|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.
|Gathering Site Map, click here for larger version.|
|Picture from site #1|
|Picture from site #3|
|Picture from site #2|
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.
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.
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?"
|Gathering Map (For bigger image, click here)|