Anti-Indian Conference

by April 10, 2013

The April 6, 2013 NW Round-Up Regional Educational Conference held at the Lakeway Inn in Bellingham, Washington was sponsored by the foremost Anti-Indian organization in the United States. Citizens Equal Rights Alliance is one of several Anti-Indian organizations operating in Washington State.

As the registration form for the conference states, the conference was for learning about how to fight American Indian fee to trust, casino gambling, water rights, land acquisitions and sovereignty. CERA vice chair Butch Cranford of Plymouth, California and CERA board member Elaine Willman from Hobart, Wisconsin were featured speakers at the Bellingham conference on Federal Indian Policy Issues.

Interviewed live from the April 6 CERA conference on Far-Right Christian Anti-Indian Radio KGMI, Willman characterized tribes as casino bullies who now want half the water, stating that the only way to stop them is to strengthen states’ rights and private property rights and get rid of Federal Indian Policy.

Philip Brendale, another speaker at the April 6 CERA conference in Bellingham, has considerable experience fighting tribal sovereignty, as evidenced by this U.S. Supreme Court case against Yakama Indian Nation. Brendale is noted in this article from the Klamath River Basin water dispute, as is Elaine Willman. Interviewed by Tea Party activist Kris Halterman on the same live radio podcast with Willman, Brendale said tribal fishing rights should be eliminated, along with other treaty rights.

On the March 30 episode of Halterman's program Saturday Morning Live, Willman stated that secret collusion between Washington State, the Federal Government and Indian tribes through government to government relations -- otherwise known as Tribal Centennial Accords -- is, "taking down Washington State." She closed by saying that the April 6 CERA conference would teach local officials and citizens how to take on tribal governments.

On a November 3, 2012 KGMI podcast about Native American tribes, Willman distorted American Indian treaty history beyond recognition, stating that their special, taxpayer-funded, race-based perks allow them to, "confiscate natural resources." Not satisfied with calling for the elimination of tribal sovereignty, Willman went on to state that, "Tribalism is socialism [and] has no place in our country!"

Brendale’s wife is a lobbyist and media expert with Eagle Forum, a Far-Right Christian organization. This phenomenon of Free Market, Far-Right Christian Indians used by white supremacists for cover in subverting tribal sovereignty is a sad but true aspect of American political insanity.

Using Indians who oppose tribal sovereignty as speakers is a key strategy of CERA, giving them cover from accusations of being white supremacist. As Brendale admits in this video where he was helping to fight the Nisqually Tribe, his mission is to, "take down federal Indian policy."

Reverend Tom Grey is an anti-gambling missionary. He might have been the Tom Grey who was listed as a speaker at the CERA conference in Bellingham.

Lana Marcussen, CERA legal counsel, asserts destroying tribal sovereignty is a civil rights struggle to free the Indians. As this article shows, she is a states’ rights, anti-sovereignty advocate. She has been active in fighting tribes in California.

The local organizers for the Anti-Indian conference were CERA board member and Minuteman Tom Williams of Lynden, Washington and Skip Richards, a Bellingham consultant with a twenty-year history of Anti-Indian organizing as both a property-rights advocate and a collaborator with Christian Patriot militias. His photo on his LinkedIn page is from a militia recruiting meeting he hosted at the Laurel Grange in October 1994.

On the March 30 episode of Wealth Wake Up with KGMI's Dick Donahue, Tom Williams said the facade of tribal sovereignty allows Indians citizenship privileges without paying taxes. Accentuating his ignorance about treaties, taxation and Indian law, Williams revealed his underlying bigotry, stating, "We should not support them; they should be citizens like the rest of us."

Skip Richards got his start as a merchant of fear in the early 1990s when he was a paid field agent provocateur of the Building Industry Association, which had teamed up with the Washington Association of Realtors to undermine Washington State's Growth Management Act. From 1992 to 1996, the industry funded and organized field agent provocateurs who went on a rampage inciting vigilantism against Native Americans and environmentalists in 14 counties, culminating in the arrest and conviction of eight individuals on federal firearms and explosives charges.

Sometimes the spear-carriers, those who believe the hoax and get excited enough to threaten opponents, are looking for a windfall economic opportunity. But the only ones who usually profit from these hate campaigns are the social movement entrepreneurs and their industry backers. What you'll often see in their aftermath is a rightward or criminal shift in public policy rules and regulations as a result of the consolidation or seizure of political power. In a July 1996 High Country News interview, Skip Richards stated the two things he needed to know in politics were, "who to threaten and who to bribe."

