Who is Dean Crist (Crist Culo Kennels) ?


This is what Dean Crist wants us, in the Labrador world, to know about him:

“Just as the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury is revered as the founder and one of the fathers of the Labrador Retriever breed, without whose foresight as devotion we would not have the Lab as we know and celebrate it today, likewise Dean Crist is indisputably the Father of the magnificent Silver Labrador Retriever; his foresight and absolute devotion has brought the Silver Lab out from obscurity and into the spotlight.” (…)
“Dean was born in 1948, the son of a working class family in Blue Island, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Later he attended the Culver Military Academy in Culver Indiana, graduating in 1966. From there, Dean enrolled at Iowa State University (ISU) where he
worked his way through school conducting research in a Bio-Chemistry/Bio Physics laboratory. Dean graduated from ISU in 1971 with dual degrees, Zoology and Bio-Chemistry.”
“Soon after graduating, Dean moved to his present home of Minocqua, Wisconsin, where he successfully established a restaurant business. Having a great love for the outdoors, wildlife conservation, dogs, and hunting, Minocqua fit him perfectly. At the time Dean began raising Labrador Retrievers, he had no idea the lasting impact he would have on the breed…in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, history was about to be made. “
[Source: “d” Labrador News, Issue 6, March/April 2010]

So, this is a Military Academy graduate, with dual degrees in zoology and bio-chemistry, who soon after his graduation moved to the small town of Minocqua, Wisconsin, where he successfully established a restaurant business. But is that all we need to know about him? Aren’t there some things he forgot to mention?

In April 2006 Dean Crist wrote this on one of his websites:

“When you deal with CRIST CULO KENNELS you are dealing with the most experienced producer of Silver Labs in the world; and CRIST CULO KENNELS has been breeding and raising Silver Labs longer than any kennel in the world. It is with the utmost pride we can boast not only the best lines of Silver Labs in the world, our lines have a proven history second to none in the world. (…)

“Every K-9 carries in its genes a complete genetic history of its ancestors going all the way back to wolves.” (…)

“Q. Are there any books or novels written about Silver Labs?

A. Yes, and if you would like to read a novel with a Silver Lab as a main character, you might enjoy reading America’s Rite by Dean Crist. This novel is available through Amazon.com, or it can be obtained by asking your local book store to order you a copy. However, America’s Rite is a novel written for adults and contains sexually explicit material. This novel is not for children– Parental Discretion is advised.” (…)

“Fortunately, kennel clubs around the world (who do not have the political pressure from mercenary American breeders of “normal” color Labs) already accept Silver Labs without all the political fuss and pressure being applied to AKC (the original standard for a Lab has always been “a coat of a solid color”). If a person should come upon one of the remaining “Silver Lab Hate Sites” on the internet and develops ANY doubts about Silver Labs, that person should go directly to AKC and ask the pertinent question to learn the facts.” (…)

Well, reading this it’s a bit difficult to get the feeling that Dean Crist is a modest man. I bet that there are many breeders of “silver Labradors” who disagree with Crist.
Also, one would expect that a dog lover with a degree in both zoology and bio-chemistry would know that dogs and wolves evolved from a common ancestor, instead of wolves being the ancestors of dogs.
In the “question” if there are any books or novels about silver Labs, Dean Crist starts to show a little of his true character. First of all, the “question” is simply a way to advertise his novel on the internet. Second, the silver Lab is not a “main character” in this novel. If you buy the book to read about a silver Lab, you will be very disappointed.
And then there’s Crist’s expression “Silver Lab Hate Sites”, which lead to the fact that people who dislike most dilute breeders’ ethics are called “haters”. That expression deserves some more investigation.

I started to read Dean Crist’s novel America’s Rite. Since I found it rather boring – I certainly couldn’t call it literature – I started reading the chapter “About the author”, and found out that Crist had also been active in the Treaty Rights conflicts in North Wisconsin.

