SD Rainbow Gathering 2015 in Photos, pt II

This year’s gathering site was incredibly beautiful in just about every moment, sometimes startlingly so. I was a bit too busy to do it justice, but hopefully these photos give a taste.

Climbing the hill to Phat Kids and Instant Soup

The photo below shows the trail leading up to Stitch N’ Bitch, Phat Kids and Instant Soup  (and then off to Safe Swinging, Casual Encounters, and other kitchens). It was a bit of a climb and was affectionately known as “Fuck This Hill.”

Drum Circle on the Hill

The drum circle on the evening of the 3rd was my favorite.

Tipis in the Main Meadow 2015

The tipis served as both homes and meeting places for our First Nations gatherers. Everyone from grandmother Red Feather to Chase Ironeyes to our young Tocala brothers stayed in them.

Glowing Feather

It wouldn’t be a national for me without folks like Glowing Feather showing up!

Night cooking at Kiddie Village

Kiddie Village had some great cooking this year. My favorite (not shown below) was Sky’s deep fried cheese sticks. Oh were they amazing!

Serving at Main Circle

We had all sorts of folks serving at main circle, from children to olders. Here’s one of my favorite (shareable) photos of the servers.

Photos of the oven-building at the Sundance Grounds are still pending. Just trying to get in touch with the Oven crew to make sure it’s ok to post (it was ok to take the photos). If I don’t hear from them soon, I’ll post the photos that don’t have them in them.

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8 Responses to SD Rainbow Gathering 2015 in Photos, pt II

  1. Micah Smith says:

    Thats me grilling those salmon patties!! Did you get one?

  2. Rainbow Hawk says:

    Some nice photos. I’ve been compiling commentaries and video things as well:


    Teryani Lebendig

    2015 New England/Lake Michigan Area/South Dakota Annual Rainbow Gathering

    Update from the land:

    Amazing, amazing gathering. So many seeds of alliance planted with the Lakota. We had everyone from members of the treaty council and regular tribal councils (Pine Ridge and Rosebud) to Grassroots AIM, traditional grandmothers, and many others coming through and blessing our gathering. Many of these even brought their children and camped with us. Traditional Lakota prayer (in Lakota) happened before a number of the dinner circles (a from both a traditional grandmother and a young granddaughter), workshops on Lakota opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, creating a strong alliance between Rainbow and the Lakota nation, and what we can do to help free Leonard Peltier happened regularly. One of the grandmothers also told creation stories a couple of different nights after dinner circle—all reports said it was amazing.

    After the gathering a number of us are going out to an elder’s place to help out with his garden and school. After that two whole busloads of folks (Luv’n Ovens and Shining Light) are going out to help another Necha with getting his grounds ready for a sundance (building the arbor, a mud oven, etc.). We might also help a third elder at Wounded Knee after that. We’re also trying to coordinate a time when various practitioners from CALM can offer their services on Pine Ridge as well (the logistics for this are still in the works).

    There are a number of other long-term plans in the works, all involving strengthening the alliance we’ve now just created and seeing how we can move forward and do amazing things together.

    The gathering was small, but far more reverential and respectful than any national I’ve ever seen. In fact, it was far more like a World Gathering than a typical U.S. national. When push comes to shove, even the Projects and Hobo Alley will pull together with the rest of us (and some of them even picked up trash with us on Pine Ridge before the gathering). The 4th was amazing—everyone was SO respectful and the silence was broken at just the perfect moment.

