From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fearing an Aryan invasion

In 1995, Chilliwack Mayor John Les was concerned about the idea of an ‘Aryan Fest’ coming to town.

Since first publishing on April 16, 1891 the Chilliwack Progress has been the newspaper of record in Chilliwack.

One hundred and 28 years later the Progress remains the longest continuously published newspaper in British Columbia. With the addition of a thriving digital operation anchored by theprogress.com, the Progress delivers more news to more people than ever before.

‘From the Progress Archives’ is a journey into the past, to see what was making news decades ago.

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Headline: Aryan invasion: Chilliwack could become ‘festival stop’ for racial segregationists from around the world.

Date: February 22, 1995

Reporter: Robert Freeman

Aryan Nations pastor Charles Scott says he’s planning on holding an ‘Aryan Fest’ this year in Chilliwack, which could draw white supremacists from around the world.

And Mayor John Les says there is probably little the district can do to stop him.

“It’s debatable what we could do,” said Les. “It depends on what form it takes.”

The ‘Aryan Fest’ is an annual event that has been held in the past in Hayden Lake, Idaho, drawing hundreds of supporters from the U.S., Canada and around the world, Scott said, although the Canadian version may be limited to Canadian members.

Cross lightings are usually held during the event, a ‘holy symbol’ which Scott described as a traditional call for warriors to unite before battle.

But he explained the cross lighting has been “misrepresented as something racist” due to the Ku Klux Klan’s use of burning crosses in the southern United States.

Meanwhile, Scott says his appearance on the Chicago-based Jerry Springer television talk show Monday seems to have made him less intimidating to Chilliwack residents.

“People got to know me instead of the racist persona they read about in the newspaper,” he said. “They see what I stand for, ultimately.”

But at least one caller to The Progress found the sight of Scott on the talk show disturbing because it “hit too close to home.”

During the taping last Wednesday, talk show host Springer and another Christian Identity church leader, August ‘Chip’ Kreis got into a scuffle that threatened to erupt into an on-air brawl as audience members jumped onto the stage.

Scott and his wife Leanne, who is expecting another child, came on during the second half of the show which contended that members of the Christian Identity church are raising their children to be racists in preparation for a war between the races.

Scott’s two-year-old daughter did not appear on the show, but Kreis’s two teenage daughters were on hand to defend their father’s beliefs.

Scott says his children will be allowed to choose their own beliefs, but he said he has never hated blacks, although he believes each race should keep itself “pure” from the others.

However, Scott admitted making hateful remarks about Jews on the show, calling Springer a “kike” during the taping and condemning the Jewish-born host to the fires of hell.

Also, a “threatening” letter reportedly received by Chilliwack council from the Pennsylvania-based Posse Comitatus after councillors passed an anti-racism resolution was actually sent to a local newspaper, Les said.

The letter was erroneously mentioned in two daily newspaper reports following Scott’s arrest Feb. 14 at CFB Chilliwack where he was distributing leaflets with two other men.

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