Rainbow Family members arrive in the Routt National Forest north of Steamboat Springs, Colo., in 2006, when the event drew about 20,000 people.
A group called the Rainbow Family of Light, are pondering having their annual gathering in South Dakota’s Black Hills from July 1 -7.
An estimated 8,000 to 20,000 participants who refer to themselves as a “Rainbow Family” would be camping in the Black Hills National Forest.
The Rainbow Family’s “peace and love” gatherings are strongly associated with the hippie subculture. The group was founded in 1970s and professes to have no leaders or hierarchy, and appears to draw its name from a fake Native American prophecy claiming that a band of ‘Rainbow Warriors’ will ‘make the earth green again’.
While there are variations on the theme, especially as it has become popularized by environmentalists, hippies and in Internet memes, the common thread in all versions of the story is that a time of crisis will come to the Earth, and people of many races will come together to save the planet.
Usually, the myth of the Rainbow Warriors is falsely credited as being a Cree or Hopi prophecy. However, the origin is not First Nations or Native American at all, but rather from a book titled Warriors of the Rainbow by William Willoya and Vinson Brown.
It was basically an evangelical Christian tract which was published in 1962. If anything, it was an attack on Native culture and an attempt to evangelize within the Native American community.
The truth is several thousand hippies gathering in the Black Hills has local Native Americans along with state and federal law enforcement officers concerned.
Black Hills National Forest spokesman Scott Jacobsen said they believe there’s a 95–percent chance they’re coming to the Black Hills this year.
Jacobsen says a National Incident Management Team arrived from Washington with forest officials, law enforcement and others to get ready.
The Forest Service’s main concerns are that the gathering is peaceful and organized and that there is resource protection and fire prevention.
James “Magaska” Swan (centre) and the United Urban Warrior Society. On March 26th 2014, members of U.U.W.S. stopped and turned around 4-fracking trucks and ran them off the Cheyenne River Reservation.
The embattled Black Hills are sacred ground
The Black Hills area is considered sacred by the Lakota and nearly two dozen other tribes that claim the area as ancestral.
The Lakota made their home in the majestic Black Hills in the eighteenth century, drawing on the hills endless bounty for physical and spiritual sustenance.
The Black Hills are the Lakota’s place of creation.
After a treaty was signed in 1868, the Lakota was promised the Black Hills forever. But after gold was discovered, the treaty was broken by the US Government.
To this day, ownership of the Black Hills remains the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. government and the Lakota.
Native American James “Magaska” Swan, a Lakota member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Dakota territory and Founder of the United Urban Warrior Society (U.U.W.S.) started a online petition that has 1,416 supporters in favor of the “Rainbow Warriors” staying away from the Black Hills.
In an interview with Red Power Media, Swan said our ceremonies belong to us! Not to the Rainbow Family of Light. “Our ancestors died fighting for our rights and our very existence!”
“We do not change or manipulate our spirituality to fit our needs; our spirits do not speak their language!” “We are asking the Rainbow Family of Light to take their event somewhere else” says Swan.
“If the Rainbow Family of Light chooses to use the Black Hills, they will forever ruin any future relationships with Indigenous peoples especially the Lakota with the exception of a few sell outs.”
They will be on National Park land (not private property) it’s occupied Lakota land. “We will rally and confront them,” said Swan.
No Rainbow Gathering In the Black Hills. / Facebook.
American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) chapters have also shown their support for the U.U.W.S. and Swan says “AIM has announced that they will stand with us against the Rainbow Gathering.”
American Indian Movement members attend a Native Lives Matter Protest in Rapid City SD.
According to a Facebook event hosted by Swan, there will be a meeting with Tribal representatives in regards to the ‘Rainbow Warriors’ at the Hill City Information Center in South Dakota on Monday, June 15 @ 10:00 a.m.
Some members of the Rainbow Family of Living Light’s Facebook page, question why a meeting with the Native Americans of the Black Hills is needed at all?
Rainbow Family of Living Light / Facebook.
Lets do what we do every FN year?
Earlier this year in March, at the annual woodland meeting in Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest, a member of The Rainbow Family of Living Light was killed and two injured in a gun rampage around a campfire.
In 2014, at Uinta National Park in Utah, an estimated 8,000 people showed up at the Rainbow Gathering. A National Forest spokeswoman said there were 587 total incidents, including 31 arrests and 136 citations for violations. Two people died in their sleep during the event. The arrests included drug possession, drunken driving and public urination.
In July 2011, a woman named Marie Hanson, from South Lake Tahoe California, went missing in Skookum Meadow Washington State while attending the Rainbow Gathering at Gifford Pinchot National Forest. In October 2011, human remains and jewelry were found near the woman’s campsite. It was later confirmed that the remains were those of Hanson. Police said it was a suspicious death.
Smoking the giant pipe at a 2011, Rainbow Gathering in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington State.
The Gatherings also double as an excuse to throw a party in the woods
The Rainbow Gathering prides itself on being unorganized and these recent gatherings have also had a more sinister side, attracting a seedier crowd that uses all the anachronistic peace-loving as cover for drug abuse, theft, and violent crime.
Pot smoke, public nudity, and drum circles abound.
Environmental impact and crimes such as drug use, assaults, fugitives and serious traffic charges like drunken driving are often difficulties associated with Rainbow Gatherings, and have resulted in strained relations between the gathering’s participants and local communities.
So it would seem the Native Americans and their supporters, along with the state and federal law enforcement agencies — who are all opposed to the next Rainbow Family of Light gathering in the sacred Black Hills — have very legitimate reasons to be concerned.
By Black Powder