A "keep out sign can be seen on a chainlink fence outside of a school taken over by a QAnon cult. All photos by Mack Lamoureux and Evy Kwong.​
A "keep out" sign found on a fence outside of a school taken over by a QAnon cult. All photos by Mack Lamoureux and Evy Kwong.

A QAnon Cult Set Up a Compound in a Small Town. The Locals Are Fighting Back.

Inside the war a small town in Saskatchewan is waging against the QAnon Queen who took over their school.

RICHMOUND, Sask. – Hugh Everding, a bald hulking man of about 6’4”, stares out of the kitchen window of his bungalow as police vehicle after police vehicle rolls down the street headed towards a check stop manned by a half-dozen armed cops. 

Every entry point into this no-stoplight town has such a check stop, ready to interrogate both locals and miscreants on what their damn business here is. There’s little doubt that at this moment, Richmound, Saskatchewan, population 130, is the most fortified town in all of Canada. 


Seeing another cop car, Hugh takes a sip of his craft beer and turns to us and says that no matter the police presence, it’s just dead around these parts. 

“You can hear a mouse get a hard on out here,” he said. “Calm before the storm, I guess.”  

But you can always spot a storm brewing in the Prairies. In Hugh’s case, it was just across the street, where the so-called QAnon Queen of Canada and her followers had taken over an abandoned school. 

And in less than 24 hours, the town was ready to go to war with the cult next door. 

It had been almost a month since Romana Didulo, the so-called QAnon Queen of Canada, had come to town. The next day, on October 14, she was planning to hold a meet and greet for her followers in Western Canada and to perform a weird ritual in the abandoned school’s gym. 

The town was planning on holding a get-together of its own at the same time, one that would hopefully send the cult a simple message: Get the hell out.

Didulo’s cult moved into the town’s abandoned school around Sept. 18 after the property was gifted to them by a follower. They have spent much of the time filming anyone who comes too close to the school’s fence, convinced, according to records of their internal communication obtained by VICE News, that locals are possibly planning to poison their dogs or burn them out.  

But their paranoia is contagious, as locals are really upset and concerned by the group, especially after some of Didulo’s followers emailed “cease and desist” letters threatening to execute townsfolk–including the mayor–if they didn’t accept the QAnon Queen as their new sovereign. One person who was threatened even made a faux electric chair to make fun of the threats.


A faux electric chair made by a local vlogger to make fun of the execution threats sent out by Didulo.

Didulo and her followers are a bizarre sect, even in the ever strange world of QAnon. Didulo, a Filipino immigrant of unknown age, has managed to convince a sizable group of people that she’s not just the true “Queen of Canada,” but also, essentially, a spiritual figure. She has hundreds of followers across the country, tens of thousands online, and she travels with a small but loyal cohort who have given up their lives for her. 

For almost two years, Didulo has been traveling the country in a convoy of motorhomes and vehicles. Her group has never really settled anywhere for too long. But Richmound has changed that. 

The school is the first thing you see in the tiny little town. It’s a classic one-story schoolhouse with a back yard that extends out into baseball diamonds stretching all way to the highway. Didulo’s followers recently put up hundreds of meters of metal fence to surround the property.  

Emissaries from the town–official and unofficial–have attempted to meet with Didulo, but she won’t speak to anyone. When VICE News visited, an older woman from Didulo’s group watched us through binoculars before eventually filming us from within a nearby vehicle on the property. We were not welcomed. 


And no one else has been either, really. Parents stopped letting their kids come to a nearby playground, and tensions have progressively worsened, hastened by outside media (ahem) and uniformed members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

“I’ve never seen that many cops here in all my life,” said a local named Pat, who didn’t want his last name used because he didn’t want to insert himself into the hubbub. “We made the joke that 40 years ago my buddies and I wouldn’t have wanted to see that many cops here because we were trying to sneak home from the bar.”


Police wait at the checkstop on one of the entries into Richmound.

This year, parts of Saskatchewan, the so-called “Bread Basket of Canada,” were ravaged by one of its worst droughts in generations. Richmound, like many other towns, is feeling the uncomfortable trickle-down effects of the damage to the multi-billion dollar agriculture industry. And then a cult moved in near harvest time.  

