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.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Black Hills, Rainbow Gathering, and the Lakota

I know there are a lot of people who do not want to gather in South Dakota out of respect for the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation) for whom the Black Hills are sacred.  In United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians (1980), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Black Hills had been illegally taken and the US Government tried to pay for the land. However, the Sioux refused to take the money and are trying to get their land back: an effort that is on-going at present. Read more at Indian Country Today. While I do not have any details on where these efforts are at as of today, I think we need to understand the situation in order to make informed decisions. (as an FYI, the Lakota are just one clan of the Sioux Nation).

One perspective is that holding the rainbow gathering in the Black Hills would be one more dominant culture crash landing on the cultures of the people who were here first and would be disrespectful to the tribes who hold Kȟe Sapa sacred and consider it a place for prayer. I understand that many people believe family should go to the tribal elders and ask for permission to gather and I honor and respect that perspective and it is happening. I also agree that a sensitivity to tribal cultures and the issues faced by the local people are critically important.

This won't be the first time we have gathered on land sacred to first nation tribes. Think about it. Every place we gather has some tribal connection. I live in a neighborhood that was once a Kumeyaay village and many other people probably could say the same thing about one tribe or another. I don't say this because I disregard the genocide of the first nation people, I say this because dealing with what has happened in the United States is not easy to do and we can't do it if we do not talk to one another in a respectful manner.

Telling people not to go to the Black Hills is one very valid opinion. However, the other perspective is that too many of us are ignorant of what is happening to the people who live in South Dakota. Maybe if we gather there, we can become educated on the issues and how we can help: while we are in South Dakota,  after we go back to our communities, or even if we are unable to come home this year.

I have been to the Black Hills before (not for a gathering) and learned a bit. When we avoid meeting the people and the land who have been negatively impacted by the practices of the United States and which each and every one of us are implicated in, we can more easily ignore what is going on outside of our neighborhoods and communities. This ignorance is harmful to everyone. I think a better way is to learn deeply about the issues, dialog deeply with the people who live there, and see how we as a family and as individuals can help support the local communities in what ever manner they wish.  I do believe it's important that we support the efforts of the local tribes and not try to tell them how to do things. However, one doesn't need to go to the gathering to do this.


As I explore the possibility of gathering in the Black Hills, I do not feel there is a one size fits all answer. Please think about this: when you see someone being beaten on a street corner, you have choices to make.  Of course you can walk away and not participate, but is this really the most conscious option?  Maybe another option is to get involved if you can do so from the right space. From that perspective, here are links to just some of the issues facing tribal communities in South Dakota.

Living Conditions on Pine Ridge Reservation
Protecting Black Hills water from uranium mines - The South Dakota Clean Water Alliance

Perhaps in going to south Dakota, we can get involved with the issues identified by the tribes, educate ourselves, take that information back to our communities, and find out what issues our local tribes are facing. Perhaps we can even hold workshops on these issues at the gathering so that we can become more aware of how our actions are negatively impacting tribal people, not only in South Dakota, but in every state of the union. If you are able to stay after the gathering and offer assistance where and if it is needed, this is the true rainbow spirit in action. After all, every square inch of this country was tribal lands at one point, probably including where you live.

Based on the information I have from people who have been gathering for many years, family in the area having been meeting with tribal members on the reservation for a few weeks now. I am confident that more detailed information will be shared with those at spring council on the land. However, there have been meetings and family was invited to a wake for a deceased member of the tribe. Family in the area have been on Kili Radio, which is run by tribal members. According to my friends, 95% of the tribal members they have spoken with are receptive and open to this gathering taking place in the Black Hills (Kȟe Sapa).  Many members of the tribe have indicated that they will visit the gathering. Grandmothers have been interacting with our family to learn more about who we are and what we will be doing as well as allowing their children to interact with family in the area. We've even been invited to hold our council on 20 acres of land on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I've spoken with three people today who are in South Dakota and all say that while some tribal people are not 100% clear as to exactly what a gathering is, most of them are very supportive or have no opinion on the matter.

While it's true we have not had a formal invitation, it's also true that many people are welcoming us.

Perhaps what's relevant is not where we gather but how gather.  If we gather with respect to the local tribes, work on a deep healing of ourselves, and focus our energy on walking our talk, I believe that this gathering will be a positive experience for those who travel to South Dakota from out of state and those who live there.

Finally, there are less than two handfuls of folks in South Dakota now working with the local communities and others to create a safe and sane gathering. If you are an excellent communicator who has the ability to reach out to people living different lives than you are, help is needed to set up town hall meetings, meet with the local tribes, and share information in a positive and constructive manner. If you feel you are such a person, please email me and I will connect you up. However, if you're just looking to make it home early, that ain't gonna happen.

All this being said, I would love to hear what you think.

PS from Monday morning 

Thanks to all the different perspectives on this issue that are being shared. I value all of your perspectives very much. I wrote this as an attempt to lay out complex issues.  I hope you take action in the manner that your heart believes is the right path for you, the family, the Sioux Nation, and this beautiful planet we call home. 

99 comments:

  1. Damned sister, you do so well in presenting things. Makes me proud of Rainbow and what it stands for. Well thought out.
    I have been doing networking for various needs on the Pine Ridge for a long time now and know that what you say about them in right on.
    I do hope that some together Rainbow folks will connect and perhaps stay on to contribute what they can to the needs, which are many.

    BIG HUG
    Rainbow Hawk

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    1. A couple of things:
      - Has the fact that there is a severe drought in the area been addressed? The Forest Service has a blanket ban on ALL campfires outside of designated fire pits at official campsites. Gathering in the area is a recipe for extreme confrontation with the LEOs.
      - Have Family members informed those Grandmothers that there will be aggressive alcoholics, crackheads, and meth-heads shaking down people in the Parking Lot, and shoplifting in town?

      I am heartbroken at the decline of respect and love at what was once a PEACE gathering.

      Hugs and tears,
      Sean Aaron Osborne

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    2. I live near the Black Hills. We're not in a drought, and haven't been since the fall of 2013. We've had lots of rain since early May, are getting more tonight, and have had issues with flooding. The weather-related issues for a large human gathering will be with rain, thunderstorms, mud, insects....