    This gathering wouldn’t have happened without the key focalizing of the scouts, Shining Light Kitchen, Feather, our young Tocala brothers (Lakota), Payu (Lakota/Northern Cheyenne), and the help of many others. Lucid from Shining Light is making a documentary about how this gathering came about, complete with interviews, audio of Spring Council, and videos of key elders, members of AIM, the Treaty Council blessing us, etc. (all filmed/recorded with permission). Those of you who are Rainbow and chose not to believe in this Gathering—well, you missed out on an amazing thing. Those of you who told others to boycott and/or spewed negative energy all over the net—not only were you completely wrong, you merely served to make this a smaller, more intimate gathering devoid of folks who do that very same thing. Those of you who believed with all your hearts this was disrespectful to the Lakota people—perhaps you should talk to REAL Lakota people out here, instead of believing the internet claims of James Swan or Duane Martin and their very organized and concerted campaign to make this gathering not happen. (And for those of you who know those of us who were here during spring council, if you can’t trust news from solid Rainbows here on the land, who can you trust?) And for those of you believing Duane (Chanupa) Martin’s claims that this was going to be another “Wounded Knee,” you were grievously manipulated. Not only did he have no following, but the opposite happened—welcome was given from many, many different sections of Lakota society, alliances were built, and both the Rainbow and the Lakota have much to look forward to.

    On top of all that, it was an AMAZING Gathering, full of love, respect, joy, celebration, and new connections all around. The site was extraordinarily beautiful, the weather quite mild (except for crazy hail during seed camp), and beauty abounds.

    Nicholas Childers Via RAINBOW FAMILY OF FACEBOOK
    Wonderful news. On a town run from the gathering in South Dakota. The natives loves us and there is no such road block or anyone confronting us. They love us and are enjoying and learning from rainbow. Our grandmother Lakota speaks everyday. Telling us how wonderful our connection with the natives has grown and developed. We are one with the Lakota. Boots on the ground. Ignore all rumors of problems. Everything is blissful and peaceful. Loving you family. Come gather with us

    Feathers report from S.D.
    I’m passing on news from the land in the Black Hills. My name is Rick I am Feathers partner. She has been at the seed camp and now on site. She has been to all of the councils since mid week last week. She asked me to share some of her insights. I am doing this from memory so details may be slightly rearranged.
    The process of gaining trust & acceptance from the Lakotas has been intense but rewarding. There has been a group of young Lakotas staying in camp. They have expressed a desire to experience our process of building and maintaining infrastructure for large gathering so that they may be able to apply it to their own events such as the Sundances. They have been supportive and consider themselves to be cultural bridgers.
    Apparently there was two agro incidents at the week of councils where a Lakota man spoke from anger on different days. That was two negative voices over many days of process. It seems that there are respected elders that are open to the gathering. The majority of the interaction has been welcoming. The young people have asked for a few Rainbows to meet their grandfathers and grand mothers at their homes on the res. Feather has been involved in this outreach and today a group of Rainbows agreed to join in a work party to clean and maintain the Pine Ridge pow wow grounds.
    There is interest in elders and locals joining the gathering so there is plans to set up an elders camp where they could be and be tended to.
    It looks to be a small gathering. Hundreds instead of thousands. At this point the LEOs nearly outnumber the Rainbows. I have heard that they are being intense and I have heard that they are pretty mellow. Depends on who you talk to.
    If you choose to go, leave the alcohol and drugs out of it. This is a different kind of a gathering where we are guests of a host and it is important that we quickly learn what is considered respect and what is not.
    It has been an uplifting experience so far from Feather’s perspective.
    I’m throwing in my own impressions from afar at this point. It seems that this is what many in Rainbow have been saying we need to do in order to better cooperate on a larger scale with indigenous people all over this continent but especially in the northern plains. The young people are interested in finding people with skills and knowledge in permaculture and food forests and feel that our culture would likely have those minds available. They are right. They are also struggling to keep the XL pipeline out and suffering from abuses of water and land from logging and mining.
    Many of us are of like mind and this may give us an opportunity to do some meaningful work that builds trust and sharing between our cultures. We are all aware on some level that we need to work toward regenerating the lands of the entire planet. These people have such a spiritual perspective of the land many of us have aspired to such a belief system. We need to find what we can do to do that work. The people on the ground in the Black Hills on both sides of the cultural divide are doing that work.
    I feel that Feather and Keeneye and the others that have been working on this outreach should be applauded for taking on such an epic challenge. It is important work.

