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Know the West

Montana's anti-Indian movement multiplies

  A report by the Montana Human Rights Network says groups dedicated to undermining Indian sovereignty and culture are on the rise. Formed in 1990, in response to white supremacist and other hate groups in Montana, the Human Rights Network calls the anti-Indian movement "racist to the core." Ken Toole, who wrote the 47-page report, Drumming Up Resentment: The Anti-Indian Movement in Montana, says the movement is the result of both racism and confusion about Indian history. "It's a bad situation that's getting worse," says Toole. "The understanding of treaty rights is abysmal." Toole says the movement in Montana is driven by non-Indians living on and near reservations who resent efforts to change voting districts to improve Indian representation and tribal control of hunting and fishing rights. Groups such as All Citizens Equal and the national Citizens Equal Rights Alliance have aligned with wise-use coalitions and other anti-environmental groups, he adds. Toole's report reminds readers that reservations are separate countries and says the anti-Indian movement is really about stripping away the authority of tribal governments.

To request a copy of the $7 report, contact the Montana Human Rights Network at 406/442-5506, P.O. Box 1222, Helena, MT 59624 or visit the Web site at www.mhrn.org.