in Northern California. CERA/CERF organized these forums after canceling their regular annual Washington D.C. conference.
IREHR is pleased to re-publish this Background Report and this Bulletin by Borderlands Research and Education in Silverdale, Washington.
Long-standing and very contemporary attacks on Indian tribal sovereignty should be repudiated by all those who reside in the United States. Understanding the origin of these modern-day attacks is essential information. We thank Borderlands for their work.
To more fully understand these reports, please also see Keeping our Word: Indigenous Sovereignty and Treaty Rights.If not embedded below, you can download the report here, and the Bulletin here.
Assailants called Glacier County Commissioner "Dirty Indian" as they kicked him.
The trial of three Montana men who hurled racial slurs as they assaulted a Blackfeet man will begin February 3 in Libby, Montana. The attack occurred in September 2008 as Ron Rides at the Door, a member of the Blackfeet Nation and a Glacier County Commissioner, attempted to break up a fight outside a Great Falls bar.
A Eureka, California man received a light sentenced in late October for illegally removing artifacts from a cultural site of the Yurok tribe. After pleading guilty in September to illegally excavating a Native cultural site, James Edward Truhls, 30, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 60 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $350 fine for illegally removing artifacts from a cultural site of the Yurok tribe. Truhls could have received up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. A judge had previously dropped a grave-looting charge which potentially carried a stronger sentence.
In mid-August an Alaska Native man was assaulted by a young white couple who threw eggs at him and kicked him while using racial slurs.
A regular feature in IREHR's Treaty Rights and Sovereignty issue area of the website will be to report on incidents of violence, harassment and discrimination directed at indigenous peoples. While many bias crimes against native peoples are similar to those against other people of color, motivated as they are by the bigotry of their perpetrators, they are reported separately here because of potentially distinct aspects of bias crimes against Indian people.