Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Members of old racist gangs, one of which has been declared a terrorist organization in Canada, have formed their own chapter of a white-only pagan group that has been disavowed by the larger pagan community due to its specifically racist and discriminatory approach.
Asatru -- adopted by new adherents to the religion of northern Europeans -- is more often than not a community to explore a revitalized version of an ancient faith. Despite this, former members of the gang Volksfront and Canada’s first white power terrorist entity, Blood and Honour, have organized under the banner of the Asatru Folk Assembly, a white-only religious movement with an explicit connection to neo-Nazism.
The Vancouver branch -- the first official AFA “kindred” in Canada -- appears to be no different.
Some of the most rabid antisemites and racist organizers in the country make up the small enclave. An investigation by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network has identified six members of the group. Once maintaining a moderate social media presence, the group is now extremely private.
Old Nazis, Same Tricks
Source: Blood and Honour
The most startling but least surprising member on the AFA roster is Shawn Macdonald.
Macdonald is best known for his role in the British Columbia branch of Blood and Honour. During his more active periods, he was an extremely dangerous individual and a figurehead in his local white power movement, according to one of the police officers previously in charge of investigating him.
“He's a thinking man, but he's a dangerous man. He's built, he's 50 plus years old, but he wants to fight. He wants to hurt people,” said retired RCMP hate crimes detective Terry Wilson, who investigated Macdonald and much of the BC branch of Blood and Honour. “I think what stops him is he doesn't want to go to jail for hurting people.
“And he was very close to going to jail several times.”
Macdonald has been particularly interesting to antifascists, not just because of his many brushes with the law, but that he and two others were fully patched members of the Oregon Hammerskins, another outwardly violent neo-Nazi street gang that once boasted international chapters and members across North America.
Shawn Macdonald (left) and Jan Korinth photographed around 2010.
Three members of BC’s Blood and Honour were patched in as Hammerskins. Wilson attests to seeing Macdonald wearing his colours.
In 2011, Macdonald and two other men, Robertson de Chazal and Alastair Miller, were arrested for a series of assaults, including de Chazal being accused of lighting a sleeping man on fire. They faced charges, but were all acquitted. Macdonald faced three counts of assault, according to CBC, for a string of assaults in 2008 and 2010, all against racialized people.
According to Wilson, the cases fell apart in trial as witnesses recanted their stories, but through focusing on more street-level crimes, rather than looking for big busts on counts like producing hate propaganda, they netted results by disrupting the groups, rather than merely surveilling them.
All chapters are not created equally either, as BC’s B&H took a markedly different tact than the Alberta iteration, much to the chagrin of journalists at the time who would often confuse the two groups.
“The Blood and Honour in British Columbia is more old school, more older guys. The ones in Alberta were younger guys wanting to cause a lot of violence and mayhem,” Wilson said. “It got them in a lot of trouble with the police where the Blood and Honour guys in British Columbia were much more organized.”
He added, “they're sort of in the same belief system, but different groups altogether. It's almost like they're two different 1%er motorcycle gangs. They didn't like each other at all.”
Photo of the AFA Vancouver Kindred members. Source: Asatru Folk Assembly
Since then, Macdonald has quietly run the Vinland Awake Facebook page. Originally connected to a blog by the same name, it has since been set to private and may no longer be active.
The website might be inaccessible, but the social page, which states its mission as countering the “genocide of ethnic Europeans taking place globally,” has continued to post white nationalist, white supremacist, and antisemitic content.
“If Whites had dominion over Jews, totally outlawed their religion and cultural practices, deracinated them by forbidding them from organizing in any way, and forced them to attend White-run schools where Jewish children learn of the evils of Jewish history, Jews too would very quickly be moulded into self-hating, psychologically dysfunctional and self-destructive lemmings,” one post to the site reads.
“What’s happening isn’t supernatural and it isn’t complex. One group is dominating another and driving it to extinction.”
Macdonald and his spouse appear to be central to the Vancouver kindred. An image of Macdonald attending the “Charming of the Plow” AFA event in Washington state indicates they have also crossed the American border at least once.
Macdonald’s wife, who appears to use a series of names, including Emily Fehr, Emily DeVeer and Lili Borden, is also instrumental to the chapter in BC and engaging with the larger AFA community.
Photo of Shawn Macdonald and Emily Deveer/Fehr. Source: Facebook
An Emily Fehr is mentioned in an AFA newsletter as being a founding member of the BC chapter, and on at least one occasion authored a column. This is the same newsletter that announced the formation of the Vancouver AFA chapter, thanking “Lilly, Shawn, September, Stephanie and the other members” for forming the kindred in March of 2019.
We believe “Lilly” to be another pseudonym of DeVeer/Fehr, and Shawn to be Shawn Macdonald, as accompanying photos also include the couple and at least four other confirmed members. One photograph of the kindred with three other people taken at a restaurant was described as a “meet and greet for potential new members.”
Under both surnames Deveer and Fehr she is active with a local family community centre. A deleted Facebook account under the name Emily Fehr -- the same name used for the column in a 2019 AFA newsletter -- functioned as an admin for a parents’ Facebook group for the same facility. Comments on posts to the group also reply to a now-deleted account tied to the AFA’s Emily DeVeer.