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    3. We are NOT in a drought. Towns have been flooded (Lusk WY) rivers and creeks out of banks. Niobrara River that I could once jump across is now a half mile wide. Some have received more than 20 inches of rain. Normal is maybe 7! Roads closed, bridges washed out. 2012 was a drought with less than an inch of rain. Have 150 acres on the South edge of Black Hills in the Pine Ridge area. Who can I contact to let others know they are welcome to camp on the land? Pepper

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  2. Hello Karin
    As usual, thank you for keeping so many people informed. My one question is, is S. Dakota definitely where the gathering will be, or might it still be elsewhere? I am a CALM facilitator, so knowing where supplies go is very helpful. Thank you again.

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    1. I think it's 99.9% likely at this point that the gathering will be in South Dakota. Of course until spring council is over, it's not 100%.

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  3. Without more information and support shown from the First Nation, I can't now make a decision as to how I feel about this gathering. I agree that we need to hear the heart songs of the First Nation people and to "get involved with the issues" IF that is what we are invited to do, enmasse. A time of healing is certainly needed. I hope that before we open ourselves to being lightworkers to this community that we work hard to mend the wounds we have inflicted upon each other, that we come together as one to teach each other ABOUT each other, to learn to work together as a family and open our arms to heal and teach the next generation of gatherers who will carry this vision forward as we grow older. We have to open our arms to our children and find our way through this dark time before we can be much good to anyone else. I pray we work together in solidarity to strengthen the bonds that hold us together - and that we refuse to allow hatred, division and elitism in our family. This new generation yearns for family and needs to learn about consensus. Might I suggest that we put off any more announcements or decisions until spring council. Unless a shadow council has already met and made the decision for SD I think it's premature to say it's 99.9% certain. I hope for healing at spring council.
    Thank you for all the work you do on behalf of the family and when we receive the go ahead from the local people I will be there with open arms to welcome the many lost and crusty kids who will come to us looking for healing and something more and look forward to a beautiful welcome home.
    Madre

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  4. well written Karin...Gary

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  5. It is time for the return if the white buffalo calf woman. And it is time for the rainbow tribe to join the struggle with the Sioux to free the land.the birth of the white buffalo family will begin in the black hills. Ago!

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    1. Real Paul?
      Thought you lived out of the country

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    2. http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/5009131.Preacher_jailed_for_week_of_rape/

      http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/woman-raped-for-week-by-saviour-1-894327

      A "REMORSELESS" Wembley preacher who raped a woman on seven consecutive days was jailed on Friday.

      Paul Robin Denton, 46, of Barnhill Road, was jailed for 12 years after repeatedly abusing his 32-year-old victim in October 2007.

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  6. Many of us have Pitbulls. I heard they are illegal in SD. Anyone know for sure? If so there could be heartbreaking results.

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    1. They are not illegal in South Dakota. I adopted mine from the Humane Society here in Rapid City, SD

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    2. How can I best prepare the animal shelter I volunteer for in regards to the inevitable wave of animals left behind by the Family in the Black Hills? Please Google "Rainbow Gathering animals left behind" before answering this question. If there is anyone in the Family that deals with this matter directly, it would be great to hear from them. There is a 3 to 1 ratio of humans to dogs, few leashes, and about 5 tons of foreign feces entering the Black Hills in the middle of a dog flu outbreak. We could be forced to turn away Rainbow animals to protect the existing animals at the shelter.

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    3. There is considerable doubt whether the dogs left behind at the Montana gathering were brought by Rainbows or by locals hoping for Rainbows to adopt their unwanted animals (in my opinion).

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    4. The three seed crew girls that thought it would be cool to take kittens to seed crew, and have already unloaded them on us, do you suppose they share your conspiracy theory David?

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  7. We have many problems with alcohol, drugs, gangs, suicide, little economy, no jobs. Our most holy ceremonies will be going on during this time. There are other ways for those truly interested in wanting to 'help us and educate' themselves about our culture and those people are welcome. But, your precense during this time of year will be disruptive to us. As a grandmother and elder and spiritual person I ask you not to come here now.

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    1. I will not be attending, out of respect for your people and traditions. I am sorry that there is not more respect being shown by the people I once called "family."

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    2. I understand your concerns. Perhaps some more information will help. I am a grandmother myself (I'm 69 yo) and have been attending Rainbow Gatherings since 1979.

      We gather every year in the National Forest to pray for peace. The gatherings are absolutely free and non-commercial. They are non-aligned politically and spiritually. We've been doing this since 1972. Entire families and communities come to our gatherings, from newborn babies to people in their 80s. We have our systems pretty together. We are not trying to "play Indian," though certainly many of us admire the traditional Native American way of life and some elements remain from early days when we were trying to figure out how to be as a community/new tribal culture; and we absolutely adopted some things that we thought would be useful, such as the council circle and the use of a talking stick, bowl, or feather to center the conversation. No disrespect is intended. You will also see Tibetan prayer flags, tapestries depicting Hindu gods and goddesses, yoga sessions, Shabbat observances, Sufi dancing, morning meditation, Christian services, and all manner of other cross-cultural/cross-spiritual ceremonies and symbols. People at the gathering pray and worship in whatever manner they choose.

      The vast majority of us have jobs, homes, farms, and families to return to immediately when the gathering is over. We will come to the gathering site, clean up after ourselves, and leave. I don't foresee a bunch of hippies wandering aimlessly into your ceremonies.

      Because people will be coming regardless, could you perhaps share specific concerns, or help us understand how we can mitigate our impact? Thank you.

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    3. Sometimes we do not get what we want and to force ourselves as we have already, has in fact broken the peace, and sure you may clean up but others may not.and being there the tension will interupt..the Nation has spoken..West Virginia has forest , Vermont, North Carolina...This is NOT the time to bother the Nation..May the Great Spirit bless them, and the Elders counsel fire burn long..

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    4. I pray your voice will be heard as it seems that that rainbow gathering would be more harm then good to the tribes already there.

