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Klan leaflets infuriate Havre

 

August 18, 2014

Toni The Boy walked on to her front lawn on Havre's east side Saturday to find what she thought was a piece of trash - a plastic ziplock bag with a paper inside. She threw it out.

Then she found a second and third plastic baggie with a paper and a small stone so it wouldn't blow away. She opened it up and was horrified at what she saw.

The paper had a large insignia of The United Klans of America.

"Neighborhood Watch. You can sleep well tonight knowing the UKA is awake," it read.

The fliers were apparently delivered Friday night or Saturday morning under cover of darkness.

The leaflet included a phone number to call and a website address that offered more information.

The leaflets had been distributed through The Boy's neighborhood where many Native Americans live but were also distributed to other areas in the city. People in Highland Park, areas near Highland Cemetery and in parts of the historic district received the leaflets.

"I grew up in Havre," The Boy said. "I have never seen anything like this. We sometimes had racial problems, but nothing like this."

Social media throughout the Hi-Line Saturday and Sunday lit up with people expressing outrage over the leaflets.

Calls, texts and messages to the Havre Daily News flooded in from people concerned about the leaflets.

"When I first saw it, I thought it was about a legitimate Neighborhood Watch," said one caller. "We have had some problems around here, and I thought a Neighborhood Watch might help."

Then she discovered it was from the Klan.

"It's scary," she said.

The Ku Klux Klan was formed in the South after the Civil War to intimidate freed slaves from voting and taking part in the political process. Its influence has has gone through peaks and valleys since then.

Often it used violence to fight African-Americans, Catholics, Native Americans, Jews and gays. Wearing white robes and hoods, the Klan used lynchings, arson and whippings to enforce its beliefs on others. In recent years, it has broken down into disarray, with splinter groups forming all over the country.

The phone number on the leaflet was in the Huntsville, Alabama, area code.

The website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based organization that has been tracking hate groups since 1971, said the only Klan organization it has tracked down in Montana is in Great Falls.

A message left at the number provided on the Klan leaflet was not returned by deadline this morning.

John Abarr, the head of the Montana UKA, admitted his group was organizing in Havre, but added: "I'm not at liberty to talk about it."

"We are growing by leaps and bounds around Montana," he said. "That is largely because of Obama."

He said he advises people not to reveal their Klan membership.

He said his campaign for Congress in 2012 ended "because of bias against the Klan."

He said his organization is not racist.

"It's not racist to be proud to be white," he said.

He said his goal is to create a white republic in what is now the northwestern United States.

Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington should leave the union and form its own republic, Abarr said.

Even though only whites would be allowed to vote or hold office in this new republic, Natives would be allowed to stay.

"The Indians were here before us," he said.

But he predicted that the predicament of Natives will be repeated.

"Once whites are in the minority, we may be on reservations," he said.

In addition to the UKA in Great Falls, Montana is also home to White Nationalist groups in Whitefish and Kalispell and a neo-Nazi group in Billings, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Ward 1 City Councilmember Bonnie Parenteau said she hopes the the people of Havre rise above the situation.

"What do you do other than say I don't appreciate it?" Parenteau said.

Parenteau said she is not naive enough to think it will disappear if ignored, but thinks giving them time strengthens them.

"We're all used to some of that but at what point do you respond?" she said. "I just really don't want to see anything like that here."

 

Reader Comments

(3)

Native writes:

I don't see why this suprises or shocks the residents of Havre. One of the most racially divided towns around. Anyone who disagrees look at some of the social medi posts that come from some of thee residents...

NatTurner writes:

The Klan, just as some of the left over supporters of apartheid, will only be happy when they see Black and White people killing each other off. We should all be aware of them and their divisive tactics, they are now advertising that they are going to Ferguson to defend White folks, this beside the fact that it is the African American community under attack from racist militarized police. The KKK now also say they are raising funds for the policeman who shot 18 year old Michael Brown.

OneThought writes:

For anyone reading this, there is a wide array of informative books about this issue including the biological reality that we are not different races, but the same people, Homo sapiens. There are not white, black, yellow, purple, green, or polka-dot races of people. People of the same families may often share similar characteristics through genetics & heredity- eye color, head shape, foot size, however all people have eyes, heads and feet. Recommended reading: Race and Reality by Guy P. Harrison

 
 
 
 
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