While Richmound doesn’t have a full grocery store, it has a hockey rink with a cabinet jammed with trophies that would rival that of any major city. The townsfolk truly seem to know each other, and by our third day there we didn’t need to introduce ourselves, because everyone knew who we were. At one point a local invited us over and we followed him on his tractor to his home. This is a town proud of its history—locals often corrected us that it was Richmound with a “U,” not Richmond like the B.C. city.  


Arlene Miller, the wife of Richmound’s mayor, told VICE News that after the cult came to town, residents got together first via email, then word of mouth, and social media. Speaking to us from her kitchen after inviting us in for a coffee on a chilly October evening, she said it’s been a lot.

“It’s been a long month,” she said. “I can sleep, but we get up earlier and just start running. Both our phones are hot.”

Strewn in front of Arlene, not unlike war plans, were documents planning the next day’s actions to counter-protest Didulo’s cult meetup. They featured names of who will BBQ at what time, a map of the area broken down into where the RCMP was letting them protest and park, the plan for the press conference the town is going to hold the next day with other local leaders, and a note the cops has asked Arlene’s husband to read before the protest. She told us this isn’t a one-front war that she and her neighbors are waging to fight back against the cult’s presence, but a multi-pronged battlefield. 

According to Miller, locals are calling tradespeople and companies in the area and asking them to not do any work for the group (this seems to be working, as Didulo has been actively begging for a plumber). People in the town are also researching to see if the group is breaking any bylaws that may require eviction—what they’re pursuing right now is that since the school building is coded as commercial, people aren’t permitted to sleep in it. 


For now, though, they’re laser focused on a protest that will take place this weekend. 

Not too long after Miller handed us the coffee her husband, Mayor Brad Miller, arrived home from fishing with family (sadly, he had no pickerel on hand.) Since the cult’s arrival, Brad has essentially become enemy number one for them; Didulo has called him a “Nazi” and a number of other offensive insults. 


Mayor Brad Miller walks to the protest.

Miller says that for generations, people in Richmound didn’t lock their doors, but that’s no longer the case. 

“When I go in my hot tub, it’s in the backyard. I feel like I can’t go now and just sit there enjoying myself,” said Miller. “I feel like I need to have some kind of protection with me.” 

Looking into the distance Miller tells us he’s trying hard to not just evict Didulo, but also disband the group, because he doesn’t want to just “pass the buck” to another town. He turned to at us and a hint of a smile grew on his face.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if Saskatchewan, good ol’ Saskatchewan, could topple her reign?”

Didulo first came on the scene as a small-bit player pretending to be a politician in the 2021 Canadian election. She portrayed the character of a hardline violent leader in the vein of Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte, promising to execute anyone who helped vaccinate children, among other bloodthirsty pledges. When this didn’t take off, she slowly moved into QAnon territory, saying she was the Queen of Canada, appointed by Donald Trump. Soon after, a well-known QAnon figure “confirmed” her, and her profile exploded as she began to gain followers. 


After a few years of building an online following, and milking money out of them, Didulo made the switch to IRL during the trucker occupation of Ottawa. She left the little room she occupied in a small Victoria, B.C, boarding home in January of 2022, and has essentially been on the road since then. 


Romana Didulo inside the school, left. The school gymnasium just prior to the ritual, right.

Didulo now claims she is a leader who routinely communes with aliens (dubbed the “intergalactic alliance”), and says she is a being with a variety of powers from a different dimension trying to save this one. For many of her followers, she’s not a political leader any more, but a spiritual one. She tells her group that they don’t need to pay their mortgages or utility bills which has led to some of her followers—many of whom are seniors—losing their homes or having their power shut off

Didulo has pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars from her followers. Former followers, some of whom handled the cult’s finances, said the group spends thousands of dollars a week on gas, food, and Didulo's impromptu purchases, like laptops, cell phones—and once, a hotel room that sat empty for a week as the group waited in vain for Russian President Vladimir Putin to come meet with them (he did not show up).


