2015 Gathering

The 44th annual rainbow gathering of the tribes is happening in the Black Hills of South Dakota." (The consensed areas include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and South Dakota.) For posts related to the gathering location including directions and site updates, click here. For the Howdy Folks, click here. To find out specifically where the gathering will be, you need to understand how we find our "home" each year. Click here for an overview of the process. To make it into the gathering without a ticket, click here. Please ignore all rumors of cancellation. Copy and distribute this information freely.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

July 4 - Praying/Meditating in Unity


Image by Angela Marie Hatch


If you're not sure how we do the 4th of July at the gathering, click here for info on how we do the 4th.

June 29 Q&A About Rainbow Gathering

Family on the land is focalizing this effort to address questions and concerns from everyone and anyone. 


Friday, June 26, 2015

Updates from the Land 6/26/15

Updated at 7:50 PM  6/27/15 California Time.  Sorry folks but I went to bed before everyone who is in SD was able to send me their comments. 

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Our confrontation with "hundreds of angry warriors coming to evict us" yesterday turned out, unsurprisingly turned out to be a protest camp on the turnoff to the gathering populated by only our regular detractor friends James Swan and Dwayne Martin aka Chanupa. We brought them some coffee and fruit salad.

The gathering is a few hundred people, things are getting set up slowly, the ovens are arriving, kid village is here.

There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Our fears were put to rest as soon as we got to the road and saw the reality of the protest.

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There are plans to build an Indigenous camp but it hasn't happened yet. So if you're heading into the gathering you can plug into this effort.

It will probably be a 'zero tolerance area' for drugs, nudity, etc. area.

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There are more Lakota inside the gathering participating in what is happening than there are protesting on the road.

Some family from the gathering will be at today's events surrounding the 40th anniversary of Leonard Peltier's imprisonment.  Click here for details. Click here for the video from Leonard Peltier Day. 



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Long and deep conversation is happening with those protesting the gathering onsite.  Good communications are happening. 

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Illegal searches being done by USFS on the way in. 

The NIMT is spending about $250,000 'on managing'... us but they do not spend any money on our cleanup - said on camera at USFS Public Meeting on June 26

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I've heard there are a lot of threats out there. I just wanna tell ya'll that all is peaceful. The only "protesters" at the road are XXXXX  and XXXX XXXX (XXXX ). Other than XXX's wife there doesn't seem to be anyone else with them. Not one person. They keep managing to spread this fear of some invasion, but really, we've been told over and over again that they have no following. They're not even welcome on Pine Ridge. On site everything is super peaceful. We have more and more native support and attendance. Real grassroots AIM members are gathering with us (not fake, blustery ones) and everyone from council members to traditionals and everyone in between seems to be positive about us right now. A video of support will be published momentarily.
So please folks, there's nothing to fear. Come out, bring your love and respect, and pray with us on the fourth!
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Gathering Site Map, click here for larger version.

USFS Meeting

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These comments are from a friend of mine who was in Hill City yesterday and attended the USFS meeting.


Yesterday XXXX and I arrived in Hill City. It's beautiful here! We were eating ice cream at a little parlor downtown yesterday afternoon, when 2 forest rangers came in passing out fliers for the town meeting. They were very nice. I introduced myself as Grateful and one of the ladies touched her heart and said, " I am, too. Namaste." Then giggled and said, "and my name is Hilary." It was cute

We walked from our hotel to the meeting and there were signs up along the way that read "public meeting" with arrows pointing people in the right direction. The meeting was led by forest ranger, Craig Bobzien, and district ranger, Ruth Esperance. The local deputy sheriff was also there and he responded to some of the questions. I counted about 80 people present.

2 local news stations were present as well, rolling film during the meeting and interviewing both XXXX and XXXX. KEVN and News Center 1, which is the NBC for Rapid City.