About the Author
Dean Crist was born in 1948, and spent his youth in the working class Chicago suburb of Blue Island, Illinois. In 1960 he graduated from Blue Island Elementary School; in 1966 he graduated from Culver Military Academy; during the tumultuous ’60s, he attended Iowa State University; in 1971, he graduated with degrees in Zoology and Bio-Chemistry. After graduation from ISU, Mr. Crist chose a lifestyle which allowed him to pursue an avid love of the outdoors and wildlife conservation. To that end, in 1972, he became a successful restaurant owner in the small town of Minocqua, Wisconsin. His idyllic existence in the beautiful northwoods experienced a radical demise in the late 1980s, when a Federal Judge began segregating the use of Northern Wisconsin’s natural resources between Indian and non-Indian American Citizens. Recognizing the polarizing effects to Northern Wisconsin’s population such segregation would cause, as well as understanding the depravation to the natural resources the court awarded Treaty Rights were causing, Mr. Crist became deeply involved in the Treaty Rights Conflicts which engulfed Northern Wisconsin in the late ’80s and early 90s. In 1988, Mr. Crist became the spokesman for Stop Treaty Abuse Wisconsin, an anti-treaty rights organization composed of sportsmen, conservationists and residents of Northern WI. The purpose of STA/WI was to:a) help fight the rape the Northern Wisconsin’s natural resources being conducted under the guise of Treaty Rights, b) raise public awareness to the court’s segregation of Northern Wisconsin, and c) illuminate the violation of Constitutionally guaranteed equality which is violated by Treaty Rights. During his fight for equality in Northern Wisconsin, Mr. Crist interacted with all levels of the American Political System. In his decade of legal battles, he was tried several times on the state level, took a federal case to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals twice, and eventually got the issue of Wisconsin’s Treaty Rights before the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. In that Supreme Court case, Wisconsin’s Treaty Rights were decided by a 5-4 decision in favor of the Indians.

Interesting. Now I was curious what other people (writers and journalists) had to say about Dean Crist.

Confronting Racism: Treaty Beer Comes to Washington State

Michelle Aguilar-Wells and Barbara Leigh Smith


This case tells the story of an attempt to sell a beer in Washington State in the late 1980’s that came to be labeled as “hate in a can.” Dean Crist, a pizza parlor operator from Minocqua, Wisconsin came to Washington with a campaign to stop what he called treaty abuses by American Indians by introducing “Treaty Beer.” This mobilized Indian and non-Indian groups and led to high level political discussions about what should be done. One of the authors of this case was the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs at the time this event occurred.

In 1988 Dean Crist, a pizza parlor operator from Minocqua, Wisconsin came to Washington State with a campaign to stop what he called Indian treaty abuses by introducing Treaty Beer. Sales from Treaty Beer were intended to finance resistance efforts against Indian treaty rights. Crist claimed to take his inspiration from Martin Luther King (Grossman, 1992). He was also an avid supporter of David Duke, an American white nationalist and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. (…)

Crist’s “Stop Treaty Abuse” (STA) group was one of a number of increasingly militant groups that emerged and staged demonstrations against Indian spearfishing. Using strategies of misinformation and intimidation, protesters appeared at boat landings during tribal spearfishing season throwing beer cans and screaming taunts such as “timber niggers,” “welfare warriors,” “Save a Spawning Walleye,” and “Spear a Pregnant Squaw” (Grossman, 1992). Crist and his group saw the Indians as raping the fish resource, vital to the local tourist economy, even though the Chippewa never took more than three percent of the fish” (Grossman, 1992).  (…)

In the end, no major stores in the State stocked the beer and eventually nearly all of the 20 outlets, mostly small stores in Shelton, Des Moines, and Joyce, dumped the product. Four months after trying (again) and supposedly investing $100,000 in the Washington Treaty Beer effort, Crist withdrew. (Hannula, 1990) Crist had been ultimately chased out of Wisconsin, Ohio, Louisiana and now Washington.