In one case, a former member alleged that during a 10-hour drive, Didulo played the 1978 Boney M. song “Rasputin” (which has become a theme song for her of sorts) on repeat for the entire duration, no breaks. Other members have alleged she’s threatened them with execution, forced followers to sleep on the floor so her dogs can sleep on the bed, forbidden them to shower, and forced them to work extremely long hours of what amounts to busy work. 

Her latest setup in Richmound however, appears to be a bit different from the usual tactics. “It just seems like they’ve got something really good that they want to hold on to that is really working for them,” said Christine Sarteschi, a criminology professor at Chatham University who follows Didulo closely. “And then I realized, ‘wow, this is going to be a real problem getting them to leave.’”

The school was gifted to Didulo by Rick Manz, a Richmound local who has been a follower for some time. A neighbor told VICE News that Manz “believes in (Didulo) and is committed to it”—he added Manz once tried to convince him that the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shown on TV is a clone and the real Trudeau was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay awaiting execution. 

Manz had originally hoped to turn the space into a cannabis growing operation—something many in the town hoped would bring work to the area. 


Manz, for his service to Didulo, was just promoted to a diplomat in the “Kingdom of Canada” where he is to be referred to as “His Excellency” by her followers. With missing teeth and the gait of a former athlete, he’s a hard figure to miss and clearly intimidates a few of the locals; several told us to not mess with Manz as he’s a karate black belt. On October 7  Manz was arrested and charged with three counts of intimidation and one count of assault after getting into an altercation with a local just before we showed up. 

When VICE News tried to speak to Manz after encountering him in the town, he told us to “get away from her property now or I’ll have you arrested.” (Thankfully, the cult’s track record of having people arrested is less than sparkling.)

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Rick Manz yelling at police after threatening to have VICE News reporters "arrested."

“I think deep down he has a heart. But he went down the rabbit hole way too far. He has nothing to come back on,” Miller said of Manz. “And he just thinks she’s going to be the savior for him and he’s going to get a rude awakening.”  

But on the day of the much ballyhooed meet and greet, held inside the school’s gymnasium, neither Manz or Didulo was anywhere to be seen. Instead, according to the group’s livestreams, they were in the school with 30 or so of Didulo’s believers who made the long drive to the town from all over Alberta and Saskatchewan to swear fealty to Didulo and get their hands on some of her currency (fake purple money that Didulo created and gives to her followers with the idea it will be useful soon, not unlike crypto). Attendees needed to give their name and information beforehand and it was checked by one of the cult leaders (wearing a lanyard with “security” written on it) working the gate of the metal fence. 


Outside the school, a small group of townsfolk set up for the BBQ and counter-protest. Miller and multiple mayors from nearby towns held a press conference in the morning, and police officers were everywhere. Two plain-clothed RCMP officers who were working as liaisons between the town and the cult felt omnipresent.

Soon enough, the locals piled into around 50 vehicles and began slowly circling the school. They laid into their horns, revving their engines and screaming at cult members to go home. 

At the front of the school, two cult members working as security did their best to ignore the protest, only opening a security gate to allow followers to pull onto the school grounds. 


A cult member and a cameraman film each other.

Those behind the fence were on strict command to not interact with the media or the locals, many of whom yelled questions or insults fell on deaf ears. (The only time a cult member interacted with us was when the ever present outside cult member said “cheers” after we told him “stay warm, stay safe” while leaving town for the night.)

As the townsfolk circled, however, Didulo started to livestream to her adoring audience. It was the first time locals got to see the inside of the gym, revealing it had been painted Didulo’s colors of white and purple. Inside, members, including young children, huddled together and repeated statements after their queen that were essentially pseudo-legal word salad that wouldn’t sound all that out of place at a sovereign citizen compound. 


“I am hereby declare my oath of sovereignty under natural law in the Kingdom of Canada,” they said en masse. “With this oath I remove myself from maritime law and move me into the natural law on this day October 2023 in Richmound, Saskatchewan, and so it is.”

Didulo made them repeat the statement three times until they did it up to her standard.  

Outside, the townsfolk were equally persistent. Shauna Sehn, a former teacher at the school and town resident, blew out her car horn from overuse during the protest, but that didn’t stop her; without missing a beat she pulled out a backup airhorn. Sehn had received one of the threatening cease and desist letters, and said she was devastated by the cult’s incursion into the town. 