The forest service began the meeting by stating that they have been working cooperatively with the Rainbow Family and that their goal is a safe and successful gathering. They did an overview of how the process works in choosing the sight location. Then they did an overview of the Operating Plan that has been put into place. They talked about the fire ban situation and explained with all the rain they've had here recently, and looking at a case by case basis, we have been approved for specific fires in our gathering site. They spoke of the daily visits to the gathering location by Resource Advisors to ensure we are in compliance with the Operating Plan. Then, they opened up the floor for questions. The following questions/concerns were addressed;
  • Latrines and preventing local water sources from becoming contaminated
  • How do we shower in the woods
  • 250k spent - national incident management team
  • Concerns of increase in violence and crime due to influx of people
  • Additional law enforcement presence in Hill City
  • Contingency plans in place
  • ATV road closures
  • Who spends money and time on clean up
  • Preventing non-paying guests in town from using bathrooms and showers
  • Internet gossip of a conflict between the Rainbow and the Lakota
  • Complaints of illegal searches and asked where these can be reported; this question was not answered. They could not provide any info on where to file complaints and said that there were only legal searches going on.
  • Local business owners expressed its been good for business. Many spoke up and said they welcome the gathering, not a single person spoke out against the gathering.

There was no one there representing the Lakota or Sioux Nation.

Forest rangers said if there is public interest for another town meeting, it will be scheduled in the near future.

XXX stood up and tried to more thoroughly address the concerns of latrines and online gossip of conflict, but they didn't really let her finish, stating the floor was open for questions, not statements. After that, XXX  announced that the Family would be happy to answer any more questions after the meeting if people had interest. And they did! Many of us Family were approached by community members after the meeting and engaged in constructive conversation and answered more of their questions.

After the meeting ended, I walked around talking to as many community members as I could. I asked people what they thought of the meeting, if their questions were answered, what they thought of the gathering, etc. Out of at least a dozen people I spoke with, not one of them had anything negative to say. It was all positive and uplifting and many said they would like to come visit the gathering. I met one guys named Les, turns out he is one of the Resource Advisors making daily visits to the site. He was so happy to have the Rainbow Family as his assignment! He said he loves visiting the gathering and that we are bunch of, "really neat people."

As people left, XXX and XXX  were handing out copies of Alway Free.

Overall I think everything is going well here. The vibe is peaceful and mellow from my experience so far 


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Kid Village on the land. About 500 people on site . Most folks getting pulled over are not at the site but in other areas enroute to the gathering.

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Such cool things are happening. We're buying the bulk of our food from native-owned stores (though we have to drive super far to do it). Lots of native family are coming to the site, visiting us, and then saying "Wow! You're nothing like we were told you were!" (in the positive sense). The council member from Rosebud XXXXX and his brother XXXX (whom I totally esteem) came out, walked through our gathering and reversed their dismissal of us. After that more Rosebud folks came out and loved it--they'll be back to gather with us longer.

We have a couple of grandmothers with us, our young tocala members are awesome, and there's a great vibe throughout the camp.

Lots of folks coming out in the morning as well (including a treaty council who is happy we're here). Things are great here on the land. Ignore al rumors of violence and cancellation. They're totally bogus!

Love to all!
 

USFS Meeting Regarding Rainbow Gathering June 26

U.S. Forest Service officials will host a town hall meeting to answer any questions about the upcoming Rainbow Family Gathering in the central Black Hills.

 The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club at 297 Walnut Ave. in Hill City on Friday. Forest Service and a National Incident Management Team personnel will present an update of the current situation, provide background information and answer questions from the public.

The Rainbow Family is a loose knit group of people from across the country that each year holds a large gathering for two weeks in a national forest. This year, the group has selected a site near Deerfield Lake southwest of Hill City.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline.


Keystone XL is a proposed tar sands pipeline that would connect Alberta, Canada with Gulf Coast refineries that would carry 800,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil across the United States to be refined, exported and burned.

Tar sands oil has a massive carbon footprint — sometimes requiring more energy to produce than it creates — and Keystone XL is the key to making burning that oil economically feasible.

The fight against Keystone XL has been powered by an unprecedented wave of grassroots actions, led by people from all walks of life, in every state in the United States — and beyond. For general information, visit 350.org.

As is the case with most environmentally damaging projects, big business tries to route the damage through poorer communities thinking they will get less resistance.  Many of the reservations and sacred lands in South Dakota are in the path of this monster.

Watch this message from Native youth to President Obama.