    Tammy Mc Daniels
    July 7 at 10:49am
    I found the South Dakota Gathering so magical~ as I am a fan of the regionals , the amount of family that showed up was perfect. You got to know so many good souls, passing them over and over on the trails and through out the space it was magical. So many good hugs, lovin you’s and sharing of stories and dreams. I think this gathering was meant to be small with all the right kind of souls~ Alliance were forged with the local natives and progress will continue. I love being at this gathering~

    Karin Zirk
    July 7 at 8:01am
    Beautiful gathering. Lakota and non-Lakota children playing in the meadows with joy on their faces. Amazing 4th. When I recover from the journey home I will write more.

    Joann Dawn Saunders
    July 5 at 6:40am
    South Dakota was so amazing so many relationship made with Natives so amazed with everything we have been thought about culture tradition. We were told by American Indian movement that we are blessed and they will be attending the next gathering. I’m still in tears as I drive away from one of the best rainbow gatherings I have ever had the honor to be a part of. Loving all of my family especially the ones who came to South Dakota and worked hard to forge unbreakable bonds with the natives. I love all of u family may you be blessed today.

    Joann Dawn Saunders
    June 29 at 5:45pm
    On site South Dakota quick town run this forest is amazing the love is so strong! There are Lakota participating the grandmothers speak every night after main circle telling stories of this land and it people’s struggles come gather with us family we love u

    Ren Marie One of the best…. I think all the rumors prevented the drainbows that give us a bad name from comin home which lead to be one of the most peaceful LOVING amazing gatherings ever..

    Mike Stewart
    July 6 at 8:00am
    “This is the best gathering in 20 years… might be the best gathering of all time”
    -A glassy-eyed Marty Heartsong to me on the 4th

    Elizabeth Foley
    July 3 at 1:55pm
    A report from on the land…. All is well on the land. Very positive energy all around. Last night a Lakota relative and member of AIM spoke at main circle. He welcomed Rainbow, he apologized for the people within the Lakota nation that have caused trouble with Rainbow saying that we all have bad apples, he spoke of building strong alliances between our tribes, he asked that we leave the land cleaner than we found it and he honored our ways of prayer.
    I have never heard a dinner circle so quiet; every one listened in deep respect. After his words a young Lakota child shared a prayer in her native language and the many Lakota present joined our circle for an ohm. It was a powerful moment; myself and many others were moved to tears.
    Whether we should be gathering here or not is a different subject… Healing and connection is happening we (Rainbow and Lakota) are learning to love each other and forming powerful alliances. Many Lakota are gathering with us, grand mothers share stories nightly, workshops are happening, Lakota have set up many tepees that are being used for workshop space for many different things. There is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Much love to you all.

    Keith Stamper
    July 5 at 12:56pm
    All I can say is wow… Had the best time ever at South Dakota for my first gathering and most definitely won’t b my last there was so much love and peacefulness with the family and the locals LOVIN U FAM can’t wait til next year

    William D Shaw
    July 4 at 8:23pm
    I just want to say to my family… I love you, and I was with you from Dawn to Noon… in prayer, silence…and energetic acceleration. Peace prevailed, Love wins!

    Healing… begins

    Earth Eagle
    Deborah Dorland
    July 3 at 11:12pm · Richwood, WV, United States
    Aho! Mitakwe Oyasin! To all my Rainbow relatives & the four leggeds the two leggeds, the flying, swimming or tiny creatures that crawl on the earth, our sun, our moon, our Sacred Great Spirit~~~IIIILooovvveeeeYooouuu!
    I want to thank profusely here our many generous elder brothers & sisters of the Lakota’s that have graciously accepted our presence there even though we did not use proper protocol & traditional respect. Realizing that it is difficult to sort through opposing sides of tribal alliances, many indigenous have come to teach as well as learn from us! How fine it will be for those who join hands in silence tomorrow & I hope that someone decides to sing another Lakota prayer after the AAAaaauuuUUUUUuuoooOOOOoooommMMMMmmnnnNNNnnnn!! Joining hands as equals in the Circle of Life is the opposite of racism.

