Northern Arapaho Business Council urges civility toward anti-Indian group

Editor’s note: This post is provided by Northern Arapaho Tribe Business Council 

(Wind River Reservation, Wyo.) — Northern Arapaho leaders today urged tribal members to show restraint while the anti-Indian group Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) rallies in Riverton this weekend, a news release from the tribe stated.

CERA advocates wholesale destruction of all Native American treaty rights. A Montana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights listed the group, along with the Ku Klux Klan, in a publication on white supremacist activity in Montana, the release said.

Despite these anti-Indian credentials, members of the Fremont County and Riverton governments will welcome CERA to Riverton City Hall for a meeting on Friday, and a conference at the Fremont County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, according to a CERA notice.

“We know this kind of bigotry feels deeply hurtful to Native Americans, but we ask our members to rise above and be civil to the CERA members and supporters,” said Northern Arapaho Business Council Co-Chairman Ronald K. Oldman.

Tribal members can most effectively combat CERA’s toxic message by treating CERA members with respect, tribal leaders said. Civility is especially important for those choosing to protest the events.

“A lot of people are starting from zero in terms of understanding our history and federal Indian policy,” Business Council Chairman Darrell O’Neal Sr., said. “Over the long run, we are going to have to work with local people and government officials, and they are going to need some second chances.”

Meanwhile, the NABC is actively coordinating with the Department of Justice, which is monitoring the CERA events.

There were no protesters at the first CERA event this morning in Riverton, and several Tribal members were noted in the audience taking notes at the session.

— Northern Arapaho Tribe Business Council