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Monday, December 5, 2011

Montana’s Flathead Valley Sees Influx Of Extremist Groups

Jill Summers, right, and her daughter, leave a flier that says "No hate here" in 2006 on a neighbor's door, in Kalispell, Mont. The arrival of a white nationalist family of April Gaede has prompted neighbors to distribute the fliers. (AP)

Flathead County, Montana, on the western edge of Glacier National Park, is one of the most rugged and breathtaking places in the country.

It attracts thousands of visitors every year, and is now also drawing ultra right-wing extremist settlers.

Those who have come include April Gaede, of the white supremacist group Pioneer Little Europe and Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, who say the region’s strong libertarian streak and weak state gun control laws make it the perfect place for like-minded people to join them and establish a whites -only, anti-government enclave.

David Holthouse, a journalist at Media Matters, told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that the extremist groups have put a call out for others to come join them in Montana.

“If you move to the Flathead Valley region, you’re gonna have a place to stay. They’re gonna get you a job, and they’re also gonna reinforce your beliefs,” he said.  “They’re gonna give you a sense of community that you may have been lacking in your life otherwise.”

Who Is Extremist April Gaede?

Holthouse says that Gaede plays “white supremacist” tour guide in Montana. She takes visitors to parks and shows them the ashes of a famed white supremacist. Gaede told ABC’s Primetime that she moved to Montana because her previous community in California was “not white enough.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Gaede “grew up on a ranch near Fresno, Calif., where her father branded the family’s horse and cattle with swastikas.” Gaede is now well known for her twin daughters, who perform folk music at white supremacist festivals.

Chuck Baldwin And The Constitution Party

The former chairman of the Florida Moral Majority, Baldwin is a Christian fundamentalist who left the Republican party in 2000 after saying the Bush-Cheney ticket was too liberal. He aligned himself with the anti-government, anti-gay Constitution Party.

Guest:

  • David Holthouse, a journalist who specializes in reporting on right-wing extremist movements for the online watchdog group Media Matters

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