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.
Some news articles about Skip Richards’ collaboration with Christian Patriot militia:
Books that contain information about Skip Richards and militias:
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