South Dakota Rainbow Gathering 2015 in Pictures

I didn’t have a lot of time for photography this gathering, but I did manage to take a few. Here are the first to make the cut.

[All photos were taken by me with full permission of everyone facing the camera. I also made sure to get permission to post. The pics from the Luv’n Ovens oven making day on Vic Camp’s land will come out once I get a all the permissions in.]

Main Circle

Dinner circle on the 30th.

Small, but reverent, main circle was certainly the place to be this year. We often had Lakota blessings before the meal, and afterwards, creation stories, workshops and other offerings from our Lakota family.

Meadow Drum Circle

Drumming up the moon.


The land at this gathering was remarkably beautiful, both in the day and in the night. The weather was super mild, and both the days and the nights were comfortable.

Helen Red Feather


Throughout the gathering we had various First nations folks camping with us (mostly Lakota). Grandmothers Helen Red Feather and Arlette Loudhawk stayed with us almost the entire gathering. Arlette led us in prayer at main circle and told creation stories afterwards. Helen made some of the best fry bread I’ve had at the gathering (and boy, did I need it that day!).

Prayer on the 4th of July

One of the biggest concerns of our Lakota family was cultural appropriation, and though we’ve never been so bad as they feared, they was reason for real concern. Most non-native folks don’t understand why it’s an issue and believe spirituality is up for grabs, no matter where it comes from or how it’s obtained. As a result a lot of conversations needed to happen, particularly around non-native use of sweat lodges, pipe ceremonies, and attire. A number of tipis were put up in main circle, but only after a fair amount of negotiations. It was agreed that they’d be used primarily for hosting first nations folks and for first nations workshops. When that wasn’t happening they were used for childcare and singing/drumming circles.

This picture is from the fourth, before the children’s parade.

Prayer Flags

There were three main areas of the gathering: the upper shelf with Fat Kids, Instant Soup, Wanna Burn, Luv’n Ovens, Tea Temple and Eastwind; the lower road with the Projects, Hobo Alley, Shut Up and Eat It, CALM, Kiddie Village, and Magic Bowl; main meadow with Shining Light up above it. This year back gate played a major role, with main supply, indigenous camp, and handicamp all packed into one meadow.


Arlette tells creation stories

In addition to creation stories, we had a number of workshops after dinner, some of which including information sessions on Leonard Peltier, conversations on how to further a Rainbow-Lakota alliance, stopping the Keystone Pipeline, and much more. Chase Ironeyes, a treaty council member, led some of these and he was joined by some of the young tocala warriors.


The Children's Parade Reaches the Middle

This year’s 4th celebration was one of the most reverent I’ve ever seen. The silence was held by just about everybody throughout the gathering. The circle maintained the silence through two full rounds of the children circling the “peace pole,” and the Ohm came at just the right time.

In the end we came away with far stronger bonds with our first nations family (specifically Lakota) and many seeds planted for future actions and gatherings. Perhaps the following photo says it all–one of the Pine Ridge granddaughters who spent nearly the entire gathering with us:

Lakota Rainbow Child



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24 Responses to South Dakota Rainbow Gathering 2015 in Pictures

  1. David Collins says:

    Absolutely stunningly beautiful. I’m very happy.

  2. Karin says:


  3. Garrick Beck says:

    Thanks Teryani, these are lovely and your text expands the vistas. And it was wonderful spending time with you there. More to come….

  4. Robert Sells says:

    Lovely Pictures Thanks for posting them Loving you !

  5. Linda Klein says:

    Thank you so very much, Teryani
    I felt called to be there (my partly native DNA talking to me) but circumstances this year prevented us from making the trip. Your beautiful pictures help take the sadness away from not being there in person, but syncing up with the circle at noon from right here was awesome anyway.
    More pictures please!!

  6. loretta reddog says:

    simply beautiful….thank you!

  7. yvonne williams says:

    Incredible,love it.

  8. Cayya Madansky says:

    so glad to know that peace and wisdom prevailed! Wonderful new bridges made with Rainbow and Lakota people!!! blessings to all!!!

  9. Other Karen says:

    You are such a wonderful photographer…
    I was disappointed not to be able to make it this year, and was hoping for some great images to show us what it looked and felt like. Luvin’ you!

  10. Balance says:

    Story telling and Respect.I believe is the key to all Gatherings of the tribes.We will arrive the 1st will be last and the last the 1st .Kind of says we are One.Yes?