DeVeer/Fehr also operates as a female white power figure on Instagram. Sharing a variety of outwardly antisemitic and pro-Nazi graphics and slogans, the account is a repository of hateful images and memes. In one post, she quotes Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant. In another, she posts an image of a swastika with the text “what others call a symbol of hate, we call it a reason to live.”
The Instagram account is full of adoration for Adolf Hitler.
A social share from an account run by Emily DeVeer/Fehr. Source: Instagram
Interspersed with the overt hatred are images of young mothers with their children and other tradwife content, referring to herself repeatedly as an advocate for “housewife nationalism” and encouraging other women to follow suit. A Facebook page with the same name has been deleted.
Moreover, in other online postings under the alias Lili Borden, she makes use of the triple parentheses, a symbol to indicate the word contained within is a reference to Jews.
“I love open-minded individuals in search of truth,” she wrote. “And we need more of our brothers and sisters to come together despite religious differences and fight our (((common enemies))).”
A Family Affair
Scott and Stephanie Sinclair. Source: Facebook
Looking into each of the figures reveals that the BC kindred has formed predominantly across family groups.
Two other couples have been identified as members of the Vancouver AFA, along with other troubling connections to the Canadian organized white power movement.
Most notably is Scott Sinclair.
Similar to Macdonald, Sinclair is another diehard neo-Nazi with a history of gang membership. This time from the much more politically minded Volksfront, a group that was more like “Saturday afternoon Nazis,” Wilson said.
According to previous reporting by the ARC Collective, Sinclair is from Manitoba but has spent time in the Atlantic provinces connecting with the eastern white power movement. Since then he appears to have returned to BC with his wife Stephanie, who is also a member of the Vancouver AFA branch.
Members of AFA Vancouver. Source: Asatru Folk Assembly
Stephanie is among the names of founding Vancouver members thanked in the AFA newsletter and both the Sinclairs are featured prominently in photos from AFA Vancouver events.
Volksfront’s history is mired by being the more toned-down version of its B&H counterparts. Scott Sinclair’s time with Volksfront was much quieter than Macdonald’s time in BC. Sinclair was believed to have been the Calgary leader of Volksfront for a period, and aligned itself with the more western branch of Blood and Honour, rather than the Alberta chapter during their feud.
“He was a Nazi, but didn't really want to bring a lot of attention to himself,” Wilson said. Instead, the group fielded speakers like neo-Nazi Paul Fromm.
Scott Sinclair photographed in December of 2010 during a Volksfront Canada event featuring Paul Fromm.
Also identified from the kindred are September and James Farrow. September Farrow, like the others, appears to have been mentioned in the AFA newsletter alongside Stephanie, Shawn, and “Lily.”
September’s now-deleted Facebook included content similar to Emily’s - white power symbols and imagery, contrasted with devout motherhood.
Images from September Farrow's Facebook account.
Some of the first photos to emerge of the kindred include photos of James Farrow wearing a shirt emblazoned with the sonnenrad a symbol that originated from an amalgamation of several pre-germanic ornamental artifacts, but was crafted into its modern form by National Socialist Heinrich Himmler, who imprinted it onto the floor of a castle.
Many symbols related to Indo-European and Norse cultures were co-opted by Hitler’s Nazis and the subsequent adherents to the ideology that followed. Unlike the sonnenrad, the distinction can sometimes be ambiguous, as everything from ancient runes to practices have been taken into the fold.
Shawn Macdonald, James Farrow, and Scott Sinclair. Source: Asatru Folk Assemblyly
Prior to the deletion of their social media profiles, the Farrows posted numerous images of themselves practicing with weapons.
Asatru Folk Assembly made headlines recently after the purchase of an old church in Murdock, Minnesota. According to Vice News. the city council approved it as a place of worship in a three to one vote.
Despite antifacsist organizing in the small town, it’s extremely likely the former-Lutheran church will join the group’s places of worship in California and North Carolina as the AFA’s third official “hof.”
Asatru as a faith writ large and the AFA are separate from each other in a multitude of ways. While they share similar deities and in some cases practices, the vast majority of Asatru practitioners do not place such a heavy emphasis on race.
The AFA’s own page says that without white people, Asatru would cease to exist. There is also an emphasis on the preservation of white families and peoples spelled out in its Code of Ethics:
“Healthy families are the cornerstone of folk society and its strength and prosperity is derived from them. We in Asatru support strong, healthy white family relationships. We want our children to grow up to be mothers and fathers to white children of their own. We believe that those activities and behaviors supportive of the white family should be encouraged while those activities and behaviors destructive of the white family are to be discouraged.”
This led many pagan groups, Asatru or not, to promote Declaration 127, a pledge taken to not work with the AFA and declare a “complete denunciation of, and disassociation from, the Asatru Folk Assembly.”
According to a website for the initiative, the AFA “has a long and well-documented history of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity. In a recent statement, the AFA declared point-blank that non-white and LGBT Heathens were not welcome in their tradition.”
“The AFA is free to stand for whatever principles it sees fit,” the declaration closes. “They are free to stand alone.”
Follow Peter Smith on Twitter at @misterEpete.