In her current article at Whatcom Watch titled How Property Rights Can Become Property Wrongs, reporter Sandra Robson cites an article I wrote for Intercontinental Cry Magazine, as well as my memoir Blind Spots and a Public Good Project special report. One focus of Ms. Robson’s article is the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance/Tea Party/Property Rights axis campaign promoting anti-Indian resentment as part of its pro-Gateway Pacific Terminal propaganda.
This pattern — repeated in anti-Indian battles elsewhere (see Charles Tanner’s article on the Klamath River dispute) — while initially electoral in nature, inevitably leads to vigilantism. As noted by Robson, in Whatcom County, Washington, this pattern historically includes cooperation between white supremacist militias and property rights groups that in the 1990s led to federal indictments for explosives and firearms violations.
In the 16 April 2013 op-ed A History of Violence, Cascadia Weekly noted the onset of the anti-Indian hate campaign led by CERA, the Tea Party and property rights organizers, as well as the historical connection between property rights groups and Christian Patriot militias. On 5 May, I elaborated on this background in an IC Magazine article titled White Power on the Salish Sea: The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence, which I updated and expanded on 11 October 2013 under the title Wall Street v. Coast Salish: Cherry Point conflict enters electoral arena.
As I noted in the recent IC publication People Land Truth 2013 (see Anti-Indian Hate Campaign),
“Noticeably absent from Wise Use, CERA and Tea Party propaganda is the notion that treaty rights are indeed property rights. While they are collective rather than individual rights, the land, water, fish and environment that supports Northwest American Indian culture and society is very much their property. As the supreme law of the land, along with the U.S. Constitution, Indian treaties explicitly delineate tribal properties that cannot be damaged. When industrial and other development projects impair treaty-guaranteed tribal property, the federal government is obligated to intervene on their behalf.”
Fighting Indians thus involves fighting the federal government, and as we know from reading history, that hasn’t worked out so well for the property rights/militia milieu.