  11. Maria Decora says:

    We made it here late at night and passed out several peace signs – love and peace – Maria and Joe

  12. Betsy Reiss says:

    Beautiful photos. They radiate the love of this gathering. Blessings on all who went and on all extending the love through photograph sharing.

  13. Thank You! These photos are beautiful & represent the gathering gracefully! I’ve been to 4 Nationals & I stand up for the Rainbow Family all the time. So many people are always judging & talking smack about something they have never taken part in! I love the Rainbow Family & so proud of them holding so strong for so many years! Bless! xoox

  14. Osee Love Israel says:

    Sorry I missed you. I was doing front gate. Very peaceful. Amazing. So many locals thanked us on the way out. No matter how many gorgeous pictures you look out, the actual Black Hills’ beauty in person is just amazing. Nothing could prepare me for what I saw with my own two eyes.

  15. Kathy says:

    I’m glad it went well.

  16. Suelo says:

    I feel intense gratitude for this, Teryani.

    I shared your post on Facebook with this comment:

    ‘Originally I vehemently spoke against the Rainbow Gathering being in the Black Hills. But here’s an excerpt from my last message to friends in a weeks-long debate both for & against the Gathering being in the Black Hills (Val is my friend who’s a long-time main scout for the Rainbow Gathering, and Leo is my Lakota friend who’s been part of the Lakota Strong Heart Society):

    “For the first time since this whole Rainbow thing began, I finally got a call from my friend Val, a main scout for the Rainbow Gathering. I had emailed him to tell him to get the Gathering out of the Black Hills, but no answer till now.

    He has reported back that Leo is there, doing good things. He says they have mostly had great relations with the Lakotas, and even several grandmothers showed up. . . . Val says this has been one of the most positive gatherings yet, and their relations with the natives has been wonderful.

    I feel pleased, despite my original, vehement public outcry against the Rainbow Gathering being there.

    I am so very pleased to know both Leo and Val. I am so glad I decided to follow my heart and back down.”‘

    • teryani says:

      Suelo, I never saw your original posts on the gathering, but I too was checking in with Val and others before coming. I trust him and found that all was as he said once I arrived on the 18th–with a few exceptions, we’d only been given welcome by the Lakota. And that was my experience after getting there on the 18th as well. I agree with Val in that this has been one of the most positive gatherings I’ve been to in a long, long time.

  17. Tecumseh says:

    Been many seasons since I’ve been home
    I would love to be where the buffalo roam.
    Those days are gone along with my health
    But the memories are my greatest wealth.
    I’m there in spirit every year
    I look at the pictures and shed happy tears.
    Feel free to send me a friend request
    May the spirit embrace you with love and respect.

  18. Jay says:

    Wow. Beauiful photos. Balanced, refreshing, intelligent report. Thanks, Jay

  19. Mareba Many Hats says:

    I add my thanks for these beautiful pics, and give my thanks to all who made this and the other national gatherings happen. I so was with you all in spirit – didn’t have the time or resources to join you this year. I’m especially thankful for any and all inter-multi-generational interactings and cooperations. Our Rainbow Vision is originally and always will be interwoven with the first nations and their descendants. What a blessing to be able to circle up with the willing among the Lakota, and to move the long-held controversies and woundings along, toward the healing Mother Earth and her Creation so desperately need at this time of the Great Turning. Together we can make our dreams of Peace on Earth come True. its requires being and working, playing and creating, sharing and caring together, and telling the stories that will help all this come about in our beloved Circle Way.

    Blessings All Ways – see you round and about, and love to those who read this, whose paths have joined with mine through the decades. All my relations. Mareba Many Hats.

  20. Rainbeau Weaver says:

    Thank you, thank you, dear Teriyani for your lovely, eloquent photography and loving, informative captioning.
    I too was wary at first that we shouldn’t trespass where we perhaps weren’t wanted. I’m so glad, and your photos prove that this was not the case.
    I was so sad not to be able to attend, once my feelings became positive about the location in the Sacred Black hills, but I need not be now that I’ve seen your delicious photos and I shared a wonderful meditation and silence till noon mountain time.
    Bless you and please Post More Pics!

  21. Sky "Hot Spice" Williamson says:

    Beautiful! Beautiful!
    I miss you all, my Family! It has been altogether TOO long away!
    Hoping that Sweet Spice & I can make it back to you all at the dinner circle, Family!

    We LOVE You!
    Sweet & Spicy

  22. jason foster says:

    this years gatherin was so amazing was alot smaller than in the past but had more of a chance to bond with people love u family!

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