I encourage you to learn more and support the children who are trying to save the land for their generation and the ones that come after them.  For information on efforts to stop the Keystone XL in South Dakota, learn more by reading one of these articles:

Argues Leader Article

Lakota Voice Rez News

Indian Country Today

My hope is that the gathering in South Dakota helps gathering participants (no matter where they are gathering this year) to learn how we can support the people of South Dakota in this effort and that we can then take action to stop this atrocity against the earth, the First Nation people, and the children everywhere.  Together we can make a difference.









Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Updates from South Dakota June 23

Post updated at 8:30 AM on June 24 (Cali time)
These are updates from friends of mine who are on site, reposted without names.  The I is not me.

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I'm passing on news from the land in the Black Hills. My name is XX. I am XX partner. She has been at the seed camp and now on site. She has been to all of the councils since mid week last week. She asked me to share some of her insights. I am doing this from memory so details may be slightly rearranged.

The process of gaining trust & acceptance from the Lakotas has been intense but rewarding. There has been a group of young Lakotas staying in camp. They have expressed a desire to experience our process of building and maintaining infrastructure for large gathering so that they may be able to apply it to their own events such as the Sundances. They have been supportive and consider themselves to be cultural bridgers.

Apparently there was two agro incidents at the week of councils where a Lakota man spoke from anger on different days. That was two negative voices over many days of process. It seems that there are respected elders that are open to the gathering. The majority of the interaction has been welcoming. The young people have asked for a few Rainbows to meet their grandfathers and grand mothers at their homes on the res. Feather has been involved in this outreach and today a group of Rainbows agreed to join in a work party to clean and maintain the Pine Ridge pow wow grounds.
There is interest in elders and locals joining the gathering so there is plans to set up an elders camp where they could be and be tended to.

It looks to be a small gathering. Hundreds instead of thousands. At this point the LEOs nearly outnumber the Rainbows. I have heard that they are being intense and I have heard that they are pretty mellow. Depends on who you talk to.

If you choose to go, leave the alcohol and drugs out of it. This is a different kind of a gathering where we are guests of a host and it is important that we quickly learn what is considered respect and what is not.

It has been an uplifting experience so far from X's perspective.

I'm throwing in my own impressions from afar at this point. It seems that this is what many in Rainbow have been saying we need to do in order to better cooperate on a larger scale with indigenous people all over this continent but especially in the northern plains. The young people are interested in finding people with skills and knowledge in permaculture and food forests and feel that our culture would likely have those minds available. They are right. They are also struggling to keep the XL pipeline out and suffering from abuses of water and land from logging and mining.
Many of us are of like mind and this may give us an opportunity to do some meaningful work that builds trust and sharing between our cultures. We are all aware on some level that we need to work toward regenerating the lands of the entire planet. These people have such a spiritual perspective of the land many of us have aspired to such a belief system. We need to find what we can do to do that work. The people on the ground in the Black Hills on both sides of the cultural divide are doing that work.

I feel that XX and XX and the others that have been working on this outreach should be applauded for taking on such an epic challenge. It is important work

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Picture from site #1
Picture from site #3

Picture from site #2

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Lakota are helping us build Indigenous camp, with workshop spaces to teach about native culture. Today the Shining Light Kitchen bus took a dozen volunteers to Pine Ridge at the invitation of the res, to help clean up their powwow space and bring back Oglala folks who lack transportation but want to see our gathering.

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As many of you know, a group of us went out to Pine Ridge today and cleaned up a park and playground and finish the clean-up of the pow-wow grounds. We had folks ranging from 6 years old to 67, from first time gatherers to folks who started in 1972. Over 30 bags of garbage were delivered to the dump. Once we were done we delivered a donation of food (courtesy of Shining Light Kitchen) to a Necha (traditional family leader) for him to use in his upcoming Sundance.

While we were with him I asked him about some of our more troubling rumors, for example, are today's council members traditionals or "paper indians" (someone on the council for money, not for what's good for the people). He said that many of the council members are traditionals, but that the political system they have doesn't work for them and makes it almost impossible to be of service to the people. He said there is no "war" between "paper indians" and traditionals over the rainbow gathering. The rumor was that the paper indians were saying "yes" to us while the traditionals were saying "no." Once again, yet a different Necha says this isn't the case. It's only a couple of people with a couple of followers. This Necha even mentioned he might come out for the 4th. We're also thinking about arranging a day for us to come back out and help him get his Sundance grounds ready.

