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Inland Empire: Extremism, Liberty, & The Law

Destination Overview


While residents of the Inland Northwest share great appreciation for a stunning natural environment, attitudes towards government and on issues of inclusion vary widely. Startling news from this sparsely populated region has drawn national coverage in recent decades.

From the threat of neo-Nazi violence in Whitefish, Montana, to infamous events at Ruby Ridge, fringe ideologies have both taken root here and met staunch opposition. Local communities offer insight into the social and political conditions within which extremism thrives, and strategies for mounting a collective response.


Tour Summary

  • Land in Missoula and meet students at the University of Montana for an introduction to the local landscape.
  • Attend a workshop with a campus organization that promotes the inclusion of minority communities and discuss their unique approach to diversity in a more remote region of the country.
  • Continue to the vacation town of Whitefish, dip into Glacier National Park and enjoy a day of recreation on a nearby lake and resort.
  • Meet with a representative of the local Jewish community to recount the frightening episode of harassment and a planned neo-Nazi march through the center of town just a few years ago.
  • Learn about the community’s response and continued vigilance.
  • Continue to the Idaho Panhandle along a section of the scenic Selkirk Loop and arrive at the area made famous during the 11-day stand-off at Ruby Ridge. Hear disparate reflections on this incident and interpretations of its legacy.
  • Later, learn about the legal campaign that eventually blocked Richard Butler’s efforts to pursue a “white homeland” in a nearby county. In light of the events, find out how schools teach local history and heritage.
  • Also meet representatives of one of the area’s largest Native American reservations for a different take on cultural preservation.
  • Conclude in Spokane, WA, where you’ll hear from government officials who espouse opposing visions for the future of this region. 

 

Relevant themes include law, criminology, political science, sociology, history, parks and recreation management, social work, education, management, leadership studies.

 

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