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    5. "Because people will be coming regardless, could you perhaps share specific concerns, or help us understand how we can mitigate our impact? Thank you."
      Make no impact by not going to this gathering. This person politely requested that you and your people to not go there. Please respect their wishes.

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    6. Well that debunks the statement that "no one has asked us not to come". If this happens, we could learn a great deal from how other groups council. We NEED to learn.

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    7. If you come here to hang Tibetan flags or other things on our sacred lands then you are not respecting. Sorry but you are not. You need to learn about what these lands are to the people before you set foot on it. I don't think your people are ready to understand. This is not just some place in the woods for you to hang your hat and do what you want to do. Get it? Also, coming naked or half naked attire is disrespect. I will not tolerate fake "plastic shaman" like "ceremonies" where sweat lodges are built and run like new age white people. You are dealing with the wrong spirits and people. Do NOT bring trash to our sacred land. Women will NOT be able to run naked up there. Sex ceremonies or what have you. Get it now? Do not play around on our sacred lands. It's not yours for taking and using up at YOUR will. it's starting to make me angry that you are ASSERTING your WILL and that's NOT coming with respect. You are not honoring anything and your selfish desires are ugly!! Listen to the people. Find another place if you cannot respect.

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  8. As a Lakota woman I say how will you control your people! Those who will come here to play Indian and disrupt our ceremonies. We don't welcome your invasion into our lives with the pretext of education and help. Stay away.

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  9. How dare you folks disrespect the Lakota People. They don't want our new form of Indianism. Rainbow is a Young Tribe, and we have much to Learn. The first thing we need to learn is respect. You want to help these folks, that's laughable. STAY OUT OF THE BLACK HILLS. Much Love Roaddog...

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  10. The Lakota are open to having rainbow family there, but what they don't want is the drugs, alcohol, & violence....
    The latter sounds like a group of people that have been a black cloud over rainbow, & gives rainbow family a bad name, & that's what the Lakota people don't want.....

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  11. As it currently stands, SD or not, Rainbow is in transition and all who gather need to seriously reflect long and hard about our shared vision. It seems to me that we are seeing a rise in incidents of violence, alcohol use on site, and hard drugs, which are not good for any community or site near which "we" gather. Moreover, the Family needs to focus on the issues that we leave behind like all of the lost or left animals, how gatherings impact the land (when many people do not care about how they tend it whilst there), and also the strain (as well as the positive impacts) on the nearby local communities. As some of the other posters stated above, Rainbows can become educated about the struggles in these communities in another manner. They do not need to bring all of the above issues to these groups to add to problems. As a long time gatherer, more and more, Rainbow feels like a (political) party in the woods.

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  12. As a first nation person, I'm begging you to allow this holy time for the people alone. Please do not come to south Dakota. You are not ready. Many of us are not ready. The elders you are speaking to do not speak for all nations. Thank you.

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    1. I agree Rainbow please stay away from South Dakota

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  13. I am of Pine Ridge. You said that the majority of those you have spoken with and are working with within our communities are welcoming. Yes, we're a very welcoming people. But as another had said we don't want your alcohol, drugs, violence, or help or coming into our communities to educate yourselves to our spiritual ways or plight. Please tell who are the people that you've spoken with and are working with. Are they the tribal council(s), are they the community headmen and women, are they our recognized spiritual elders and leaders, are they the tribal police???

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    1. As a citizen of the reinstated Kingdom of Hawai'i and with the Royal Order of King Kamehameha participating in sweat lodge with the Little Brave family of Pine Ridge, I do have utmost honor and respect. Speaking as just one rainbow sister of the Rainbow Family of Living Light (not as consensus, or as a scout, shadow council, or secret leader) may your valid questions be answered before the Spring Council is 99.9 certain or 100% decided on the 2015 Rainbow Gathering coming to your home lands. I will not be attending and I would retreat from going uninvited by the recognized Spiritual Elders and Community Council out of honor and respect for the First Nation especially as their battles and burdens are ongoing and continue with the U.S. Government and would not want to add or complicate issues further with escalations of the Incident Command Team and the Law Enforcement Officials following and tormenting the rainbow family and these people also! Whatever second amendment rights and constitution exists is moot in my opinion alone. Much Aloha Love to Pine Ridge

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  14. I am of Pine Ridge What we don't want is your alcohol, drugs, violence, spiritual tourism or 'help'. We have little to nothing and your gathering will not help us. It will help the wasicu (white businesses) in Rapid. Did you speak to our communities leaders, our spiritual leaders, our elders, our tribal council, our tribal police. Who are you speaking with and working with? Please don't come here!

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  15. My mother was 1/4 Nakota. I am 100% Rainbow. South Dakota has been calling me since my first National in Nevada, '89. I thank Great Spirit and the wisdom of our tribe for seeing a way for us to gather and commune with our First Nations brothers and sisters in SD this year. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!

    Peace

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    1. Robert "Peace" Wright, Takoja, we've always been here for you.
      The rainbow statement says that you do things by consensus. That is not our way. Please respect our tiwahe and tiyospaye and don't come here.
      Karin, please answer the question asked 'who of our leaders are you talking with and working with'.

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    2. Well said Robert, I believe it will be a beautiful time. I do apologize to those whom have a uneasy feeling about rainbow gathering in SD, but I do believe that if we can get along (which isn't so much a question in my mind) and peacefully assemble and work together there can be some great things to come out of this years gathering, Benefiting not only rainbow but all of us. After all we are working towards the same thing in the end. I hope everyone is well and happy.
      Much love, and peace.

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  16. It is the nuclear family bringing individuals into the environment and a single metropolitan society with certain limiting factors ensuring the peacfull collapse of the population in a cyclically fashion that led to the last frontier of the western hemisphere which is now dying from pathological middle class waste and overpopulation. Nuclear families relying on themselves and consensus with sparse few others in the wild and a plan for expended family and larger groups to explore culture, religion, art, and science in the metropolis until it comes to a head and dies is how the western civilized world became the last greatest resource that was lost to competition for limited resources by groups working together to live simultaneously, scattered all over the tera. Gangs, mobs, tribes, towns, cities are all to blame. Individuals in nuclear families and one finite metropolitan culture which is preordained to collapse and take the population with it on a regular basis is how the western hemisphere had been managed for tens of thousands of years. Tribal Indian gangs are no better than fudal cop gangs or any other mob.