(To be fair, Duane Martin (Chanupa) did manage to get the signature of one elder onto his paperwork, but no one's been able to confirm that signature--this particular elder has been in the hospital the entire time). Given the ludicrous amount of negative rumors this year (and the even more ludicrous amount of people believing and spreading them), we've been trying to fact check everything, and this particular piece hasn't been verified.)

Either way, if you're writing or forwarding negative stuff about this gathering and have not talked to ACTUAL first nations people who claim this land, you're ONLY creating senseless negativity, feeding the trolls, and dividing our Family. Period.



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We have spoken to many respected elders. They all either welcome us or are neutral. We have spoken to two old native people who are not respected among their community. They create relentless Internet opposition.

The land is amazing! The gathering is amazing. Our prayer for peace is encouraged by everyone we've spoken to. The people who are not on the land, who have not spoken to the elders, who have not spent the time to go to the reservation and learn the tribal politics, and again--THOSE WHO ARE NOT ON THE LAND, HAVE NO IDEA WHATS GOING ON. If you would like to know how well everything is going, how intense the whole experience is, how mutually beneficial this is, contact someone in the land. The Internet is being coopted by agent provocateurs and misinformants and even well intentioned people who are parroting things they do not understand. Many people have come to see us, locals and natives. Everyone except Dwane Martin is very kind and welcoming. Dwane is not even welcome on the Rez and many people have mentioned despising him. They often just laugh when they hear about James Swan. That's the simple truth. All the elders tell us some version of, "you guys are praying for peace, why would that be more objectionable than uranium mines and KXL?"

Monday, June 22, 2015

Invite to Pow Wow After the Gathering

The more people that avoid the SD camp the more hate wins and shows Duane and james can terrorize people just like ISIS does...BUT I have a quasi novel idea....Im going to hold a small "Micro" gathering of my own...not a official fam gathering...just me myself and whoever wants to come out...timed to Co Inside with our Oglala Nation Pow wow so that way everyone can finally come together in a good way and pray, play and have fun...will be posting more info when I build a page for it but heres the dates and some info:
Oglala Lakota Nation Wacipi Rodeo Fair
Date: July 30-31& August 1-2, 2015
Location: Pine Ridge SD
Registration will open on Thursday
5 Grand entries will be held beginning on Friday
$10 Advance or $15 at the Gate
Contact: Kevin 605-867-8422
ALSO this would possibly allow the people going to Michigan to STILL be able to come through SD and see what the REAL Lakota are all about...
Take care of each other out there...

Why I'm Sad

I understand that family are concerned about this year's gathering. More rumors than facts are swirling around and folks on the land (in what ever state that is) are doing good work to create a safe and peaceful gathering. The situation online is awful and disheartening. 

What is breaking my heart is the mean-spirited way in which family is addressing other people online.  I had to take most of yesterday off from dealing with this as I couldn't see clearly and with respect for all people. Why do we speak this way to each other online when we treat each other with so much more love and respect when we can touch each other?  I think everyone online needs to go take a walk in the woods, the canyons, or the beaches -- whatever is near you.

Is this what the way of peace looks like?  I am so disappointed in so many of you.  Why are we not practicing ways of Creating Peace online?

We are strong willed family, but perhaps now is the time to stop talking and go do what every it is you feel in your heart is the best thing to do, in what ever state is in your heart to go to, with what ever people you feel in your heart to gather with and create peace. 

Can we all just take a break, meditate, pray, practice yoga or what ever it is that helps you ground your energy?  We need you, but we need a calm, focused, and grounded you.

Om shanti shanti shanti




We, who are brothers & sisters, children of spirit, families of life on earth, friends of nature & of all people, children of humankind calling ourselves the rainbow gathering, humbly invite:
All races, peoples, tribes, communes, men, women, children, individuals -- out of love.
All nations & national leaders -- out of respect
All religions & religious leaders -- out of faith
All politicians -- out of charity
to join with us in gathering together for the purpose of expressing our sincere desire that there shall be peace on earth, harmony among all people. This gathering to take place July 1-7, 2015, in the sacred Black Hills of occupied Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho territory & to hold open worship, prayer, chanting or whatever is the want or desire of the people, but upon the fourth day of July until noon to ask that there be a meditative, contemplative silence wherein we, the invited people of the world may consider & give honour & respect to anyone or anything that has aided in the positive evolution of humankind & nature upon this, our most beloved & beautiful world -- asking blessing upon we people of this world & hope that we people can effectively proceed to evolve, expand, & live in harmony & peace.

