As noted in Communications in Conflict, research–where social milieus investigate threats by obtaining primary documents that reveal the financial and organizational ties of their enemies–is the foundation of effective education, organizing and community action. As illustrated in the special report Netwar at Cherry Point, primary documents in the fossil fuel export war between Wall Street and Coast Salish Nation include audio and video tapes, political action committee and non-profit incorporation records, and political campaign contributions. The close working relationship between fossil fuel exporters, the Tea Party, the Republican Party, and violent white supremacist organizations—documented by independent, volunteer, citizen journalists—is a phenomenon that should seriously concern tribal leaders and moral authorities.
Monitoring the activities of corporations, organizations, and media mobilizing resentment against tribal sovereignty is essential in protecting the protectors, who would otherwise be vulnerable to these threats from the anti-Indian movement. Collating reports from investigative research networks—which can include college students under supervision of mentors—allows organizations like the Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) to keep leaders of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians informed with timely and accurate updates on developments that impact their ability to defend tribal sovereignty and the exercise of tribal jurisdiction under federal and international law. These periodic reports, in turn, allow tribal leaders to take proactive measures to protect their members, as well as communicate more effectively.
In developing an estimate of the situation facing Coast Salish Nation, the proposed 2017 opposition research conference is in keeping with the goals set forth by CWIS at the 1996 Politics of Land & Bigotry conference. With the impending escalation of the carbon corridor conflict on the shores of the Salish Sea over exporting Tar Sands bitumen and Bakken Shale crude from Port Metro Vancouver in British Columbia and Cherry Point in Washington State, it behooves indigenous leaders to implement monitoring and exposure of organized anti-Indian activities that mainstream media completely ignores or intentionally covers up. As stated in the 1996 call to conference, “The portentous movements in America intent on promoting interracial discord, extremist claims on lands and natural resources, and a growing politics of fear” require “forging a coalition actively committed to achieving a new public consensus.”