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  17. if u are so interested in the people of s Dakota and their troubles and want to help them bringing thousands of people with drugs and alcohol who dress up and play native american and many other cultures is not the way to do it, this is disrespectful, any excuse to go to s Dakota and play Native American in the woods is straight up bullshit your are bringing heavy drug and alcohol use to native americans who are plagued by addiction problems brought the same people who said they were there to help, get your heads out of your asses and own up, change the location you have the whole fucking country to choose a spot dont pick the one spot Native Americans will be directly affected by this hippie drug taking bullshit.

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    1. I don't mean to offend or anything along those lines, but I have full confidence that us rainbow people are people from all corners of the country that actually care about the environment. We are people who want to get out of the gunk found in modern society. We are hard working people. We only take what we earn. There will be some people that don't quite have the same outlook going to rainbow, but there will always be those select people that don't quite understand until they are educated. If we work together to educate people maybe there could be a drastic change for the better. Thank you for your time, hope your day is lovely.
      Much love, and peace.

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  18. if u are so interested in the people of s Dakota and their troubles and want to help them bringing thousands of people with drugs and alcohol who dress up and play native american and many other cultures is not the way to do it, this is disrespectful, any excuse to go to s Dakota and play Native American in the woods is straight up bullshit your are bringing heavy drug and alcohol use to Native Americans who are plagued by addiction problems brought the same people who said they were there to help, get your heads out of your asses and own up, change the location you have the whole country to choose a spot dont pick the one spot Native Americans will be directly affected by this hippie drug taking crap.

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  19. A'ho anonymous of Pine Ridge
    I agree

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  20. A majority of my people are against a Rainbow Gathering in our Sacred Lands during the time of some of our most sacred ceremonies.

    On different sites and even groups on Facebook, Elders, Grandmother's , Mothers, Warriors and Warrior Societies have tried to Nicely and then after being threatened by some of I hope your young ones with lawsuits and the FBI, which any idiot who even pretended to study history should know that would not Intimidate a Lakota but instead just irritate, not so nicely.

    Our land and everything that lives is Sacred to us.

    Some of us travel, have seen what the Gatherings are and what they leave behind, the bikers are bad enough, we have no desire to have to deal with the desecration to the heart of our sacred homeland that would be left behind after a gathering or the desecration to and on them during one.

    We are fighting for our next generations, to keep our culture and spiritual traditions, to turn them away from the drugs and alcohol.

    Have you asked our elected Chairman, our Tribal Council, Our Spiritual Leader, The Keeper of our Sacred Pipe Bundle if you are welcome to come on to our Land's during the time of our most sacred ceremonies and hold your gathering?

    Or are you just like the government, and think that you can just steal the use of our lands, destroy them, help yourselves to any part of our culture you like while bringing in parts of yours we don't want our children around?
    And then one of you on Facebook has the arrogance to speak of teaching us to be enlightened?

    We have a culture and traditions that go back millennium.
    We have the basic courtesy to make sure we have spoken with the proper host before planning a party in someone else's house and grounds.

    We have enough respect for others And ourselves not to push our way into other people's homes and lives after we have been told we were not welcome.

    Do you have no humility? Your people have always claimed to embrace and teach peace and love.
    I have not seen that here, all I see is disrespect and Arrogance?

    Perhaps some of you should apply for jobs in the Bureau of Indian Affairs?
    If this is a example of normal behavior , you will fit right in.

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    1. One of us does not speak for all, we are not perfect. Honestly I haven't seen anything on us trying to teach you anything. For myself I am trying to see where you're coming from. I think you make some valid points, many of us do. I personally did not care for this article. At least James Riley Swan's article presents differing points of view. I feel like there are so many implications being made about us that are negative. It's been challenging to respond when we are being treated as if we control and condone the actions of any one member of the group.

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    2. "With your thousands of people camping it would cause alot of destruction too all facets of life in the hills."

      If you have this opinion, then you have never been to an Annual Rainbow Gathering or visited a site after cleanup.

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    3. How come you claim a majority of people are against a Gathering
      and yet Karin has reported something different?

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    4. Please show some pics of what left behind at these gathering except the fact that in evry place we have gathered within 2yrs you cant tell we have been there and that we bring money to the local economy and where mostly against achool and hard drugs and out of 20,000 people ar a gathering only one camp allows achool and the most in that camp that ive seen 28 to 30 people. So out of 20,000 people maybe 30 to 60 people drink or do hard drugs yet all these people on here seem to be full of lies trying to discrimination against my family the rainbow family. I have 5 kids and i bring them. Plus if you look at all of our past gathering there is always leo walking around yet most times none arrested i understand your concerns that it ur land and you dont want anyone on ur lands just like the rest of Americans that are greddy and want to controll everything but please refrain from lies and be honest that it more to do with it ur lands and you want the right to control ur lands.

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    5. Rainbows have been unique in that they are ANTI ALCOHOL.I respect that american indians dont want rainbows to come,and i am trying to stop them with facebook comments.i hope you are aware that rainbow mentality is very open to american indian ways.

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  21. It would seem that folks who don't abuse alcohol or use drugs, and don't take part in violence, or play Indian, are welcome? Done. I'll see all of you peaceful beings in SD.
    And, nothing pleases me more, than to see the front gate leader proclaim that his gang won't be there.

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  22. Joelle, Chunkshi pilamaya. Well spoken. I have requested of Karin to say who of our oyate or the Oceti Sakowin they have spoken with or are working with, and she has not seen fit to reply. I have spoken with some of the headmen and women and spiritual elders and leaders of Manderson, Wounded Knee, Porcupine, Kyle, and they know nothing about this.
    If you rainbow people want to help us and educate yourselves than hold your gathering in White Clay, Nebraska. Hechetu alo!

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  23. Doesn't it seem as though we have better options for a place to gather? Why flirt with ignoring the respect the gathering is supposed to embody when we have the entire Midwest and new England to choose from?