Please be respectful of the First Nations' land, culture, and spirituality. Indigenous people have asked us not to imitate indigenous cultures.

We love you!

Updates from South Dakota June 22

Posted at 9:15 PM June 22 California Time based on information gathered in the last 24 hours.

If you are lost, please go to the Hill City Visitor Center. They can provide good directions.
23935 Hwy 385, Hill City, SD 57745 or call  605.574.2368

Forwarded message from a friend on the land.

All of the people we talked to on Pine Ridge were open and welcoming. They, too, are concerned by this incredible negative barrage of press, but they're still open and welcoming.
For those of you telling others to Boycott--Barry and others: Have you talked directly with any Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Cheyenne, or Arapaho or are you advocating for them because of the internet? We on the land are in constant dialogue with the First Nations people here. We have tocalas here to make sure we're not doing anything in a bad way (cultural appropriation, etc.), have been asked to stay by many, and are meeting respectfully with war chiefs (that just happened today). How many verifiable First Nations people have you boycotters actually talked to? Do you realize how much Duiane Martin (Chanupa) and his followers are actively lying about what's going on? That (according to a friend of mine--I haven't had time to peruse FB) many new FB accounts (those with few friends) have suddenly turned up on Rainbow pages claiming to be first nations? Are you aware that there's a CONCERTED campaign to malign the gathering that you're now full-heartedly participating in? If you really cared, wouldn't you come and listen to what's being said by the people themselves?

I say again to all strong-hearted, respectful family--this gathering is happening. It's wanted--not by paper indians (who actually said "No!" to us), but by traditionals and many others. There are many concerns, but we're working through them with full hearts.

That being said, here's rumor control:

1. Regardless of fake videos, COPS WERE NEVER CALLED ON CHANUPA (Duane Martin)

2. "Fuck the treaty council" was not said by anyone

3. No one is blocking any gate and no one has seen any "activists" that are supposed to be shutting us down. (Though thanks to this rumor we have a ton of LEO's sitting at both gates trying to "protect" us. That's actually the worst thing I've seen at the site.)

4. There is a rumor going around that "paper indians have told us we could stay. This is false. The council members who the scouts met with last Monday were tribal council members (i.e. "paper indians") and they told us we could NOT stay.

Still to this day no traditional leader has said we should not be here. Many have said it's not a problem. Some have said it's a good thing. That's how it stands.

All is peaceful on the land.

If you were thinking of coming and have a desire to create alliances with our native brothers and sisters, then come home! Some of these traditional tocala (warrior society) brothers are putting themselves on the line for us to be here. I, for one, stand behind them until we have word from a traditional elder, the treaty council, etc. that we should leave. (At that point the tocalas will leave too).

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First off, some of us went to the res yesterday and met with a Nacha who leads sundances on Pine Ridge. He asked us for three things, two of which I will mention here:
1. To help to free Leonard Peltier
2. To get the Black Hills returned to the First Nations peoples

(the third thing people here on the land can take care of)
He asked us to walk our talk. He said we could talk for months and nothing could change, but he's willing to give us the chance to walk our talk.

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Everything at the camp is good, transportation to and from the rez is being arranged, as well as kitchens supporting local businesses by purchasing food. 6 tipis are being assigned for indigenous educational workshops. reserved parking for indigenous families ad handicap, closest to the gathering site. A ponca representative came to hold a peace council on behalf of the indigenous opposition, he left seeing nothing wrong ethically.

The Lakota delegation represents the youth, the next generation, the children to the on coming era. For too long we have became silent, watching older leadership bring nothing but tactics that are ineffective to the liberation of our Indigenous peoples. The enemy of our enemy is our friend. Our enemy does not want us to be friends. We want our black hills backs, the rainbow are skilled in critical mass and family oriented enclaves. The time is here. Love.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Town Hall Meeting Tuesday, June 23

On   Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. there will be a community meeting for local residents to learn more about the gathering, ask questions, bring up concerns and/or problems.  Gathering participants will be on hand to answer your questions. I'm guessing the United States Forest Service Incident Command Team will be there as well.