The other local Anti-Indian activist on the event billing was Marlene Dawson. In January 1995, as a Whatcom County Council member, Marlene — wife of a realtor on the Lummi Indian Reservation — urged U.S. Senator Slade Gorton to “drastically cut Lummi funding” on behalf of her and other white fee land owners. The Fee Land Owners Association (FLOA), in which Mrs. Dawson was active, had been at odds with the tribe over the sovereignty of Lummi Nation to manage water resources within its own jurisdiction. To the white developers, this interfered with their ability to make easy money at the expense of the tribe. Had Dawson succeeded in her vindictiveness, drastic cuts to Lummi funding could have imperiled such services as Head Start for their kids, as well as elder care programs.

Update: Readers might enjoy this op-ed in the April 16 Cascadia Weekly, as well as this April 26 special report at the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Anti-Indian Organizations in Washington State

Anti-Indian Roster by State


  • Tony Bowman, Holbrook--CERF
  • GB Saucerman, Phoenix--CERA
  • Dennis Williams, Fort Defiance--CERA


  • Butch Cranford, Plymouth—CERA
  • Rheba Hewitt, San Bernardino—ONU
  • Wally J Leimgruber, El Centro--ONU
  • Chip Worthington, Rohnert Park—ONU


  • Nicholas H Mullane, North Stonington--ONU


  • Frank Messersmith, Crawfordville--ONU


  • John Furbee, Harrison--ONU
  • Daniel M Johnson, Nez Perce--ONU


  • Rich Porter, Paxton--ONU


  • Carol Kelly, Plymouth—CERA
  • Kim Shea, Carver--CERA


  • Clare Fitz, Onamia--CERF
  • Howard B Hanson, Minneapolis—CERA


  • Chris Kortlander, Garyowen--CERA


  • Naomi Brummond, Roselie—CERA
  • Joel Lamplot, Pender--CERA

New Mexico

  • Charlotte Mitchell, Jemez Pueblo—CERA

New York

  • Judy Bachman, Vernon—CERA
  • Richard Tallcot, Union Springs—CERA
  • Jerry Titus, Little Valley—CERA
  • David Vickers, Erieville—ONU/UCE


  • Dick Platfoot, Wapakoneta--ONU


  • Larry Boggs—ONU
  • Mike Cantrell--ONU
  • Marla R Peek, Oklahoma City--ONU
  • LeeAnn Ragains, Kingfisher—CERA
  • Mickey Thompson--ONU


  • David Jacques, Winston--ONU

South Dakota

  • Jim Petik, Keldron—CERA
  • Darrell Smith, Mobridge--CERF


  • Jackie Allen, Toppenish—CERA
  • Elizabeth A Campbell, Seattle—ONU
  • Janet Devlin—CSE
  • Trent England--EFF
  • John Fleming--GOP
  • George Garland, Gig Harbor—ONU
  • Paul Guppy—WPC
  • Steve Hammond--CAPR
  • James Johnston, Oak Harbor--ONU
  • Kim Halvorson, Marysville—ONU
  • Tom and Carol Lewis--ONU
  • Barbara Lindsay, Tacoma—ONU
  • Fairalee Marcusen--ONU
  • Linda Matson—ONU/PEP
  • William Maurer--IJ
  • Tom and Patty Mitchell, Marysville--ONU
  • Alan Montgomery, Seattle—ONU
  • Glen Morgan—EFF
  • Doug Olson--ONU
  • Kent Pullen--ONU
  • Cynthia Rasmussen, Port Ludlow--ONU
  • Marilyn Sherry, Normandy Park—ONU
  • Dennis Swanson—CSE
  • Brent Warwick—CSE
  • Dan Wood—WFB
  • Bob Williams--EFF
  • Tom Williams, Lynden—CERA
  • Lyle Zeller--CSE


  • Curt Knoke, Gresham—CERA/CERF
  • Marianne D Pender, Keshena--ONU
  • Scott Seaborne, Neenah—CERA
  • Nancy Smeleer, Menominee--ONU
  • Elaine Willman, Hobart—CERA

  • CAPR Citizens Alliance for Property Rights
  • CERA Citizens Equal Rights Alliance
  • CERF Citizens Equal Rights Foundation
  • CSE Citizens for Safety and Environment
  • EFF Evergreen Freedom Foundation
  • GOP Republican Party
  • IJ Institute for Justice
  • ONU One Nation United
  • PEP Private Enterprise Project
  • UCE Upstate Citizens for Equality
  • WFB Washington Farm Bureau
  • WPC Washington Policy Center

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  • William Gollnick
    April 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

    This is nothing new. Developers have always wanted Indian lands. Bigots have always tried to tear down anything that didn't benefit them personally. These people have been the same for hundreds of years. A professor at UW Milwaukee called today's initiatives as "velvetized racism." They don't all come in with guns blazing or offering blankets with plague as they used it's a mantra of equality. They define equality as stripping Indian nations of rights guaranteed by treaty. Then they can have what they want legally.


