Rise of the KKK in Saskatchewan

KKK revived, with strong Regina ties

Roughly 70 years ago, the Ku Klux Klan was one of the largest organizations in the province, with only the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool accounting for more members.



Roughly 70 years ago, the Ku Klux Klan was one of the largest organizations in the province, with only the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool accounting for more members.

Now, the controversial group aimed at asserting white pride claims to be once again growing in Saskatchewan.

Regina resident Christian Waters is a high-ranking officer with the Canadian branch of the Brotherhood of Klans (BOK), considered to be the largest Klan group in North America. Waters’ membership with the group was confirmed in an e-mail and phone call by Jeremy Parker, imperial wizard of the Ohio-based BOK.

Waters, who writes under an alias on the group’s Web site, claims that over the past two years, the BOK’s membership in Saskatchewan has gone from one (himself) to roughly 250 members, and around 3,500 Canada-wide. Of the Saskatchewan members, he said that while there is a strong base in Regina, many live in rural areas.

“It is actually growing faster than I would have ever predicted it to, which in some ways is alarming to me because it shows there is a lot of people who are getting real tired of what is going on in Canada,” he says in a face-to-face interview.

“As years have shown, the Klan has always surfaced in times of trouble, in times of people being very unhappy with their government, with what is going on around them.”

Waters became a member of the group six years ago, after spending time chatting with other BOK members online. The group’s concerns surround what its members deem as the “open door” immigration policy, which results in too many immigrants — legal and illegal — entering Canada and making it a “haven for terrorism,” says Waters.

What the group sees as unfair advantages provided to First Nations people, such as what Waters calls “free” education, government grants and employment and education positions reserved solely for minorities, also raises the ire of members. The group wants a level playing field, which Waters believes doesn’t exist.

“Through the multiculturalism of Canada, it seems the white race has been unfortunately the one race that has been shuffled underneath the carpet,” he explains.

“I ask, where is our white pride days?”

Waters claims he doesn’t have a problem with anyone who represents their race and culture with pride, but he says he does not always see that in the neighbourhood he lives in — the Core area.

“Unfortunately it is the majority of one race that is making up the major majority of the problems with drug abuse and the penitentiary occupation in Saskatchewan. They say we’re not doing enough for them, we’re not giving them enough, we’re not this and that. Myself, as a middle-aged white Christian man, I look at it and think, ‘We’ve given them quite enough,’” he says.

Myke Agecoutay, tribal vice-chair of the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, says anyone who believes First Nations people receive any sort of special treatment is obviously not familiar with the social issues facing aboriginal people.

“We know our people live in Third World conditions. We know that our children have no food at home, our children don’t make it to school, our parents don’t have the proper life skills to raise their children. We know that reality is out there,” he said.

Agecoutay admits to being alarmed at the apparent increase in KKK membership and that First Nations people are considered a concerning issue for the group.

“The traditional image of a KKK member is not that of a peaceful front. It has a history of being violent and full of hatred, so that is always going to stick in the minds of anybody who hears the word ‘KKK’ — that this is a group filled with hatred and racial tendencies throughout everything they do,” Agecoutay says.

Waters insists the BOK is a Christian-based organization that is not hate-based and does not tolerate violent or criminal acts. The BOK is not associated with skinhead or neo-Nazi groups, Waters says, adding that it is a “disgrace” to fly a Nazi flag.

“I take offence if someone calls me a racist because it is not racist to be in love with my race,” he says.

But Waters acknowledges the KKK has a violent past around the time of the civil rights movement, a period he believes falls far away from the group’s intentions when it was created in Tennessee in 1865 during the first era of the Klan.

“During the 1960s and the civil rights movement when unfortunately there was the lynchings of blacks and things like that, there was all sorts of groups popping up all over that would use the Klan’s name but weren’t necessarily functioning as the Klan … There were a few bad apples that has cost us over 40-some years of misconceptions in the world,” says Waters.

Ron Bourgeault, a sociologist at the University of Regina, says he is not surprised to hear of a rising interest in the KKK in Saskatchewan.

“In fact, I’m wondering why it hasn’t been sooner,” he says.

Bourgeault suggests members of the group may be right-wing political supporters who have become disenchanted with the Conservative party, especially in rural areas.

“They see (the Conservatives) as gone too establishment, they no longer reflect their interests about Indians and immigrants and things like that. They would drift away and are probably being attracted to (Waters),” he says.

The KKK is known as the “invisible empire” because of the secrecy surrounding its members. Waters explains group members do have occasional private gatherings, but most of their interaction is through the Internet.

Waters says the group is considering holding a public rally, possibly as soon as this fall. If the rally was to be held, the imperial officers who would speak at the gathering would be cloaked in the white ceremonial robes and hoods, he says.

RCMP spokeswoman Heather Russell says no inquiries or complaints have been received about the group and nothing on BOK Canada’s Web site is considered illegal. If its members were to hold a public rally, it is expected the RCMP would monitor the event.

Bourgeault calls Waters “adventuristic,” adding that such an overt gathering may only result in further alienating people, not picking up support.

“He’s basically waving the flag and people will reject that. He’s not going to win a lot of converts; he may pick up a few disenchanted people who aren’t sophisticated,” Bourgeault explains.

“But people who … may complain and gripe and be politically incorrect about Indian people … will just turn around and say, ‘These guys are too extreme.’ They don’t reflect what is going on in a lot of peoples’ minds.”

The Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism’s Bob Hughes says views similar to those held by Waters have long been obvious in other people’s attitudes, but may be growing in light of the increasing focus on immigrants and First Nations people.

“It’s interesting that people have to hide around. Come on out if you’re proud of what you believe in. Speak out. Have a public meeting,” Hughes says.

In the U.S., the BOK promotes local political involvement for its members, which the Canadian branch may follow. Waters says the group plans to lobby government in the future regarding certain legislative changes, which may include tightening of immigration policies and stricter punishments for gun crimes and sexual offenders.

“We are going to prove to Canada and the Canadian people that we are going to achieve our agenda, but it is going to be through peaceful, law-abiding ways,” he says.

© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

1 Comment

Filed under Anti-Native Activism, Racism, White Supremacists

One response to “Rise of the KKK in Saskatchewan

  1. Bhupinder Singh Gill

    This message is to the KKK. The Jatts of Punjab are to stay where they please on this Earth. So I suggest you get used to it.

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