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  24. Thank you to all who have expressed what an enormous mistake it would be for the rainbow gathering to be held in these particular sacred places.

    They are absolutely right.

    I have attended numerous rainbow gatherings over the decades starting more than 40 years ago, and I think the one who said here that the rainbow tribe is a young one begins to capture the point. The vision for what the rainbow culture can become is a beautiful one, and it is possible that such a culture will be necessary for the very survival of the human race and many species across our planet. But the rainbow culture has not really matured at all in the way it must after the more than four decades since its start. It is sadly still in its nascency. I will try now to put this bluntly.

    The rainbow culture is not even out of its diapers!!

    We must work to change that. We must work to advance and mature and grow the rainbow culture. And it is absolutely wrong for us to attempt to reach out to other cultures when we have not matured to even the most meager extent.

    When the rainbow culture has started to mature, it will be obvious to one and to all. And at that point, it will be possible for us to take the measure of just how far we must evolve before it will be appropriate for us to reach out to other cultures. It is so glaringly obvious that we have hardly begun such a process.

    When Karin says here she thinks "it's 99.9% likely at this point that the gathering will be in South Dakota" that's not a surprise. That's one more indication of the babyishness and misguidedness of the rainbow culture at this point.

    I expect that she's correct and that it will happen and that it will only be a sad and horrifying disaster.

    May the Great and Sacred Spirit mitigate that disaster that I think we can expect it will be.

    And good luck to us all in becoming the kind of culture that can and will mature and blossom into what it has the potential to be.

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  25. The gathering has never been in SD and probably for a good reason. I know that all land could be considered sacred to someone but I have spent time in the Black Hills and it is a sacred place. I can not imagine squatting over a trench to poop when this is an ancient burial grounds! I am not native american but I know there is magic in those hills. I will not be able to come home in SD. Please ask spring council to reconsider Michigan? Thank you for all of you energy and kindness.

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  26. As a Native American, I think you should take your rainbow games somewhere else. Hey, I'm not against anything that you believe in but the Black Hills are very sacred and it should be treated that way. With your thousands of people camping it would cause alot of destruction too all facets of life in the hills. I don't believe you have anything that you could offer us and vice versa. Also, who are the people you talked too and what status do they have in lives of the Lakota people. These people that you talked too, should themselves come out and tell what they said so it could be discussed among the elders and tribal people as a whole. This would be very interesting.

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  27. My question is, isn't the Rainbow based on the concept of consensus? Why is it strictly up to the spring council where we gather? I keep seeing brothers and sisters calling to gather in Michigan. If that is where our heart songs call us toward, why should we leave it up to the spring council, simply because many of us cannot attend it in person? I'm not advocating our division, but if we are to achieve consensus, shouldn't it be a true consensus, not just a majority decision from a specific regional council?

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    1. Hi Drake,

      Great question. Spring council called for June 17 is not a regional council, but the council called for deciding where to gather. Our tradition is to do consensus on the land during the light of day. As with all things Rainbow, you have to be present to participate because when we council, we need to sit together, see each others bodies, observe each others' breath. For more info on how we council, visit http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/focalizers/council-mini.html

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    2. Chief Arvol Looking Horse Speaks



      Mitakuye Oyasin (all my relations),

      On this June 21st, 2015 we as the Spiritual People, from the guidance of Great Spirit, will light our sacred fire of 20 years. My heart is heavy as I share my feelings with each and every one of you; it feels as though humanity has gone too far. It was shown in a dream long ago, that we would come to a time in this global community, we would have to unite at our Sacred Sites once again to bring back healing. Many Nations would stand shoulder to shoulder in the Sacred Hoop. The welfare of our children's health and well-being is dependent on our efforts. They need every person's prayer from the Global Community.

      We are sincerely asking prayers for the People that are spiritually disconnected who are making decisions that only last in their life time of survival for profit off Mother Earth. Mother Earth is the source of life not a resource. Many Sacred Sites have been abused and controlled by People who do not know Spirit.

      In our prophecies when earth and climate change begins to disrupt the natural cycle of survival and life, the animals would warn with their sacred color white. This will be a sign of what is called the Crossroads; either be faced with chaos, disasters and witness tears from our relatives eyes or we can unite spiritually in this Global Community

      All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer.
      We must regain the respect and honor back for the Sacred Sites and Sacred Places of worship. Long ago, wars left these places and people of prayer alone, today they are being destroyed. I know that many People feel the same as I do.

      This has been a long journey of many tests and hardship at times. If it were not for the People that believed in spirit of the white animals we would have never come this far. We ran and rode horse back carrying that sacred message for the health and well being of Mother Earth and all her creation. We did our best. I would like to acknowledge all those who heard the call and sponsored the event of June 21st to grow on their continent and honor their local Sacred Site.

      This year many will travel again to their sacred places. In Ashland, Oregon, we will honor my Hunka (adopted) Father Dave Chief for instructing RED (Red Earth Descendants) to pray since 1996 at their Sacred Site. I ask the Global community to pray with us, whether it is a church, temple, synagogue, mosque or where ever the spirit may guide to pray with us on this day.

      In a sacred hoop of life where there is no ending and beginning,

      Onipiktec'a (that we shall live),

      Nac'a (Traditional Leader - Chief)
      Arvol Looking Horse,
      19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle

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  28. This is a disaster... We've already disturbed the very peace we claim to be creating...

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  29. so karin answers drake but cant answer the people asking who they have talked to ? why doenst karin even acknowledge the legitimate question about who they have been speaking with? transparency should be seen here!

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    1. As I have mentioned in various forums, I will never post names of people on the Internet unless I have the consent of those people. Same with people in this family, unless you willingly offer your name to be posted on the Internet, I will not post it.

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  30. I was under the impression that this whole Rainbow Family gig was about peace and love. There is no peace or love in colonialism and settler mentality. There is nothing spiritual about forcing one's self on an oppressed community. Oppression is oppression is oppression. Y'all are no different than the dominant culture that most rainbow folks claim to detest.

