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Sanderson was commenting on an article in the March issue of Saskatchewan Anglican magazine that claimed the Ku Klux Klan was recruiting members in rural Saskatchewan. The Klan is an extreme, right wing organization based in the southern United States. It advocates white supremacy while preaching hate and violence against minority groups, and often seeks new members in areas where racial tensions are on the increase.
According to the article in Saskatchewan Anglican, Klan leaders recently interviewed in Toronto said that Klan cells or `Klaverns', as they are called, are active in Montreal, Vancouver, and rural Saskatchewan. David Duke, leader of the Ku Klux Klan, said that membership in Canada had increased tenfold in the past two years, but declined to give any membership figures.
This is the first indication of Klan activity in Saskatchewan for many years. There were about 125 Klan cells in the province during the early 1930's, according to a University of Saskatchewan study done in 1968. At that time the hate propaganda of the Klan was directed against French-Canadian settlers in the province and at east European immigrants who were arriving in Saskatchewan.
It now appears that Saskatchewan natives may be the targets of Klan activity and propaganda. An unidentified source told the reporter from the Saskatchewan Anglican that the Klan might be trying to recruit supporters among non-native groups who are opposed to Indian land claims. The source said that this might be happening in parts of Saskatchewan where native groups are making claims against land that forms part of community pastures. However, Al Gross, regional intergovernmental manager for Indian Affairs, said that the majority of land claims were being made against unoccupied Crown lands. He denied having heard of any Klan activity during discussions with non-native groups at the land claim hearings.
Although most of the discussion regarding the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in the province is purely speculative at this point, the native community should be on the alert for any indications of Klan activity.
Extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan have no place in the affairs of this province, and their presence will only create tension at a time when co-operation and understanding is needed between native and non-native groups.