The Redoubt Makes National News
Echoes from the Aryan Nations
Richard Butler’s Aryan Nations compound north of Hayden Lake, Idaho, was bankrupted, destroyed, and the land donated to the North Idaho College Foundation in 2000-2001. Those of us living here at the time breathed a sigh of relief. It felt like a festering cancer had been excised. The Spokesman article published on September 7, 2010, describing civil rights groups and local government celebrating the ten year anniversary of the excision, ended on what now feels like a prescient note:
Paul Mullet, the self-described national director of the Aryan Nations, contacted the media two weeks ago when he heard about the planned ceremony. He said that although he has moved to Ohio due to a death in the family, the Aryan Nations will never leave North Idaho.
The margins of the excision of the Aryan Nations cancer were never clean. Remnants of the Neo-Nazi, Christian Identity, separatist ideology that Richard Butler fostered locally and nationally from the Hayden Lake compound for thirty years continue to spread, bubbling up in the extremist takeover of the Kootenai County Republican Party and, more recently, the Board of Trustees of North Idaho College (somewhat ironically), and in parts of the SpokaneGOP—think former State Representative Matt Shea, his “Biblical Basis for War” document, and his ongoing efforts to promote a theocratic “Liberty State.”
All of this is intimately intertwined with “The American Redoubt” (emphasis on the second syllable), a movement in our region of which many folks I seem unacquainted. Not every survivalist or “back-to-the-lander” in the inland northwest subscribes to Redoubt ideology, but many do.
All these strands are loosely tied together in a YouTube documentary with more than 1.5 million views entitled, “Inside the American Redoubt: Trump voters building a new state | Times Documentaries.” I strongly recommend you put it on your viewing list. You will recognize many people and places in the Inland Northwest, including Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Matt Shea, John Jakob Schmidt, parts of Coeur d’Alene, North Idaho College, and Hayden Lake. Less widely recognized, you will meet the editor of Redoubt News (a right wing, digital publication of the Redoubt movement); Chris Walsh of Revolutionary Realty in Coeur d’Alene; and one of the surviving trustees of the hostile takeover of the Board of Trustees of North Idaho College. Toward the end you’ll see Matt Shea and John Jakob Schmidt on stage at what I believe (but which is not identified in the video) is a “God and Country” gathering at the Marble Community compound near Northport in northern Stevens County, Washington, just a half an hour from where Cathy McMorris Rodgers grew up and got her start in Republican politics.
Once again, here is the link to the free video in YouTube:
For more links and musings see the P.S.s.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. We owe the downfall of Richard Butler in large part to the tireless efforts of a newspaper reporter who recently died, Bill Morlin. He covered events in Hayden Lake, the Ruby Ridge standoff, and other extremist events in the region for decades. Were it not for Morlin’s efforts the original Aryan Nations cancer might have grown to a point of being inoperable. Morlin’s efforts will be missed.
P.P.S. Leah Sotille, a terrific young reporter originally based in Spokane, in her podcast series, Bundyville and Bundyville the Remnant, fills in the background to the ideologies now bubbling up in the Redoubt and in a number of domestic terror incidents of the last decades, incidents that might otherwise seem unrelated. I highly recommend either listening to or reading both series accessible at the above links.