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CONSTRUCTION OF A SITUATION

Wrong Kind of Green

January 31, 2016

By Jay Taber

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Darkfeather, Bibiana and Eckos Ancheta, Tulalip Tribes. Photographer Matika Wilbur

 

In April 2013, when I received an email from the editor of the Cascadia Weekly requesting background on CERA (“The Ku Klux Klan of Indian Country”) — which had just held an Anti-Indian conference in his city — I sent him a Letter to the Editor (LTE), which he published. My letter connected the organized racism to propaganda by coal terminal developers. Responding to my LTE, the PR guy for fossil fuel export developers next to the local Indian reservation phoned the editor, expressing his displeasure at his publishing my opinion.

Shortly after, the editor published a column titled A History of Violence, based on my exclusive feature story at IC Magazine a week earlier. Ten days later, the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights in Seattle published a special report titled Take These Tribes Down, which cited two reports on the Public Good Project website.

Reading my LTE, a local researcher, Sandy Robson, contacted me, requesting historical background on the Anti-Indian Movement in the Pacific Northwest. By October 2013, she was ready to go, launching her first expose in Whatcom Watch–a local free community newsletter. In January 2014, Sandy published her detailed account of money-laundering by the export consortium into the hands of CERA-supporting, Tea Party-led PACs.

In February 2014, the PR guy threatened Whatcom Watch with a SLAPP suit, which led to online discussions on local blogs and Facebook about Sandy’s article, and eventually to organizing in local churches, in particular the Unitarians. At this point, a local Unitarian social justice committee contacted me, asking for reading materials they could use in adult education and community forums. In March 2014, Indian Country Today published a feature story on CERA, in which the reporter quoted me three times. (Her story was based on mine.)

The PR guy’s response to all this was to get the local corporate-friendly news monopoly to publish an article claiming the SLAPP suit issue had been amicably resolved, and that the racism charge was overstated by Robson and me, whom she quoted in her article. This article, in turn, propelled the incident into the Greater Seattle Earth Ministry milieu (progressive churches), which began hosting speakers from the targeted Indian tribes, culminating in a national conference of Unitarians in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2015.

Video: American Indian Movement:

“This video is intended to raise awareness about the American Indian Movement. Often times educators are prepared and expected to educate students about the Civil Rights Movement. But, the American Indian Movement is often left out of the history curriculum. ”

 

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

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