“For the last month, most of my time and energy has been spent on trying to stay up to date, researching and following her,” she said. “We’re just scrambling around trying to stay in communication with people, planning what's next, and talking to the police.”

“Anyway, for now I must honk.”

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A screenshot of the livestream showing Didulo followers taking an oath of soverignty inside the school.

No one in the town thought they would be able to get Didulo out. This was more an exercise in catharsis. So when the horns finally ceased, the cult remained.

At the end of the night, when the townsfolk were packing up, the mood behind the school’s fence was oddly light. One cult member jokingly asked “what’s the password” when people attempted to get into the school, as the two men working “security detail” for the cult shared small jokes afterwards. 


They weren’t intimidated.

Didulo and her group haven’t just taken over a random house, but a building where many of their new neighbors went to school, won trophies, and made formative memories. 

At one point after moving in, Didulo had one of her followers take down the sign bearing the school’s name. In a video shortly before the sign came down Didulo explained her reasoning: “The word school spelled backwards is ‘Loochs’ which I believe is a German word for ‘dumbed down,’” said Didulo. 

“So the cabal has always put it in front of We the People by using a play on foreign words,” she rambled in the video. “They have dumbed down the children… We want people to know that this is no longer a school, a place to dumb down people.”  

“Loochs” does not mean dumbed down in German—in fact, it’s not even a German word. Still, a “Kingdom of Canada” sign now hangs where the school’s name used to.

“That breaks my heart actually,” said Pat, who was at the protest and used to go to the school. “I saw it the other day when her people were sanding it down. It hurts. I think it’s something that’s just done on purpose. It’s like putting a dagger into the community and saying ‘Ha, look what we’re doing.’”


A cult member nervously looks out the door of the school while the town continues its protest.

On the day following the meet and greet, October 15, the town continued to protest the cult. Most of the out-of-town cult members had left in silence over the night, so things were a little less tense; many townsfolk said they weren’t worried about Didulo and those living in the school, but were concerned that one of her followers would arrrive in town and take it upon themselves to “cleanse” the town of the corruption she rants about. With that element of the unknown removed, the RCMP allowed the townsfolk to get far closer to the school than the day prior. So this time, three trucks drove up to the property line and blared their horns.

After their protests, locals are still wondering what will happen if Didulo and her followers don’t leave. For some in the town, it’s starting to sink in that they might be dealing with their new strange neighbors for some time.

“I think we’re going to have to learn to live with them unless we find some legal means to evict them,” Jody Smith, who moved to Richmound four years ago because of the cheap house prices, told us. “They’re not going to get this chance again in their organization. So they’re going to be here. I don’t know. It could be weeks, months, years.” 

While the cult is showing a few cracks, and Didulo is posting repeatedly about the need for a plumber because they don’t have heat and hot water, they’re showing no sign of backing down.  

But Smith says he’s not going to back down, either. “I’m 73 years old,” he told VICE News as he flipped burgers at the BBQ. “How much time do I have left? I’m not going to let them ruin it.” 

To this day, the cold war between the town and their wacky new neighbors continues. 


Shauna Sehn jokingly bows to Brad Miller and calls him "the real king" after one of Brad's speeches before the protest.

On our final day there, we caught up with Mayor Miller on the baseball diamond in front of the school and chatted with him over the sound of the semis doing their thing. He’s trying a new tactic on top of the protest he's waging: He wants to get a town bylaw regarding nuisance adopted in the hopes it would give the town a legal way to kick Didulo not just out of the school, but anywhere she and her followers try to settle. 

“With the media, the RCMP,  all the people in southwest Saskatchewan, and Canada, we gotta stick together and we gotta get this rectified,” said Miller. “Even if they leave, we can’t just say ‘it’s not going to happen again.’ We have to rectify the problem.”

Miller told us he’s proud of how his town has come together to push back on the cult who came there. With the hospitality you can only find on the prairies, he excused himself and made his way back to join his people on the front line against the cult. 

Behind him, the horns blared on.