Aryan Nations

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

As part of its inaugural Human Rights Week, the new Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Initiative will teach how to mobilize a community against racism and social injustice.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations has been around nearly 40 years and was instrumental in the expulsion of the Aryan Nations from Hayden Lake.

AP Photo/Tom Davenport, File

It didn’t take him long to manifest his dream of a “white homeland” in Kootenai County. Richard Butler, an aeronautical engineer, moved with his wife, Betty, from California to Hayden Lake, Idaho in 1973.

Nestled among trees of the north Idaho countryside, Butler established the Church of Jesus Christ Christian four years later, along with the Aryan Nations, his infamous group that eventually drew more than 100 white supremacists to north Idaho each year to promote his message of hate and intolerance.  

Edgar Steele, who once represented Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in a lawsuit that bankrupted the white supremacist group, has died in federal prison in California. Steele was 69.

Steele was serving a 50-year sentence at the federal prison in Victorville, California, after he was convicted of plotting to kill his wife.

The prison website listed him as dying on Thursday. No other details were immediately available.