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 20, 2015

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.
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


  1. <3 Unconditional Love Will Pull You Through Its Portal In Time <3

  2. Well Done Family! Great Spirit has Spoken.
    Blessings for Peace to all Belly Buttons everywhere!

  3. I please ask ALL Rainbow not come here!!!! Please respect us , and keep out. If your peoples truly care about the earth and harmony, love and respect you know it's just not right. Regardless of the info you have received your arrival is upsetting to our ways , we don't bother your gathering so please respect our wishes and not come Your peoples ARE NOT WELCOME!!!! It won't serve any of your peoples or ours well. There is certain groups who will hurt you mentally and physically. I don't want that for your Rainbow group.we wish you peace and safety. thank you

  4. I wish the brothers Policing people who have this beautiful Rainbow at their root would dare to stand up to the million bikers that will be pissing on one of our most sacred sites during this time of Hanbleca. Guess its easier to push around folks with their smiles and symbols of peace than it is muscular men with gangs that will camp throughout the Hesapa and remember we often lose young women once they've gone. I also feel they should stop with the hatred and saying they represent all of us. Exploitation of whatever issue comes in fashion only shows desperation. Being a world changer requires love and patience. I feel the sad result is only placing negative attention on the wrong people. If they want to make a difference they're invited to help all our women in the trenches combating drugs and alcohol right here at home to give hope to our children that are surrounded by oppression and violence right here at home. They are also invited to support those amongst us that are in a daily battle against mining companies.I knew the founder of the Rainbow family and heard his vision. He was a Passamaquaddy Indian and the gathering of the People under the Rainbow was his vision to unite all people to come home to nature in a circle of life that includes all pairs and opposites in love for a future that's fading away. There are good and lost people in every faith and culture. Even our own. To call those of us with our humanity intact sell outs for not standing with you while you spew hatred is wrong. Sounds similar to the natzi's, john birchers, and many other groups that surfaced over time as people began coming together. Please rethink what you think is being accomplished by doing this. It's not helping and only destroying a growing solidarity. Remember! There is Unity even in diversity. To those trying to find their way..."Welcome Home!"

  5. I hope those 3 values are applied in MI.

  6. I hope those same 3 values are in MI.

  7. I am not on site, but after more closely studying a map. I believe there is a couple of errors. here are the suggested changes.

    From Hill City, South Dakota Take E Main St./308 north (turns into Deerfield road). Go approx. 25 miles to Ditch Creek Rd(on left). Immediate right over the bridge on forest road 294. Approx. 5 miles to welcome home.

    also the welcome home directions seem to be or be very close to:
    Ditch Creek campground, 23595 Ditch Creek Road, Hill City, SD 57745

  8. Welcome home. ..I love you family!

  9. My heart is breaking. I posted welcome home and it is clear we are not welcome home by the Sioux. I was so excited to read Black Hills before I read we are not welcomed.
    My husband served 4 years in the air force there and hunted for turkey in BH, so for him it is very special.
    This is my first Annual. I wish we were welcome. We love trash and treasure so are waiting until the 8th. My Doggy does not want to disrespect anyone, as he knows how sacred this site is.
    I love you family! Thank you Karen for all you do!

  10. Hi family,

    Despite the firestorm on the internet, there's only a handful of Lakota who are asking us not to go and these gentlemen do not represent all the tribes. Like us, there are very few Lakota who represent other Lakota although there are some that do. These individuals have yet to speak to the best of my knowledge. Many Lakota are happy to see us come and it is my heartsong that this gathering can be a very powerful one for everyone if we do it right.

  11. Am intending to attend this years gathering in Michigan, having some difficulty obtaining information on the particulars of it. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    1. This blog is dedicated to the annual gathering which is taking place in South Dakota. Unfortunately, I am unable to also share directions to regional gatherings.


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.