The meeting will take place at the Hill City Senior Center across the street from the 1880 train station at  227 Walnut Ave., Hill City, South Dakota 57745.

For family that are going into town, please be respectful to the local community, shop in the local stores, and meet someone new.


Leondar Peltier 40th Anniversary Events June 25 & 26

Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. If you are not familiar with this issue, please click here and educate thyself.

There is a rainbow hipstory about gathering related efforts to free Mr. Peltier (we'll save that for on the land).

If you are planning on heading to South Dakota, please participate in one of these two events if at all possible. If you do attend, please be on your best and most respectful behavior. 


Howdy Folks

Directions Updated 6/28/15 12 PM California Time (scroll to bottom of post for directions)

This year folks (with boots on the ground scouting) looked for the best site for the health and well-being of this family in the consensus states. Unfortunately, the best site they found is in the Black Hills (Kȟe Sapa) of South Dakota.

"The 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie ended Red Cloud’s War when it set aside the Black Hills (Kȟe Sapa) of western South Dakota and other lands and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana for the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation)" (from Indian Country article). Click here to read.

When gold was discovered in the Black Hills (Kȟe Sapa) in 1877, the United States government passed a law that took away the land from the The Great Sioux Nation. In 1980, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the 1877 law was illegal and ruled that the Sioux needed to be paid for the land that was taken. However, The Great Sioux Nation refuses to sell and the land dispute is on-going and active at the present time. For more background information, visit the Great Sioux Nation Treaty Lands, Treaty council meetings are actively happening on reservations in the area.

Therefore, this national forest is not like other national forests in the United States. There is an on-going legal dispute between the United States government and The Great Sioux Nation. For this reason, many long time gatherers who I hold in the utmost esteem have decided to gather elsewhere and pray for world peace and the positive evolution of the planet. I know many people who feel very strongly about this stance.

Unfortunately, we (meaning each of us who participated or failed to participate in finding home this year) assumed that our cultural practices for dealing with other communities was a fair and open process. We did not consider how other cultures would view our practices.

As some would argue, this smacks of white privilege. I would reframe that as the dominant culture privilege -- a practice most commonly but not exclusively engaged in by people of European ancestry.  A more conscious and loving approach would be reach out to other communities and learn their processes. Then approach others through their process. I do not in anyway place the blame for this on the folks who scouted. We are all responsible as we all expect everyone to do it "our way."  We are all responsible in that we are a family and so few of us contribute to the process of scouting.

While we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, family on the land are working closely with individuals from First Nations in the area to create a positive, healing and important gathering for everyone.


All of this being said, the most important request I can make of family is to gather for the 4th of July and meditate, pray, think positive thoughts for the healing of the planet and ourselves -- no matter where you gather.

I ask each person to look deep in their hearts and make a decision for themselves that insures what is happening in South Dakota is a safe, sane, and respectful gathering. If this means you come and help create that, blessings to you. If this means you go elsewhere and help create positive energy elsewhere, blessings to you.

For those who feel in their hearts that making the pilgrimage to South Dakota will be an important first step, please honor the energy of this gathering. Many individuals from Native American cultures will be at this gathering and we hope to facilitate workshops in which gathering participants can learn from the people who have called this place sacred for thousands of years. I respectfully ask that everyone help create positive interactions in this intersection of two cultures.

I am not an expert on Sioux culture, but some specific things that have been mentioned as disrespectful are nudity, alcohol, uncovered arms and legs in ceremony, women wearing pants in ceremony, illegal drugs, cultural appropriations of any kind including wearing pseudo native ceremonial wear, practicing rituals or ceremonies from a culture other than your own, and practicing Native American drumming tradition.

Please do minimal digging in the earth. 