Why had Treaty Beer failed? A few quipped that it wasn’t very good beer. Others said the times had changed. The edge was off the anti-Indian movement that had preceded and followed the Boldt decision. As Billy Frank, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, put it, “Maybe if it was 20 years ago, they could have sold it here. We’ve come a long way since then.” His colleague Steve Robinson elaborated, “Washington has outgrown him. And he’s losing in Wisconsin. The days are numbered for political types to try and build causes around hatred.” (Hannula, 1990)


And there was a lot more to read about Dean Crist. Such as an article in the Seattle Times: 

Treaty Beer: The Burial Of A Bad Brew


IT WAS malted with malice. Brewed in bad faith. Its message was mean and misguided. Treaty Beer is dead. It deserves no tears.

Its mission was to bash rights promised Indian tribes by the United States and affirmed by the courts. It was called “bigot beer” and “hate in a can.”

Its creator, Dean Crist, a Minocqua, Wis., pizza-parlor operator, said sales were aimed at a legal fight against “treaty abuse.”

He first tried to introduce it to this state in 1988. Opposition was instant. It came from tribes, Gov. Booth Gardner, church groups – even some sports-fishing organizations that Crist hoped to woo.

After his four-month-long second try, Crist said he had lost $100,000 on the project and was folding his tent. He said he didn’t want to move to Washington to oversee his operation full time. He blamed charges of racism for poor sales and said the governor’s opposition had “terrorized” possible sellers.

Crist sang a different song his first time out:

“We’re talking consumer demand here and free enterprise. There is an enormous demand. Let the people of Washington speak. If they don’t want Treaty Beer, it won’t sell.”

They spoke twice. They didn’t want it the first time around, or the second. It didn’t sell. It failed on the shelves and in the marketplace of ideas.

At best, it was a collector’s item – something to stick on the home bar next to Billy Beer.

Without that, he wouldn’t have sold the paltry 2,000 cases (overpriced at $11 each) he claims to have peddled over four months.

“No matter what he says, he’s going home with his tail between his legs,” declared Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “He lost his shirt.”

Robinson wondered if Crist’s 2,000-case sales figure was accurate. “In the beginning, he said he had already sold 2,400 cases and was well into a second shipment. He told the secretary of state he didn’t need a fund-raising license because he hadn’t raised $5,000.” Robinson added:

“Basically, Washington has outgrown him. And he’s losing in Wisconsin (where his Treaty Beer sales are used to fight Chippewa fishing rights). The days are numbered for political types who try to build causes around hatred.”

Crist’s original Cincinnati brewer pulled out because of image problems associated with the product. Crist had to go to New Orleans to find a replacement: the Dixie Brewing Co.

No major outlets wanted Treaty Beer. It found shelves in remote little stores in Shelton, Des Moines, Joyce on the Olympic Peninsula, Home on the Kitsap Peninsula. A couple of taverns in Everett gave Treaty Beer the heave-ho after a few weeks of sales.

At Treaty Beer’s peak, there probably were fewer than 20 outlets. Eventually, all but six dumped it.

A Wisconsin coalition of church interests known as HONOR (Honor Our Neighbors’ Origins and Rights) started a branch operation in this state. It sent the message to stores and taverns that carrying Treaty Beer endorsed racial divisiveness.

This is not an obituary for Treaty Beer. It’s a birth announcement for increased awareness and cooperative understanding.

“The key thing is that it’s a testament to the people of the state,” Robinson said. “They turned Treaty Beer down.”

Billy Frank, chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, added:

“Maybe if it was 20 years ago, they could have sold it here. We’ve come a long way since then.”

Passions ran high following the historic 1974 ruling by U.S. District Judge George H. Boldt that treaty tribes were entitled to half the harvest of salmon and steelhead returning to traditional grounds.

Slowly, the heeling began. Today, there is solid cooperation among tribes, the state, and sports and commercial fishermen. Their common goal: to make the resource better for all.

