Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

North Idaho and Spokane have been a historical hotbed for violent white supremacists

Pastors Neuman Britton and Richard Butler are silhouetted by a burning cross and swastika during the Cross Lighting Ceremony at Aryan Nations Congress 2000 held at Butler’s compound north of Hayden Lake, Idaho.  (Kristy MacDonald/The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

Racism has been a scourge in North Idaho since long before the University of Utah women’s basketball team visiting for the NCAA Tournament was harassed in downtown Coeur d’Alene over the weekend.

Since the notorious white supremacist Richard Butler moved to the area and established the Aryan Nations compound in the 1970s, the stain of bigotry has been hard for the city to fully erase.

Here’s a look at high-profile incidents of hate in the region:

March 2024 – The University of Utah’s women’s basketball team is harassed by racists in downtown Coeur d’Alene where they are staying for the NCAA Tournament.

June 2022 – A group of 31 Patriot Front members from across multiple states planned to instigate a riot at a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene City Park.

April 2020 – Vandals destroy a tree that was planted to honor Holocaust victim Anne Frank. The tree and a small plaque were located in G.O. Phippeny Park in Coeur d’Alene.

2017 – The Charlottesville Unite The Right protest turns deadly. David Reilly, who later become associated with the Idaho Freedom Foundation, promoted the event.

2011 – Kevin Harpham, who had ties with the white supremacist movement, leaves a bomb with shrapnel laced with rat poison along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March in downtown Spokane.

2000 – The Aryan Nations loses a lawsuit and is bankrupted. The property is auctioned off to satisfy a $6.3 million judgment and is torn down. Richard Butler dies in 2004.

1999 – Neo-Nazis associated with Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler march in a parade in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

1996 – Four members of the Phineas Priesthood, with ties to the Aryan Nations, bomb the Spokane Valley office of The Spokesman-Review and a Planned Parenthood clinic as part of a failed distraction for a planned bank robbery.

1996 – A bomb blast causes damage to Spokane City Hall. The blast was later linked to Chevie Kehoe. Kehoe may have also been visited by Timothy McVeigh in 1995 prior to the Oklahoma City bombing.

1992 – White supremacist Randy Weaver is involved in an 11-day standoff with the federal agents at Ruby Ridge in Idaho’s Boundary County.

1981 – In response to hate groups in North Idaho, the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations is formed.

1973 – Richard Butler moves to Hayden Lake in North Idaho. He establishes the Aryan Nations, which eventually draws more than 100 white supremacists to the region.

Compiled by Spokesman-Review reporter Thomas Clouse.