❤ ❤ The Alternatives  ❤ ❤

This situation has caused untold heart break for many, many people native and non-native alike. Therefore, a great alternative to coming to South Dakota is participating in one of the many small responsibly focalized gathering. Please do not go online and call a gathering! Local circles can meet in person and properly focalize a gathering if there is not already one happening in your area. Call your friends and start talking.  Go to your local co-op and find out if anyone knows what might be happening in your area.  Unless I get word from trusted friends that a given regional is open to inviting the world, I will not be posting information on regionals on this blog. However, that situation may change as new information becomes available.

Come for cleanup only.  If you want to make sure that we honor our promise to clean up, then show up on July 8 and be part of the cleanup crew. If you come for cleanup, be prepared to work hard and be respectful of native traditions and practices. Consider cleanup as a sacred duty to heal the earth.

Think of this as an opportunity to create the knowledge in your area for gathering safely and sanely. Participate in the silent prayer on the morning of the 4th. Imagine, a great wave of silence rolling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Think of the positive energy we can create with 20-100 circles praying for world peace. Having multiple gatherings doesn't mean we don't love each other, it just means that this year we're trying something different for reasons that will vary by person. Many people have been wanting to see many small gatherings happen every year on the 4th of July for years. Perhaps this year then is the unfolding of that heart song.

❤ ❤ Directions and Information ❤ ❤

Consensus was reached late yesterday (June 19). The council consenting included members of our local First Nations (as you will see by how the wording of the welcome has been changed). A small group of us are headed to Pine Ridge right now (morning of June 20) to meet with a very respected elder today. And still, as of today no traditional Necha (sp?) has said no to the family.

Spring council has reached consensus and moved to the site. The following three consenses were agreed on in circle before the final agreement to move to site. The wording of each consensus was discussed with a delegation of indigenous people who came to site in our circle each day with us for three days.

Consensus #1: All land is sacred.

Consensus #2: "Ignore all rumors. There is a massive amount of misinformation being spread on the internet and in media, and very little true information. To know what is true about events on the land, contact those who are actually on the land.

Some rumor control volunteers (may be rarely in phone service as the gathering progresses):
  • Val - (435) 260-8730
  • Jesse - (657) 203-7808
  • Shining Light Kitchen (Facebook)
  • Justin Rowland (facebook)(Oyate Media Network, Oglala-Lakota)
  • Feather - (406) 546-2609
Consensus #3:

"We, who are brothers & sisters, children of spirit, families of life on earth, friends of nature & of all people, children of humankind calling ourselves the rainbow gathering, humbly invite:
All races, peoples, tribes, communes, men, women, children, individuals -- out of love.
All nations & national leaders -- out of respect
All religions & religious leaders -- out of faith
All politicians -- out of charity
to join with us in gathering together for the purpose of expressing our sincere desire that there shall be peace on earth, harmony among all people. This gathering to take place July 1-7, 2015, in the sacred Black Hills of occupied Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho territory & to hold open worship, prayer, chanting or whatever is the want or desire of the people, but upon the fourth day of July until noon to ask that there be a meditative, contemplative silence wherein we, the invited people of the world may consider & give honour & respect to anyone or anything that has aided in the positive evolution of humankind & nature upon this, our most beloved & beautiful world -- asking blessing upon we people of this world & hope that we people can effectively proceed to evolve, expand, & live in harmony & peace.

Please be respectful of the First Nations' land, culture, and spirituality. Indigenous people have asked us not to imitate indigenous cultures.

We love you!


From Rapid City, SD, take Hwy 16 south west to Hill City, SD (about 30 miles). In Hill City go to the intersection of Hwy 16 and Main St and head west on Main (shown as 308 on maps). Take this to Deerfield road and continue northwest (left) for about 17 miles to Deerfield Lake on your right. Just past the lake make a left on Ditch Creek Road. Then take the first right onto FR 294 and over a bridge. Drive about 5 miles on FR 294 to Welcome Home.
Deerfield Lake sign is next to the EXON station up the hill. Very important I had trouble finding that road.
ALL POINTS WEST: DO NOT go thru Rapid City or you will drive 70 miles out of your way! (unfortunately the person who provided this information didn't provide an alternative for those coming from the west or points south of the Black Hills such as Interstate 80). If you come in one of these alternate roots, please email me and let me know how you came and what the gotchas are for the next folks trying to take the same route)

Alternate directions coming from I-80. Warning I have not driven these.
From I-80 points east take Hwy 385 From I-80 at the west end of Nebraska (near mile marker 59 and the town of Sidney Nebraska) will take you up to Hill City.
  OR
From Interstate 25 in Wyoming at mile marker 126, you can take Hwy/Route 18/20 east to 85/16 north. Near Newcastle, stay on Route 16 to Custer, South Dakota and then north on Route 16/385 to Hill City.