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  31. Noramorningstar OkoneskiJune 10, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    Not ready ... Time is soon but not yet ... I be looking forward to the 2016 UN General Assembly which will be addressing worldwide drug policy~

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  32. The Lakota have invited me back . Some friends will be there too . That's
    how it's going to be . Bring your drum ... oh , and a spoon and a bowl .

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  33. great talk on the history of the Lakota land disputes/genocide/POW camps https://www.ted.com/talks/aaron_huey. I cannot believe that the Black Hills are even being discussed as an option for the gathering. This is the utmost of disrespect and violence. If you want to "help"-join the fight to restore the Black Hills to the Lakota people and stay the hell away from the gathering if it is indeed in the Black Hills this year.

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    1. Excellent comment. I agree - if you want to "help" the Lakota 1) don't support a He Sapa gathering; 2) fight with the Lakota for the return of He Sapa to the tribes and 3) stand with the Lakota against TransCanada. This is no time to try to gather in South Dakota - can you not hear???

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    2. Both of you have my respect. I hope the others will listen to your reason. My heart is sick thinking about this.

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  34. There are a lot of people in the family and outside the family who do not want to have a gathering here. This is a place to let that be known to those at Spring Council 2015. Sign this petition in support of any other place.

    https://www.change.org/p/spring-council-annual-rainbow-gathering-2015-please-find-a-gathering-site-outside-of-sd

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  35. There are THOUSANDS of places this gathering can be held, why tread onto land that is sacred to people that have literally had their religion and culture outlawed? Why is it ~so important to have this gathering on this particular land? There are so many alternative places this gathering can happen at. Places that are just as beautiful, affordable, and accommodating for you.
    Please open your heart and ears to those voicing their concerns, they are legitimate and valid in their views.

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  36. I say leave South Dakota alone and have the National gathering in the beautiful mountains of Vermont....just sayin

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  37. Ive been very conflicted about this years gathering ever since hearing it was slated to be in the black hills, wondering if the greatest show of respect would be showing up with reverence for the land and to mitigate the harm that those may inflict that dont hold these lands in a good way, or to refrain altogether and go to a regional gathering It has become abundantly clear that coming onto these sacred lands at all (especially just before sundance) would be extremely ill-advised and an unwelcome intrusion. Allow me to express my sincere apology to all first nations people who may be offended by this. While i can only speak for myself, i will say that is not my intention. While i have long wanted to visit the black hills, this is not the right context make the journey in.

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  38. I would like to inquire about becoming part of set up/clean up (Seed camp) as I was born and raised in the Black Hills and would love to become more involved at this years gathering.

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    1. It all starts with spring council. For details visit http://midwestornewenglandgathering2015.blogspot.com/2015/05/spring-council-info.html
      Once a site is selected seed camp starts. You may want to be at spring council the day before and make some connections so when seed camp starts you already know what you're doing. If that doesn't work for you, just go once the site is announced and go up to any crew of people working and ask how you can help.

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  39. There is no conflict . None . Come speak at Council or don't . There shall be a Council . That the Rainbow Family , Native Culturalists , and USFS have voices in one Council is naturalistic .

    If this be Rainbow Council , there shall be respect . However ... We shall gather ,

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  40. Lauren, watch for directions to spring council, or wait until it's over, and directions to a site are provided. Then you'll know where to go. Inquire on the land. You and your help will be welcomed. Welcome Home.

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  41. PLEASE DO NOT GATHER IN BLACK HILLS! IT IS LIKE SETTING UP CAMP AT A CHURCH ALTAR WHILE THEY ARE CONDUCTING A SERVICE! YOUR CONCEPT OF "HELPING" LIKE THIS IS ARROGANT AS YOU ARE BRINGING WITH YOU THE IMPACT OF A HUGE NUMBER OF OUTSIDERS TO LIVE ON A PIECE OF LAND WITH ALL ITS HUMAN NEEDS FOR A WEEKEND! NOT TO MENTION A TEMPORARY "BENEFICIAL" ATTITUDE THAT IS ELITIST TOWARD THE NATIVE PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN HOME! HONOR THE RECOGNIZED SPOKESPEOPLE OF THE NATIVE PEOPLE! ASK IN THE FUTURE TO BE INVITED TO SEND A DESIGNATED COUPLE OF PEOPLE FROM YOUR GROUP IF YOU REALLY WANT TO "LEARN" HOW YOU CAN HELP! yOU DON'T HELP BY LANDING EN MASSE ON TOP OF SOMEONE'S SACRED PROPERTY FOR A COUPLE OVERNIGHTS! DO NOT FURTHER BREAK THE TREATIES!!

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  42. I am a Pine Ridge woman and spiritual elder. In my youth I attended some of your gatherings and met many nice people and some very trouble ones. I was surprised about some of the systems in place like your medical and communications and peacekeepers and clean water system. I stayed for a few days afterwards and observed the dedication and hard work of your cleanup crew. It amazed me and I wished it could be like that on certain parts of Pine Ridge. I returned to one of the sites a couple of years later and was astounded to thing that at one time there were 8,000 people camping here for a week. However, me and many of my family and friends are opposed to you having your gathering in our sacred Hapa Sapa because it is during the time that we have our most sacred ceremony, Sundance going on at different places on our land. Our concern is that some of your people, even well intended, will cause disruption by their presence. We respectfully ask that you not hold your gathering here at this time of year that is sacred to us. Thank you.

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    1. Very well said, thank you for your wisdom and patience with what would appear to be an ill-conceived choice for gathering space.