  • April 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you for your comment, William. You are correct that Anti-Indian revivals are not a new phenomenon, but there is unfortunately nothing velvet about them. They are designed to mobilize resentment into political action, including vigilantism.

    If you read through the Public Good Project special report links, you will see that the last time the politics of land and bigotry converged in the region where this conference took place, the spear-carriers for the developers got so carried away that the U.S. Department of Justice had to step in, eventually convicting several individuals on explosives and firearms charges. While we were happy that no one died as a result of the political climate created by Mr. Richards, et al in the 1990s, there were numerous assaults, armed stand-offs, cross-burnings and death threats against Indians, human rights activists and public officials.

    As such, we are not content to wait until after civil society is again torn asunder, but, rather, choose to intervene early on. While I am sure you don't mean to be cavalier about organized political violence, many communities are--until it is too late.


    • May 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Good afternoon, Mr. Taber. I must admit that part of my astonishment upon reading about this is my complete ignorance that there is a concerted effort to take the rest of the meager leavings from the indian tribes. I live in S. Arizona, but as a white retiree surrounded by fellow white retirees, I haven't heard of this type of organized, aggressive, tactics against tribal rights and treaties, and what little I do hear is usually pro-indian. I do know a bit of the struggles in Canada with the indigenous peoples and the government agents who rail against them, but I'm, well I'm appalled, of course, to hear that these far-right "nativists" would stoop to such base and despicable actions against people already facing hardship and societal upheaval.

      I will certainly bookmark this site and try and learn more on what I can do to help spread the word. I refuse to sit by and allow these groups to steal from the indian tribes without at least voicing my opposition to such shameful acts.

  • April 14, 2013 at 10:06 am

    If you listen to the two KGMI Radio broadcast links in the article, hosted by Tea Party activist Kris Halterman, you will understand how Far-Right media plays an essential role in mobilizing hate campaigns. Unlike authentic news reporters, Halterman -- who has her own program on KGMI -- is actually egging on the Anti-Indian interviewees. In fact, she can hardly hold herself back, she is so enthusiastic about promoting bigotry.

    Far-Right Christians are sick people. When they engage in politics, they are dangerous.

    If you read the linked article on the Klamath River Basin dispute, you will see that these same people are active elsewhere, fighting tribes like the Yurok and Hoopa of Northern California, who are trying to save their salmon from extinction. There, as in Washington, the Tea Party, CERA and Far-Right Christians comprise a lethal team.


  • Vernita Herdman
    April 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    You don't have Alaska on your list, but as a tribal advocate for 25 years, I can say for sure there are anti-tribal sovereignty organizations up there. The Alaska Outdoor Council and Alaska Territorial Sportsmen are only two that we have battled with over tribal hunting and fishing rights.


  • April 18, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Thank you, Vernita. As you indicate, there are many anti-tribal organizations at the state and local level throughout the US. Since this conference took place in Washington, that was my focus, but I wanted to illustrate how state and local groups make use of national organizations like CERA, and together conduct national offensives through coordinated hate campaigns. The lists, by the way, were composed from the websites, incorporation papers and IRS-990 forms of the national organizations. Guidestar is a good place to begin when checking out IRS registered non-profits in the US. State incorporation records as well. Canada Revenue for our friends across the border.


  • May 11, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Thank you for your comment, trog69.

    You might have seen my update on the story, including a link to a special report by Charles Tanner, titled Take these Tribes Down. Tanner's report on the entrepreneurial wing of the anti-Indian movement helps to round out the picture.

    In my update, I attempt to illuminate the conflict by showing that the opportunists are bipartisan and otherwise diverse, thus lending support to my view that anti-Indian racism in the US is systematically entrenched. While the Tea Party racists are especially repugnant due to their willful ignorance, the Wall Street/AFL-CIO alliance against the tribes is no less reprehensible.

    Whether in it for political power like the Tea Party, or for the money like the Wall Street/AFL-CIO alliance, the willingness to incite, use or abet violence to take treaty-guaranteed Indian properties whenever they get in the way is oddly rarely questioned in mainstream media.

    FYI, other than the Cascadia Weekly, no other media in the Seattle area has even deemed this newsworthy.


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