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.
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.
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
"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)|
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