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    2. Pine Ridge grandmother again, for those of you who do decided to show up at our Sundance ceremonies here are some of the protocols that we ask you to respect:
      Men
      wear long pants and tops with sleeves
      no jewelry of any sort
      Women
      wear a long skirt or dress and tops with sleeves
      no jewelry of any sort
      if you are on your moontime in any form please do not come
      General
      No cell phones, cameras, recording devices
      No dogs or any other pets
      No drugs, alcohol, weapons
      If you go under the arbor remove shoes, hats, sunglasses
      Do not talk to or engage the dancers in any way shape or form
      Do not bring any food or beverages near the arbor
      Be respectful, quiet, and observe

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  43. https://redpowermedia.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/native-americans-concerned-with-rainbow-warriors-gathering-in-the-black-hills/

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  44. I know a great many people hoping to be at some of your ceremonies. Others who hope to be of service in the community. Others who refuse to go - period. We have a great many gatherers who have addictions- that is true. But lately I'm seeing an upsurge in people coming to the gathering to heal from these addictions. Those who have chosen sobriety are bringing more and more (many very young) alcoholics and addicts to the gatherings and encouraging them to go into the woods to heal. We are seeing more kids in the woods, participating and helping both seed camp and clean up as well as being Sherpas and helping the disabled get down the trail. They are doing outreach and it's working! Many of the elders don't want these young kids, despite their hard work. But if this doesn't help them- what will? We have people on the front lines risking their lives to being peace to these troubled kids. We ha e people dying- people who could be healed if we opened our arms to them. Many of the severe alcoholics won't find family anywhere else and need alcohol as medicine to prevent seizures etc- but believe me when I say this is changing more every day. It's incredible to see front gate stepping up to fix this- and to see Mothers and grandmothers come out of the woods and show love to the kids on the road. If Rainbow is going to survive it needs to heal these divisions. We aren't ready to fix any other issues- we aren't ready until we learn to get along ourselves. It's so important that we figure this out.

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  45. Thank you, Rebecca Powell, for describing some of the precise reasons for and examples of why both:
    -- it is so critically important for the rainbow gathering to take place at this point in human history;
    -- it is so critically important for the rainbow gathering NOT to take place in the Black Hills at this point in human history.

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  46. If it will happen, and time passes for all, so it will, the gathering will come and go, and be gone from someplace beautiful, and returned to that state.

    I can't be the only one seeing the irony here, a nomadic culture whose strange dress and ways, calling for peace but with rough edges on some, seem to 'disturb' a locale in the great places of Nature, still bound off in this nation for all as a place for all, peacefully, to gather together every year,.... getting a hard time for it, year after year, from some different small faction of a local populace. .... while many more in silence simple watch as it passes by, a curiosity, ....

    It (the gathering) will be gone, and the place will remain sacred in the hearts who hold it so. Every year the gathering is concurrently in; a public place for all, but also someone's "back yard" (because their family has been there x0 years), as well as someone's sacred space (because their family has been there x00 years),..... and respected and returned to this state once the gathering has passed, in one year.

    There is no doubting this much is true, apart from what happens during the event, for the moment the gathering, a traveling tribe with no home but that home for all, once a year to land, graces through someone's perception of 'place', to pay respect and pray (and be as people.)

    peace..

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    1. That is your opinion.. But what makes you think that it is up to your opinion to decide??

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  47. I've been keeping an eye on all the forums discussing the black hills gathering, and it's frustrating to see how many people in support of it seem to have the argument that we can gather anywhere we want on national land. If we're moving forward with that level of arrogance, why don't we just call this year's gathering "manifest rainbow", and get it over with?

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  48. It seems that the non issues and zero conflict have become actual conflict and real cause to worry. I'm very glad we are all listening now and perhaps, I pray, we can work on our own internal issues.

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  49. My name is Water, Singing-on-the-Rocks. I am a 68 years old Semite, a greybeard in the Rainbow Tribes and have attended many Gatherings since 1976. I also attended as support the SunDances at Wambli South Dakota for 2 years where I climbed trees to collect pine cones, kept the sacred fire, provided Medicine to the dancers and others who attended. I would have continued doing so but my life circumstances were drastically altered and I was no longer able to do so. Likewise, I will not be able to attend the Rainbow Family Tribal Gathering this summer due to nuclear family responsibilities which include caregiving for my parents who are 91 and 88 years old, in poor health and who each live alone in New Mexico.

    But I wish to address some of the misconceptions and inaccuracies I have read in the comments above. To begin with, there will not be 20,000 people at our Gathering; it is much more likely that there will be 8-10,000. Of these the majority will be smokers of various herbal medicines put on our Mother Earth by the Great Spirit for our healing and edification... few of us will be consuming alcohol or doing any hard drugs. yes, there are those who will do hallucinogenics including man-made spiritual medicines such as LSD as well as various Cacti, Flowers and Mushrooms - much as many of the great Native American Spiritual leaders of the past used sacred herbs and Peyote and Jimsonweed to reach states during which they were more easily able to communicate with their Spirit Allies.

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  50. It is true that Rainbow is young (43 years old however is far from being a teenage group of Tribes) and it is true that we struggle, as do the Native American tribes I have lived among and known, with people damaging behaviors such as alcohol and drug addiction. Violence however, and the use of addictive drugs (other than firewater) and sexual crimes and crimes against our mutually Respected Earth Mother nearly never occur. Can I say "never at all"? Of course not. Can I promise that none of these will happen in South Dakota this summer? Almost certainly they will not but who am I to prophesize? I am not all seeing and I do not claim to be.

    What I do claim is an understanding of people and Peoples, culture, the attempted genocide by many of our European ancestors, the centuries of near genocide of my People, the Jewish Nation of Israel... I do claim to understand that we have a mutual enemy in the Corporations and Greed and DisRespect and Corrupt Governors in our State Capitals and in Washington D.C. and that none of us can overcome the control exerted by these minions of Evil alone - none of us can think that our Tribe or our Family or our Religion or our Political Party or our Sacred Ceremonies alone can bring about the success that our Planet needs in order for life of any kind to survive.

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  51. The way Grandfather David and Uncle Billy of the Hopi explained the prophesies to me and the way I understand the story of the White Buffalo, we need to come together and have actually begun coming together in order to bring Peace among the Tribes and Nations, we need to come together in Spirit in order to bring back the Way of Life the Creator gave us in the first place.

    == - ==

    I have been part of Seed Camp and I have been part of Clean Up at least 9 or 10 different years and I can guarantee you that the ONLY year that we did not keep our contract with our Earth Mother was in North Carolina when the USFS and the white-eyes' Police kept us away - and even then we returned a few months later to complete the job as we knew it needed to be done.

