Where will the gathering be?

We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2017 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the state of Oregon. For directions, click here.

To find out how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here and check out the right side-bar. To reach a human being, email Karin.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Outreach to First Nations - a report

Updated May 7, 2017 @ 6:50 p.m. Oregon time


OUTREACH TO TRIBAL CULTURAL RESOURCE PERSONNEL

2017 ANNUAL RAINBOW GATHERING


WHO: Don Joseph and Dinner-Circle Daniel

WHERE: EASTERN OREGON – The Warm Springs, Umatilla and Burns Paiute Reservations. (The Nez Perce and Klamath tribes will be contacted shortly as part of this on-going family process.)

WHEN: The last week of March 2017


The 2016 Thanksgiving Council in Eugene was unanimous in its support for making an early effort to contact native tribes with interests in any National Forest in Oregon which could be the location of the Annual Gathering, even if such contacts could lead to controversy.

Subjects covered in meetings with tribal cultural resource representatives were: the nature of the Gathering; our council and site-selection process; tribal concerns about landscape impacts including archaeological, historical, animal, plant, water and soil resources; and site cleanup and restoration.  Each asked for further consultation if a specific site or sites within their traditional territory are under active consideration. No other actions were requested until that time. Our personal contact information was given and the resource personnel for each tribe provided their contact info.  Each provided a map of their traditional territory, which includes National Forest lands.

The two enclosed documents, as well as a copy of the 2016 Vermont “Operating Plan,” were handed out to provide additional information and to share with the tribal council and other tribal members.  A gift of Paiute sweet sage was presented to each representative.

All the tribal representatives expressed gratitude for our having taken the time to explain the Gathering and to seek their input.

FYI. Google has the location of these PDFs marked as a problem site, but there is nothing wrong with the PDFs. Continue past the error.

To view Daniel's Basic Resource Needs Handout, click here.
To view Oregon Handout To Tribes, click here.

Updates from April 27


On 10 April, Miriam and I meet with the Nez Perce Tribe's archaeologist.  Just as for the first three tribe's contacted, the Nez Perce person said that his tribe would give us their input on any site we are considering in their traditional territory and he gave us his tribe's "official"  territorial map. 


On 13 April, I called Perry Chocktoot, the Director of the Culture and Heritage Dept. for the Klamath Tribes, to try and set up a meeting time with him. On the phone, Mr. Chocktoot said, that although he was not judging the purpose of event, “the {Klamath] tribes can’t support the resource damage of the site [of a Rainbow gathering] in their traditional territory.”  He also said “there are more cultural and resource sites in our territory than for any other tribe in Oregon” and “we have to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Mr. Chocktoot agreed to a personal meeting which was set for 10 AM, 21 April at the Tribes' new Culture and Heritage building in Chiloquin, OR.  The Klamath Tribes have Klamath, Modoc, Northern Paiute and Pit River people.


On 21 April 2017, Miriam  and I were at tribal office at 10 AM in Chiloquin.  Mr Chocktoot was ill and not available.  We met with Ron Busby, Language Instructor, and Mandy Roberson, Culture and Heritage Department Office Manager. Ms. Roberson said “Perry’s job is to protect the sites.” She also said “I don’t think the tribes will allow a Rainbow Gathering in our territory.”   They will try to get a map of their traditional territory and mail it to DJ.


So, as of now, all the native tribes of central and eastern Oregon have been contacted and we have tribal territorial maps for four of the five tribes.  Hopefully, we will get the fifth soon.


Onward toward scouting a  great, acceptable Gathering site in Oregon,  Yes, much love to you too, Don Joseph
 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Brief Summary of Gathering/Forest Service Relationships

I find it helpful to have a basic understanding of situations in order to make informed decisions going into the future.  While my understanding of the relationship between the gathering and the United States Forest Service (USFS) is just one perspective, I hope that putting together a brief summary of how things have gone may help myself and other to see the big picture.

