According to several news sources, a notoriously abhorrent hate group from Kansas has announced plans to picket the Alaska Native Heritage Center on June 1. The Westboro Baptist Church’s news release contained extremely distasteful, anti-Native vitriol.
Tara Sweeney, Co-Chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), Alaska’s largest statewide Native organization, said, “It is time for Alaskans to rise as one with the Alaska Native community to stand against outside groups working to divide Alaskans.”
“The Alaska Federation of Natives condemns speech that aims to incite hatred on national, religious or racial grounds,” said AFN President Julie Kitka. “We need more facts on why the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas is coming to Alaska. Who is funding this trip to Alaska and why now?”
The Southern Law Poverty Center, renowned for its hate group tracking, said on its website that the Westboro Baptist Church is “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America. The group is basically a family-based cult of personality built around its patriarch, Fred Phelps.”
AFN urges Alaskans to understand that this group raises its money by provoking people and then filing lawsuits. AFN urges its members to avoid engaging or aggravating the group’s followers.
The AFN Board will discuss further action at its regularly scheduled board meeting on May 7.