    I can guarantee you that we will bring medicine - both pharmaceutical (legal)and herbal (from traditions we have learned and in-gathered) and spiritual to people in need - not just to our own Rainbow brothers and sisters but to any who come to us for help. Every year there have been dozens who did so and we have helped many to heal themselves.

    I can try to explain though many will not listen or understand, that family politics and the arguments here in this blog or on AGR or on Facebook or those that have been happening in person CANNOT change the path the Great Spirit has led us to take. We Rainbows, our Councils and counsels, do not choose our sites for our Gatherings. We are Spirit led to each place. We are led there because, I think, the Spirit of our Circle and our Medicine is needed to bring healing to ourselves, to the land itself, to the peoples who live in these regions. I remember that in West Virginia the U.S. Government had taken away the land belonging to generations of peoples (much as they - our "ancestors" - did to the People who lived here first) and our gathering taught them that they could take the land back to use without needing permission from the gatekeepers whether or not the Government "owned" that land according to their papers and their rules. I remember also that in North Carolina and West Virginia and Texas we brought free western medicine and our other healing traditions to hundreds of local people who could not get decent healthcare from the doctors and hospitals and systems in their cities...

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  52. I also know that those who write or speak about the "thousands" of other sites available to us...do not have any conception of what is required to gather safely for all of us and for the land upon which we will tread. do not have any conception of how important it is for a Tribe to follow its Traditions and its set ways. do not understand about being Spirit led.

    I know this as fact, there will be people of the Rainbow who believe it is disRespectful to Gather in South Dakota. these people will stay away. in their minds that is the way in which they Respect the Lakota people. there are those of us who feel it is very important to Respect the Lakota People and who will attend the Gathering and spend all their energy doing whatever is necessary to assure that nothing will disturb the Sacred Lands, Ceremonies or Spirits. there will be some who attend without any understanding or even any knowledge of the disparity, distractions and potentials that we might present by coming to South Dakota. I know that in our Circles we will do our best to explain and educate those with little understanding just as every year we must teach many city dwellers and children how to step softly on Sacred land. just as we must teach those who come to party to realize that our Gathering is so much more than a celebration - even more than a celebration of Life and Love...

    we do not celebrate Independence Day as much of America does. We celebrate INTERdependence Day because we realize that it is only by coming as Rainbow - of all colors and all spirits and all religions and all nationalities and all tribes and all manner of life and all ways of Respect - that the Prophecy of the White Buffalo can come true to form a sacred hoop of life where there is no ending and beginning, no enmity between Peoples.

    I give Wopila Tanka, many thanks to the Lakota Elders who have kept the sacred Black Hills as safe as possible from the ravages of the Evil, Greedy and Corrupt... and I say Wanka Tanka Kici Un, May G-d Bless the People and their special, holy ways

    Mitakuye Oyacin - WE ARE ALL RELATED

    and I have spoken and I am finished.
    .





    p.s. karin - u have (as always) taken a lot on ur shoulders... and I am grateful and proud and thankful for all that u do!!! know that **#We Lo-o-o-o-o-v-v-ve You#**


    H2o

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  53. Karin wrote:
    "While it's true we have not had a formal invitation, it's also true that people are welcoming us and no one is saying do not come."

    There are many comments here asking you not to come. -Daniel Luna

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  54. Absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for your informed sharing of information. =)

    I hope to more formally meet you at the Gathering, Karin. I'm sure I've met you before, but once again sounds like a great idea to me! Much love, family!

    - Janson

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  55. Why even feel obligated to asking Arvol Looking Horse, or the US Forest Service for permission to do what thousands of people, including foreign tourists, do every year without having to ask? Go there; do that; get it done!

    If you need Looking Horse’s statement of support for something so important as visiting so that your people can pray for peace and World improvement and Looking Horse will not give it, then don’t you think that there is something the wrong with that picture…as with Looking Horse’s actual Goal(s)?

    I’m obligated to keep my knowledge within my tribal Medicine People’s circle only, which means that I was strictly forbidden to share it with anyone but growing, incoming Medicine People who were approaching their obligation of Spiritual maturity on behalf of my tribe; however, I have been taught every which way from Sunday, if you will, about my tribe’s Okan during my childhood, by my elders of The Buffalo Blackfeet (the Blackfeet who had actually existed when the great herds were present and roaming free) and then I waited and became actually as prophesized by long passed Medicine elders of my tribe, which was the hub from which the spokes of our Medicine People should regain and relearn our knowledge pertaining to our Okan and when it came time, I shared what knowledge that I had been charged with learning, keeping and finally, sharing and now our Okan is back after decades and decades of austere government suppression. Enough said about that and no more will ever be said, or written by me to anyone except for whom, within my dreams, I am instructed to share with and build by knowledge, so to speak, but I’m sure that you know what I am saying.

    I shared what I shared with you because I want you to know that if you need someone from a federally recognized tribe to represent, but not to teach Okan, or facilitate an Okan for you, however, to represent your organization this year and every year to follow, or for as long as I live, then contact me and we will look into enacting great possibilities together…

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  56. Thank you Karin.
    One Love!
    Peace!

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  57. To desecrate what is sacred is not the true warrior way.There are no rainbows in this what so ever and definitely no respect. I pray the Lakota kick all of you all off their land
    THE SPIRITS OF THE SACRED BLACK HILLS ARE NOT YOUR ANCESTORS!!!

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  58. You are welcome to come to our sacred lands, but I will not tolerate any fake Inipi ceremony, naming ceremonies, drumming that sounds like you're trying to be Native, or any other cultural appropriation taking place. You come to our lands you respect. None of this getting naked and prancing around. No foul things that would disrespect the spirits. The spirits will be watching and we will be watching. That's all I need to say. T. Black Wolf - Oglala Lakota

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Please keep your comments to the point. Any comments advocating violence, sexism or racism will not be published. You don't have to agree with me, but you can't cuss me or anyone else out either. As of 6/11/15 I'm not sure how I will be publishing comments. Too many people just submitting the same comment over and over again and I'm overwhelmed by trying to sort this out. So feel free to comment, but understand I may not be approving all comments.