As I wasn't around until the late 1980s, I will try to keep my summary focused on things I do know and let others fill in the rest.

At the first gathering of the tribes, the USFS told family that a gathering could not happen without a permit and that no permit would be issued. People gathered anyway, often times hiking in through the woods to get to the site.  The next several years, the issue disappeared from the radar. From 1976 to 1980 permits were signed, often under protest. If you're interested in the details, read Plunker's summary of the permit issue from 1972 to 1983: Permit Herstory.

In 1984, the Forest Service enacted a regulation requiring a permit for any expressive assembly of ten or more people on Forest Service lands. This was unenforced for a year and a half before the Service attempted to apply it to the gathering in Arizona in 1986.

In 1987 at the North Carolina gathering, the state tried to tell us we need a permit for all public gatherings. After a lot of legal wrangling and an elephant, Judge Dave issued a consent decree that theoretically was not a permit, but .....Judge Dave was so taken with his experience in 1987 that he has written a book about it called Judge Dave and the Rainbow People. All didn't end so well as some of the cleanup crew where arrested. Click here for the consent order.

In 1988 at the Texas gathering, the USFS demanded a permit and when family just said no, they blockaded the gathering and refused to allow ingress to the gathering site. Family walked around the blockade to bring in supplies. The situation wound up in court. The judge presiding over the hearing was Mr. Justice or as he is more commonly known in Rainbow Circles Justice Justice.   This regulation was deemed unconstitutional because not all groups of ten or more people were required to obtain a permit. In other words, if people attending the gathering were sharing information, fliers, beliefs, etc, then a permit was required. However, if they weren't, then no permit required.  For Plunker's rap on what happened, click here.


The USFS Group Use Regulations governing "special events" were struck down at the 1988 gathering in Texas --visit these sites for more info:
The USFS regrouped and tried to write regulations governing special events that would stand up in court.  It took them quite some time and if you're interested in a perspective on how that all happened, read the PC&U's article, From the Trenches.  (This article was written just after the Wyoming 1994 gathering).

In late 1995, a new set of group use regulations was published by the government that required any group of 75 or more people to apply for a "Group Use Permit" under the Non-Commercial Group Use Regulations.

In 1996, one individual signed a permit and then later tried to rescind it. For a summary, see the Ozark Gazette article.  Folks gathered and so it goes.

In 1997 at the annual gathering in Oregon, the USFS tried a new tactic: they came with arrest warrants for people they deemed "secret leaders"  and then these "secret leaders" counter sued. We had an amazing council for days on end with the USFS and worked out an unsigned operating plan on the land.  (You can find copies of a few of these plans here). Finally, the USFS bullied a woman in Portland who had a child at the gathering to sign a permit, which she did. This woman was not at the gathering nor did she have any influence over the gathering. The incident commander at this gathering was from the resource branch of the forest service and in his report stated that the permit was an obstacle to an effective working relationship. For a repository of great information on what happened in 1997, click here.

Wrangling over the permit continued at the Arizona gathering in 1998.  While a small victory was won by a gatherer, it was a technicality and had no great impact on the future course of events.
For a summary of events, see the Arizona Republic Article or the New York Times article.

During the 1999 Rainbow Gathering in Pennsylvania, 3 individuals were chosen by the Forest Service's Incident Command Team as "secret leaders," and cited for not applying for a group use permit. As Rainbow is a leaderless, self-created temporary community, these charges were totally bogus. Unfortunately, due some legal maneuverings by the USFS, the "Rainbow 3"  lost their case (they weren't allowed any witnesses, among other things). An attempt was made to bring the case to the US Supreme Court, but the justices declined to take the case and the "Rainbow 3" spent time in the federal prison system for refusing to illegally sign a permit. For more legal information, click herehere or here or read the article that appeared in Legal Affairs.