Here's info on Hwy 85 construction in Wyoming. Doesn't look bad.

If you come up from Interstate 80 or 25 using these directions, please email me when you get to Hill City and let me know how it went so I can update the blog.

There is no bus transportation from Rapid City to Hill City  Rental cars are available at the airport and there is a shuttle bus that you can take. You would need to call the airport to find out that cost. There is also a tour company, Black Hills Open-Top Tours ( 605-644-6736) that will provide transportation from the airport to Hill City if needed.

Gathering Map (For bigger image, click here)

Click here for a PDF version of the Howdy Folks (directions to the gathering).

Elevation of dinner circle is 6200'

Coordinates from Acme Mapper, work also in Google and Bing parking/trailhead:
N 44.00321 W 103.87768

Dinner circle: N 43.97963 W 103.86213

Acme Mapper parking/trailhead: http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=44.00321,-103.87768&z=15&t=T&marker0=44.00321%2C-103.87768%2CN%2044.00321%20W%20103.87768



Friday, June 19, 2015

Spring council updates (guest post)

Today's guest post comes from "sibling."  Enjoy!




There is so much being said about the happenings at spring council from people who are not there, and this is usual. Please remember, if you are not there you, well, you are not there! It is difficult to watch it from afar; especially difficult is sifting out the truth out of what we hear.

I got involved on the phone with those that are opposed to the way that the spring council and the gathering have been evolving. These people are passionate about their cause for good, very good reasons. There is so much here that we do not understand because so many of us come from a place of whiteness and/or privilege. We come from – our values, our reactions, our expectations – the dominator culture. The concepts of domination and privilege are so deep in our psyche we have a difficult time seeing it. Know that it is there, be gentle on yourself and others as we explore and discover these deep issues. Every person can learn something new about this.

I bring this up because I have spoken to a few participants in the Strong Heart Solidarity Project and respect the work that they do. There are some very important messages that I have taken away from those conversations with these passionate and engaged activists.

One of them mentioned that they are interested in doing some skill-­shares on the land. One of the skill-­shares they do is called Decolonization & Unsettling White Privilege. They describe this event as one that “may be provocative to the euro-­ centric mind.” Imagine that! YES! These concepts are provocative – they will irritate your inner peace, they will create a strong reaction—they are designed to shake us up. Up and out of our shells of complacency. We need to move further, yes further so we can become better allies to all of those oppressed by the dominator culture. I do hope that the Strong Heart Lakota Solidarity Project can come and do some skill-­ shares on the land, wherever we gather. We need this – who is the “we”? The human species is the “we”! I do hope that this and other skill-­shares can happen.

The self-­governed volunteer body that we call and do each spring before the gathering, our council, is a rare thing in this country. This practice that the rainbow gathering experience has shaped is only one of the alternatives to the dominator culture. We have no rules; we have traditions and very few, at that. We pass an object most likely to the left, and we strive to listen to the one with the object that has been selected for the purpose of focusing and taking turns. This process, our process, is undisciplined, time consuming, and radical because it allows for freedom of expression. Know that it has always worked out for the purpose of the gatherings, and know that when one engages the heart and the mind, the best will come through.

Let the process work. Be patient. Let the all the voices be heard. We all want respect. But what does that look like? Here are some suggestions on how to be respectful: practice tolerance and patience; be concise; be on topic; speak from your heart and mind – do not speak for others or about others; wait your turn, if you need to bring a – do it; and something to write with so you will be prepared to present your ideas when it is your turn; be watchful for new people entering the circle – if there is no established method for new folks entering the circle, be mindful of other who may not know how it works; no name calling; and use “I” statements versus “we” or “you” – own your feelings, thoughts and ideas.

So please, it is often difficult, please remain calm, and know that within and throughout spirit(s) is walking with us and let us remain open to our highest purpose.

In solidarity and peace.
Just another sibling