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.