Moving out west for 2000 in Montana, a cat and mouse game played out between the "secret leaders" with some of them sneaking in and out of the gathering to avoid continued legal harassment and the USFS. Three people were picked out by the Forest Service as “Rainbow leaders” to receive tickets for camping without a noncommercial group use permit. One of the defendants challenged his ticket. The Forest Service replied, as they had in the previous cases, that the group use regulation was a constitutional time, place, and manner restriction that is narrowly tailored to fit the specific government needs of protecting Forest Service resources, insuring public safety, and deciding between competing uses in a way that leaves open ample alternative channels for expression. Furthermore the signature requirement was a valuable means of ensuring that the group would adhere to the terms of the special use authorization and of protecting against fraudulent statements. All three defendants were sentenced to jail time although the sentences varied.

The cat and mouse game continued in Idaho in 2001 with tickets for all despite the fact that a permit application was made and denied.   While I don't have the exact number of citations issued for being at a an "illegal gathering" (One with more than 74 people and no permit), there's a great article from the Boise Weekly on the issue and my guess is over 500 if not closer to 1,000 people received the magic ticket.   The governor issued a declaration of emergency. The USFS even went so far as to inform the local chapter of Trout Unlimited that they would be unable to perform restoration work in conjunction with gatherers.  By the 4th of July, USFS mounted officers were seen joining in the celebration for world peace and the positive evolution of the planet. The Idaho Stateman published an article on the cleanup.

In 2002 the gathering was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and drinking water was in short supply. The USFS tried to smoke us out by dumping drinking water en route to the gathering. but the local townsfolks  help out.  Then the USFS refused to issue a permit to an applicant.  Finally, the USFS decided that the illegal gathering could happen on one side of the river but not the other.  The infamous "west bank" of the river became off limits to everyone although every evening after they USFS LEOs went home for the day, we gathered there for dinner circle and for the silence on the 4th.

In 2003, a long time gatherer approached the USFS and promised to sign a permit for the gathering in Utah. He followed through on his plan meeting with officials before hand but the situation with the USFS was as bad as ever.  The USFS expected the permit signer to be responsible for every detail of the gathering and we all know that was doomed to failure.

Prior to the California 2004 gathering, meetings and telephone calls with the USFS took place in an attempt to find a workable solution for both sides - including a meeting with the head of the USFS in the Haight-Ashbury library in San Francisco.  Despite attempts to trying to work together, things didn't work out and the gathering was once again declared "illegal." Again someone not affiliated with the gathering signed a permit, but the USFS kept up it's campaign of intimidation, people were cited for being at an illegal event before the permit was signed, and the USFS declared the site off limits to nudity despite the fact that nudity was legal at this location before the gathering started.  People who were cited for being at an illegal gathering or being naked by their tent were treated to a visit to kangaroo court: a makeshift court just for us in some random building located in a small town near the gathering.

West Virginia in 2005 marks the first time the annual gathering relocated under pressure from the USFS.  A permit was signed for a location that the USFS wanted us to be on, many people received tickets for being at an "illegal gathering" and kangaroo Court was set up at the local visitor's center.

In 2006, the USFS put up road blocks at the Colorado gathering in a failed attempt to prevent people from entering yet another "illegal gathering," many citations were written to people at the gathering, folks walked in through the woods (just like in 1972), kangaroo court took place in the local Fire Station and someone applied for a group use permit, which the Forest Service denied.  For Karin's recount of these issues, click here.

Arkansas 2007 was an attempt to work with the upper levels of the USFS  on a cooperative solution and the USFS took an unsigned operating plan worked out with gathering participants on the land in lieu of a falsified signature on a permit.  Life didn't change that much and the LEOs pulled pepper spray guns at family when they arrested a young woman (without bothering to inform her that she was being arrested).

The tension escalated the following year in Wyoming 2008. Again, the USFS accepted an unsigned operating plan worked out with gatherers on the land in lieu of a permit.  Unfortunately, the tension between the heads of the USFS who agreed to the unsigned operating plan model and the LEOs on the ground played out in the LEOs shooting up Kid Village with the same pepper spray paint ball guns they pulled the previous year. For perspectives on this situation from gatherers, click here.   For the report from the federal government on this incident, click here.

