Folkish Odinists Mistaken for Nazis, Kicked Out of Park

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 18, 2009 — 34 Comments

A group of Pagans were kicked out of public park in Bakersfield, California, after complaints were made to local park officials. While at first it seemed like it was going to be a simple misunderstanding that would be cleared up, it soon escalated to them being ejected by park rangers and told they could never come back.

“Collin Bentley, an Odinist, said, “Our arms are raised (in the air). So it’s easy to see how a bunch of white guys, in a park, with tattoos, could be mistaken.” With all of the complaints from the nearby community, a park ranger and two Kern County sheriff’s deputies were called out to investigate these rituals.Don Parkins, an Odinist said, “We paused, answered their questions, pointed out our artifacts, the altar, the flag, what we were doing, laid it out for them in basic. And they said, ‘OK, you’re not breaking any laws, you’re not being disruptive, so you folks have a good day now.’” But the group said the ranger came back with five more deputies, and wanted them to leave.Parkins said, “(The ranger) said, “I won’t have that (expletive) in my park ever again.’ And I said, ‘Well let’s go back to north of the river’, and he said, ‘You won’t have it in any of my parks.’”” He stepped over the line at that point. He’s gone beyond what his call of duty is,” Parkins said.”

After this story hit the news-wires Wren’s Nest picked it up, and soon it spread through various social networking sites and message boards. It is certainly obvious that the group shouldn’t have been kicked off the park, they didn’t seem to be harming or threatening anyone, and they’ll no doubt have recourse for a lawsuit should they choose to pursue it. But why the strange about-face from the park ranger? Why did he go from “have a good day” to “you won’t have it in any of my parks”? Now it is true that Bakersfield, California is no wonderland for occult and Pagan religions, they were the infamous home of a major Satanic (panic) ritual abuse case in the 1990s, and an occult shop there was harassed back in 2007, but this seems a bit different. Why the turn-around? If the ranger was a Pagan-hater I doubt he would have given them a pass the first time around.

For the answer, we need to do some digging into the group holding the ritual as to why things got so heated. But before we begin, I need to stress that this shouldn’t change the outcome of any potential legal case whatsoever. This group has as much a right to use public property as any other group, I’m simply trying go deeper than the rather sparse ABC affiliate news report. What the report doesn’t tell you is that this group is a conservative “folkish” Odinist group. Considering the fact that many Odinists re-appropriate symbols tainted by the Nazis, (like the Black Sun, which the group posts on its web page) perhaps the first ranger was mis-informed by the other rangers after his initial encounter that this was actually a Nazi group. Certainly it couldn’t have helped when a neighbor told rangers that “(they were) saluting Hitler with their war bird flag.” That still doesn’t justify their expulsion, but it may explain the strange change of heart that led to their eviction.

In any case, according to Raven’s Folk Kindred, a complaint is now pending, and we’ll see if this leads to litigation.

“There was a Formal Complaint made to Zach Miller of the NOR. The complaint was faxed to him the day after the call was made to the director of NOR. If NOR decides not to keep us up to date on the actions they are taking to correct the situation we are prepared to move forward with a civil suit.”

We’ll keep you posted regarding any updates.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Mickbic

    Might wanna try the "be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" approach fellas. Waving the Ten Commandments in Phaoroh's Egypt?

  • Strider

    Yeah, not an organization I would support. Their on their own.

  • mortimer

    Those guys might as well be saying they venerate their great ancestor Schmadolph Schmitler. Supporting them in any way is naive. No free speech for fascists.

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  • To,

    Being racist and being fascist are two totally very different things.

  • embreis

    Actually the 14th Amendment, which says that no state actor is allowed to deprive a citizen of liberty without due process of law, does say that.

    • mortimer

      They sound equally horrible to me. I don't see why I should be very interested in their internal squabbles.

      • Lokisgodhi

        I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that the US Constitution doesn't say anything about state and local government not being allowed to make laws that do so.

        • Nope

          Which part are you claiming as a particular source of pride, the embarrassing punctuation or the mortifying spelling?

          • whateley23

            For precision of thought and discussion, the issue is freedom of assembly, not freedom of speech.

          • Nope

            (salutes, sends Whateley and Bookhousegal gift certificates for Godiva chocolates)

  • TeNosce

    Honestly, we can agree. Let's just stop calling the cops on each other and grow up.

  • JarredH

    Well said!

  • @dmlaenker

    You don't think so? Do you realize how much control the Aryan Brotherhood has over the drug trade in central California?

  • whateley23

    Are you asserting that this particular group is affiliated in some way with the Aryan Brotherhood?

  • Lokisgodhi

    Well, that's good of you. Let's hope that it doesn't come back to bite you and the rest of us in the ass someday.

  • Nope

    True dat. Silence is taken as consent; inaction is physical silence.

    • @dmlaenker

      "Folkish" heathens being racist? Well I never!

      Poor poor skinheathens. I shed a single tear.

  • TeNosce

    Good point. What the heck does "white" mean, anyway?

  • lonespark

    Yes, that's my experience too.

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    • embreis


  • whateley23

    You see this as a war? Interesting. I may have a very different concept of what a war is than you do.

  • To,

    It's an important distinction. Conflating the two is tantamount to assuming that any anti-homosexual activist is a Mormon.

  • Bookhousegal

    Or, more simply, while she may have gotten a lot of media attention as a 'Maverick feminist,' she was really just a 'Judas horse' all along.

  • Nope

    Pretty much agree on that – another thing she and Falwell have in common is that neither of them remotely represent me.

    • youngsoulrebel

      So they accept the English?

  • embreis

    Actually, that does make them racist. That's what racism is: a belief that "race," itself a very shifty concept, means anything essential.

  • whateley23

    "Authoritarian moralists are authoritarian moralists."

    Is that irony I see? ;)

  • Tom

    You certainly are a "knucklehead."

  • Anonymous

    Did nobody notice that Raven's Folk Kindred has a David Duke video at the bottom of their home page? (David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.)

  • wc_AEthelfrith


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