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As the director of the School of Social Work at the University on Maine, located on unceded land of the Wabanaki people, I am adding my voice to those who have already raised concern and outrage regarding the neo-Nazi training camp reportedly being developed in Springfield, by Christopher Pohlhaus, leader of the Blood Tribe; this camp is located just over 60 miles northeast of the Orono campus.

Pohlhaus has talked about his male Blood Tribe members joining him at his “beautiful racist family campout” and has boasted that he is  training people for violent war. On Aug. 12, he and others of his ilk gathered in Augusta, brandishing a banner that read “Keep New England White” and yelling racist slurs at passers-by.

The United States, Maine, and even the profession of social work, all have shameful histories of white supremacy, from land confiscation and terrorism of Indigenous communities to the enslavement and brutality toward Africans brought to the U.S. for greed and profits to ongoing discrimination of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). We have a long way to go in creating a more equitable, just, inclusive, and peaceful society. Training neo-Nazis for war to preserve white supremacy must not be tolerated. I am grateful to state Sen. Joe Baldacci for proposing a bill to ban military training grounds that intend to cause civil disorder. We cannot change our past, but we can create our future.

Sandy Butler