And by my accounts, Wyoming 2008 marks the absolute low in the relationship between the United States Forest Service and the Rainbow Gathering.

The New Mexico gathering in 2009 was a strange one.  Again someone not affiliated with the gathering signed a permit.  Everyone was jumpy after 2008. The US Marshals were there to baby sit the USFS LEOs and despite some scary moments, the US Marshals kept the USFS LEOs peaceful (that's not the official party line but I spent a lot of time on that movie and myself as well as others I know believe this to be true).

Then starting with Pennsylvania, 2010, gatherers on the land, working cooperatively with USFS resource and law enforcement personnel continued with the unsigned operating plan model.  The day we counciled on the actual operating plan, the head of the forest and the law enforcement incident commander sat in council with us, passed the feather, and worked together to address concerns, issues and problems.  :)

That relationship continued in Washington 2011 with really awesome USFS LEO leadership working with folks on the land.  An unsigned operating plan was worked out between gatherers and USFS resource personnel.

Tennessee 2012, Montana 2013, Utah 2014, South Dakota 2016, and Vermont 2017 continued the unsigned operating plan model with varying degrees of cooperation between the Forest Service on-the-ground. This mean the gathering and gathering participants are not being targeted or ticketed for being at an illegal event.  

All this brings us to this year. With the regime change in Washington. who knows what to  expect. I will be writing up some thoughts on that as a separate blog post in the next week or so.

If you've managed to read this entire post, you now have a clue.  If you managed to read all the links, you actually understand the journey we've been on with the US Government.  As far as I'm concerned, gatherers sharing love and acting peacefully took on the US Government and we're still standing - quite an accomplishment family.  I know many of us have had differences of opinions over the years on how to deal with this situation and I think this saga proves that we're on a good path, one with many perspectives, a bit of bickering, and more love than my heart can hold. 

Additional References

USFS Non-commercial group use regulations

Welcome Home's FS Regs page

Butterfly Bill's nice summary of court cases.

Butterfly Bill's stories of gatherings' past.

Karin's archive of FOIA Requests

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Who's Job Is It?

Thanks to whoever made this beautiful image. Click image to enlarge.

Friday, April 7, 2017

So You Want to Focalize a Kitchen?

In my humble opinion, the gathering needs more kitchens like it needs more dogs, but for some  reason, everyone wants to focalize a kitchen. That being said, being part of the kitchen provides an amazing growing, learning experience on working collectively and provide safe and healthy food in the woods.

However.....

The reality of focalizing a kitchen goes something like this.

Main Supply won't provide all the food for cooking if you're feeding the gathering at large - either off-the-rails or at dinner circle. This means you provide much of the free food in the woods. While some kitchens have a donation can on the counter for after people have been fed, in reality most of the cost of food is born by those running the kitchen. Bring 500 to 1,000 pounds of food to get started. You'll need to provide pots and pans for cooking, 5-gallon water buckets for dish washing, filtered drinking water for you and your crew and hopefully for all gatherers. You'll need to chop wood, haul water and wash dishes in addition to cooking. You'll need to make sure you provide sanitary cooking and serving facilities, keep sick people out of your kitchen, deal with late night movies and work your ass off.

If you've never plugged in with a kitchen at a gathering before, you might think about joining your energy with a well established kitchen to get a sense of how hard cooking in the woods can be before you strike off on your own.

If you're ambitious enough to serve main circle, make sure to be at kitchen council so your kitchen gets some of the supplies (often around 11 AM near Info). But keep in mind that even those kitchens serving main circle only get a portion of the food they serve from main supply.

Sure late night zuzu cooking is fun, but it also is hard to work around all the tripping hippies -- especially those who need baby sitting at 2 AM.

You'll also need to have some serious shitter movies going down. Not only for your crew but for anyone who is attracted to your camp. This can mean digging one or two new shitters every day from June 28 to July 3 when the gathering population swells.

