A gathering of Neo-Nazi bands in Canyon County this weekend came and went without any reported problems. Hammerfest is the annual gathering of the Hammerskin Nation, and this year the group chose to hold the festival near Boise.
Details of the event were closely watched by state and national human rights groups. Alabama’s Southern Poverty Law Center considers the Hammerskins to be one of the most violent and dominant white supremacist groups in the country.
The Idaho Human Rights Education Center works to educate Idahoans about diversity issues. Executive Director Dan Prinzing says that hate groups have been on the rise in Idaho, and that the choice to hold Hammerfest near Boise was not unexpected.
“Should we be surprised? No,” says Prinzing.
Prinzing says that Hammerfest gives his and other Idaho human rights groups pause. He says that their work is far from done.
“We have to take a concerted effort in really creating that climate and culture of human rights within the state,” Prinzing says. “We have to really take a close look; what are we doing to promote the respect for diversity and human dignify in the state of Idaho? Hate groups are not us; they do not define us as a state.”
The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office says the event took place near Melba on private property on Saturday.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio