The American Redoubt Series: An Introduction

A nonjudgmental analysis of the political movement that has taken root in the Northwest

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

In the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing an ongoing series of articles focusing a spotlight on the American Redoubt movement.

Of all the many suggestions we receive for story ideas, one of the most common is to explore what the Redoubt movement is all about.

The geographic territory of the so-called American Redoubt, which includes Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and Wyoming. Photo illustration by Ben Olson.

On the surface, it’s a loosely based political movement centered around the belief that the Northwest – including Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and Wyoming – is an ideal place to build a safe haven in which to stave off the collapse of society. Because of the low population density and absence of major natural disasters, as well as a high number of libertarian-minded Christians, followers believe this region would be the best choice to be set up when “the shit hits the fan.”

Underneath, it’s much more complicated than that.

This series of articles will attempt to explain the movement in a nonjudgmental, nonpartisan way. We will examine the tenets that make-up the Redoubt movement individually and let you, the reader, decide what to make of it.

As we, the editorial staff, have agreed, the American Redoubt movement can be roughly explained by examining four pieces that make up the whole.

1. Self-reliance and preparation.
2. Geographic isolation.
3. Religion.
4. Political ideology.

We will also explore the history of the movement, the origination of the term “American Redoubt,” and finally, we will touch on the impact that the movement has had on the region, including those who follow the movement and those who are critical of it.

As with everything we do at the Reader, we wish for the public to be involved in this process all along the way. We would like to solicit your own viewpoints on the movement – no matter which side they fall on. As you may assume, it has been difficult to interview people whose lifestyle depends on self-reliance, isolation and mistrust of the media.

If you identify with the Redoubt movement, have moved to this geographic vicinity in the last 10 years, and would like to share your story with the Reader, we promise to quote you accurately and fairly.

Again, our motivation is not to promote or denounce this movement with this series of articles. We are simply trying to take a documentary view of the movement as a sum of its pieces. If you think this movement has been portrayed unfairly in the media before, now is your chance to set the record straight. All it takes is a little communication. I guarantee each and every one of you, we will treat you with respect and dignity.

Please feel free to reach out to publisher Ben Olson at (208) 265-9724 or write to [email protected] Of course, we hope to speak with people on the record as much as possible, but if you wish you remain anonymous, we can work with that. However, we must actually speak with you and verify basic information before we consider you a credible source.

Next week, we will kick off this series with the first piece on the preparedness community. I invite all of our readers to read each article with an open mind and a nonjudgmental eye. At the conclusion of this series, it is our hope that you are more informed about your region, and that you may commence discussions about the political diversity of North Idaho with more facts than emotion.

While we have you ...

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The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.