When the gathering is over, you get to disappear your kitchen so no one knows it was ever there. You get to haul your trash out, bury your compost and fill in your shitters.

What do you get for focalizing a kitchen?

More personal growth than you ever imagined possible in a couple of weeks. More stress than you can imagine and more people smoking you out that you could ever wish for if you're kitchen is dank. You get to move your kitchen three times because the US Forest Service keeps changing the rule on how close to surface water the kitchen can be - play it safe and go 500 feet if you want to avoid the move your kitchen game.

You get people bugging you at all hours of the day and night because they're hungry or thirsty. You get random dogs digging through your supply tent and eating the food you just hiked three miles on your back. If you leave your kitchen unsupervised by trusted kitchen crew, you come back to a kitchen missing pots or oranges or a tarp.

The wonderful tarps you strung over your kitchen collapse from rain in the middle of the evening meal. And above all, you get to have a complete temper tantrum when your nerves snap because no one wants to help wash dishes or dig the next shitter.  Of course, you can plug into an existing kitchen and learn from experienced family how a great kitchen works. (Try the Ovens, Kiddie Village, Iris, Musical Veggies, Granola Funk, Instant Soup, Fat Kids, Tea Time, Warriors of the Light and BARF to name but a few of the great kitchens. Ask at Info when you get to the gathering).  Most kitchens welcome new people who are willing to work.

It's a wonderful magical crazy ride and worth every second if you last. But please, please, please read the Kitchen Mini Manual so you don't get your family sick due to lack of proper hygiene.

If you've every plugged into a kitchen, please share your words of wisdom.  If you're interested in how Main Supply works, click here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Brain on Nature

When I get into the woods, my brain changes. The way my brain works changes.  The way I interact with other life on this planet changes.  Being in the rhythm of the woods is a magical part of the gathering. Everyone changes in the woods.

I connect with human beings under the canopy of Douglas Fir and cedar trees. My brain slowly returns to rhythms marked by sunrise and sunset, rain and sun. It is a helpless feeling at first because I am so used to the endless push to analyze texts, fix computer problems, and tame databases.  The pace is relentless not just in what I am doing but in the already identified list of things to be done.

Walking on forest duff, I deal with that which is in front of me. I slide into non-logical ways of knowing and stop thinking in words. Under the panorama of stars, I awaken all my ways of understanding. As Glen Slater writes in his article “Cyborgian Drift,” ,“the privileging of the intellect over other aspects of being—animal sensation, instinct, aesthetic response, intuition” is a form of “Blinkered vision”  (180).

Remove your blinkers family!

Turning off the computers, the phones, completely unplugging and focusing all my attention on the beautiful smiles in my presence, the tiny wildflowers in the meadow, the sound of the drums at night rolling out across the hills helps me reconnect with deep love,  with the energy that is around me now and I am present in a way that I am not present all the time.


At the gathering I deal with specifics and tangible issues.  Chop wood, haul water, cook food, dig shitters, hold the hands and hearts of my family and place my heart in their hands.  My brain away from computers and electronics changes, slows down, feels the love that it all around me.

I know quitting addictions is hard. The first few days you may feel disoriented, lost, unable to function but give it a week and feel the calm in your heart, the clarity in your mind.  Feel the love that is all around you. If you can't quit, keep your addiction to yourself. Please respect that many people who gather, do so to get away from electronics and the state of mind that goes along with them.

Some of you may disagree, may argue that your brain on computers is who you are and you would be no different away from the gadgets.  There's only one way to find out.  Take a break.  See what happens when you love and work at a human speed, not a computer's speed.  Hear the wind in the trees, see the butterflies in the sky, share a story with the person next to you  (especially if you don't know her/him) instead of the one on the other end of a gadget.  Find out who you are when nature is speaking through you.

 Gaia doesn't text.  The creek isn't on Facebook.  The tree's aren't on social media. Take a week or two out of your life to experience this other world and find out who you are On Nature.