GILLETTE — Stickers and posters from a recently rebranded white nationalist group were found plastered around the Gillette College campus recently and were immediately removed by campus law enforcement.
The group, American Identity Movement, posted photos of stickers and posters to its Twitter account April 10 showing posters at Gillette College that read “Diversity Destroys Nations” and “Protect American Workers.”
The group also put up posters and other signs at other schools in the region, like Black Hills State University and Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Chad Trebby, a police lieutenant with Gillette College and the main campus PD official, was notified by the FBI last week that the material was posted around campus.
Trebby said the FBI monitors groups like American Identity Movement on how they try to spread their message.
Trebby and his staff were able to remove all of the posters and stickers on the same day the FBI called.
Trebby doesn’t believe a Gillette resident or Gillette College student posted the stickers or posters. From what the FBI told him and from other news reports, groups like AIM will roll through towns and place posters and other signs in public.
Tanya Krummreich with Gillette Against Hate said she knows that American Identity Movement has tried to recruit in Cheyenne and Laramie, but this was the first time she has seen anything from the group in Gillette.
“We’ll keep our eyes open if anything else shows up,” Krummreich said. “Obviously, they are not welcome in Gillette.”
Gillette College student Audrey Dunn, 19, said she saw the posters and that she was “creeped out” by them.
“I was definitely surprised to see them,” Dunn said. “It’s scary to think that there are people out there who think that’s appropriate behavior.”
American Identity Movement has ties to the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that was organized by white supremacists and made national news after a woman, Heather Heyer, was killed in a vehicle ramming incident.
The man who was driving the car was later convicted of first-degree murder.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, American Identity Movement was rebranded from Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group that is facing a lawsuit related to its role in the deadly Charlottesville rally.
Dustin Curl, 20, is also a student at Gillette College. He said he didn’t see any of the posters or stickers but was surprised to hear the group’s message had spread to Gillette.
If the group were to gain traction locally, he doesn’t think it would stick around for very long.
“I think that if they did get together, there would be enough people against it here that would shut it down,” Curl said. “Especially for people in our age group. We’re a lot more open to diversity these days because that’s just how life is.”
Dunn said there isn’t a lot to do to prevent this type of propaganda but that it’s important students and people in the community be aware that hateful messages are out there.
“We can be prepared if anything drastic were to happen,” she said. “It’s really alarming that those showed up here.”