“I see so many positive things happening,” Frank said. “We’ve got a pretty peaceful state now. Cooperative resource management has gotten better and better over the last 15 years. There is a good relationship between the state, local governments, and the tribes.

“People like Crist can’t drive a wedge between the majority of citizens and us.”

That’s the lasting lesson from this burial of a bad brew.


And there’s more:

In the first of a series of arrests that propelled him to the forefront of the anti-treaty rights movement, Dean Crist of STA/W broke a sideview mirror off a vehicle owned by a tribal member at Butternut Lake and was arrested for disorderly conduct, hit and run property damage, and reckless driving.
[Source: The Walleye War: The Struggle for Ojibwe Spearfishing and Treaty Rights, page 97. By Larry Nesper.]

Anti-Indian sentiment oozed from bumper stickers proclaiming “Save Two Walleye, Kill a Pregnant Squaw”, “Save a Deer, Shoot an Indian” and “Spear an Indian, Save a Muskie”.
(…) Chippewa women singing religious songs in support of the spears have faced what one reporter has aptly called “a gauntlet of hate” as some demonstrators jeer and shout vicious taunts, racial slurs, and threats while others blow whistles and continuous shrill blasts in their ears. Even Indian schoolchildren have been harassed. One school with a large Indian enrollment has received bomb threats.
[Source: Chippewa Treaty Rights: The Reserved Rights of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Indians … page 101 and following. By Ronald N. Satz, Laura Apfelbeck.]

From Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

Crist, angered at what he saw as the slaughter of walleyes, led a splinter group that broke from PARR called Stop Treaty Abuse. The group led protests at boat landings on lakes where tribal members were spearing — events that often became violent as protesters harassed spearfishermen, threw rocks at them and shot toward them with guns.

Peterson and Crist were arrested more than a dozen times and say they themselves were subject to threats as they tried to end spearfishing. Ultimately, they failed, but both men say they believe they were successful in showing treaties first signed in the 1830s to be unfair. (…)

“(PARR) was a voice that was doing nothing, accomplishing nothing,” the 62-year-old Crist said this month during an interview in the Minocqua pizza parlor he now owns and operates.

STA organizers and other protesters by the hundreds staked out boat landings, where they jeered and taunted tribal members and pelted them with rocks and beer bottles. Crist even hired a company in Louisiana to brew “Treaty Beer” that sold for $11 a case to raise money for STA and awareness about treaty issues.

Crist offers no apologies for the protests, many of which he led, or the lawsuits he was part of in his attempt to stop spearing.

“I guess if I’d do it again, I’d have better legal counsel,” said Crist, who estimated that he spent $500,000 raised through STA and out of his own pocket on attorney fees and court costs during a four-year legal battle.

The Lac du Flambeau tribe successfully sued Crist and STA in federal court to stop the violence during boat landing protests. Crist unsuccessfully tried to use the lawsuit to relitigate the 1983 federal court ruling, claiming that only full-blooded Indians could exercise the right to spear fish and that the tribe was previously compensated in the 1800s as part of the treaty. (…)

Crist continues working at his restaurant, is part of the volunteer fire department in Minocqua and said he seldom thinks about spearfishing.


Dean Crist is in no way comparable to the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury. Although he thinks the world of himself and managed to pursuade the CPLR and many of their followers to admire him as “the Founding Father of the Silver Labrador”, Dean Crist is an ordinary racist, a hater, and very unsuccessful, as a scientist, as the owner of a pizza hut, as a beer brewer, as a novelist, and as a dog breeder.

Jack Vanderwyk,
June 2015


About Jack Vanderwyk

Hey! What am I like! :-)
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One Response to Who is Dean Crist (Crist Culo Kennels) ?

  1. susan anne booth says:

    Oh dear me, what utter rubbish, what some will go through to try and convince wrong is right. and right is wrong. Sorry Jack I fell asleep with boredom reading about the aurthor !

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