    Report from Vision Counsel:
    Consensus #1: We support AIM Grassroots and the Lakota people’s continuing struggle to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier
    #2: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills would like to reaffirm that counsel process is realized by reaching consensus on the land. We would like to encourage individuals to question all sources of information and to dispell any illusions of “officialness”. Know your sources.
    #3: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills reaffirms that consensus implies only the agreements of the people on the land. We do not have representatives, especially on the internet.
    #4: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills has consensed to invite all peoples, out of love and with respect, to gather peacefully for silent meditation in the morning of July 4th, 2016 until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the public lands of the White and Green Mountains National Forests in the states of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire
    #5: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills encourages individuals to use open counsel processes to allocate limited accommodations such as access to closed roads, special needs parking locations, and fireplaces.

    Leonard Socolov report on S.D.

    One elder, whom I was told owns the Black Hills, was something like something loud talker. She spoke often and she was wonderful as were all the Lakota I met at the gathering.

    President of AIM spoke as well as two other men and another woman, as well as Chase Iron Eyes. They want to invite Rainbow to a gathering next year.

    It was a strong exchange and very heartfelt. Like history in the making.

    Bobby Varsalona

    I Was Not At The Ground. But Had This Gathering In My Sights and Thoughts. And Many I knew who were. It Was Sad To See The Ones Who Were Boycotting It. So I Spoke With Chase Iron Eyes. And I Asked Him As Part Of The Rainbow Family. And Not a Spokes Person For No One But Myself And My Beliefs. What Was His Views On This Gathering. He Told Me He Was not Against It. And We Spoke About What were The Rainbows Plans. And This Started a Respect For Each Other. We Spoke a Few More Times And He Made His Video Speech On The Gathering. He Was Respectful And Awesome Brother. I Spoke With Real Lakota On The Ground. and The Ones Who Had So Much To Say And Start Trouble. Were Not Even Recognized By Their Own People. But Yes Many Had Their Right To Voice All Opinions. But The More They Hated On This Gathering Of Nations. The Stronger We Made Our Connection With The Lakota Nation. And Much Was Gained For The Rainbow Family Tribe. Peace, Love and Unity.

  3. Gerald Davidson says:

    Beautiful meaningful photos. Blessings.

  4. Although I was not able to attend The Gathering, I spent nearly all my waking hours for two weeks before the Gathering supporting it by responding to the hate and disgust bombarding the Facebook pages, and attempting to persuade those with questions that South Dakota was the place to be. I hope this was helpful to some. The Gathering apparently turned out just as I predicted. Sure wish I could have been there.

    • teryani says:

      Prairie Spirit, I wasn’t much in i-land from Spring Council onwards, but hopefully your words were helpful to some. We definitely had a concerted and organized attempt to sabotage this year’s gathering. Thanks for all your efforts!

  5. briggi says:

    Your reports from the gather make me happy. Glad that this has been a fruitful reaffirmation of our fundamental need to gather … and especially grateful for the living blessing provided by the harmonious guiding presence of our First Nation antecedents on This Land. A-Ho.
    Regretfully I could not join with yall at Main Circle this year — I am overseas right now. But you can bet I surely shared in all the high Spirit felt even here.

  6. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to provide such beautiful pictures and prose about this remarkable gathering. Many worried, many didn’t come – next time they will and I hope you’re ready! I believe this is a small example of what will happen in many places and situations around our planet. I was told during a wisdom-seeking that Spirit has a use for dark spirits. I think that was clearly the case here. Blessed indeed!
    Bless you, and all you do…

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