There is a lot of attention being focused on the Rainbow Gathering, which is scheduled to be held in the Black Hills National Forest. There are Lakota people who have vehemently spoken out against these people coming to the HeSapa. There are also Lakota people who do not have anything against the Rainbow Family. It’s clear the Lakota people are divided on this event.
There has been a lot of talk on the reality of the effects a gathering of this size could bring to the area. Local media reports seem focused on the dark side of the Rainbow gatherings and how they impact the environment, as well as crime rates. I wonder why the same dramatic media attention is not given to the Sturgis Rally, which is held in close proximity to Bear Butte. The rally has brought us 75 years of drugs, drinking and sex trafficking of local women. The difference is the rally brings in millions of dollars and the Rainbow gathering won’t bring a cent.
Also, I speak for many when I say we are tired of reading about how terrible the Rainbow group is. I would rather see more focus on bringing the dark side of the Sturgis Rally to light. I’d also like to see more action surrounding the atrocities committed by our own Lakota people. The attention on the Rainbow issue is distracting our people from the myriad of problems our reservation children face every single day.
There are so many postings on social media ranting about drugs, nudity, litter, etc. which are allegedly typical of a Rainbow gathering. I’ve read accusations from my own people about the lack of respect the Rainbow followers have for Lakota people. I haven’t read much regarding the lack of respect the Lakota often have for their own people.
I read one post on social media which focused on the possible threat of assaults on Lakota women and children. I interpreted the Lakota male’s words as an overt call to violence. He called on Lakota men who had served in the military to gather and put a stop to the Rainbow event in any way possible, including violence. Many of us wonder if the same call to action will be issued in August when the Sturgis Rally takes place. It would be great if the same call would also be made against the Keystone XL pipeline.
I would fully support a call to local Lakota men to take action on the real violence happening on our own Rez. Numerous Lakota men, women and children suffer from violent acts every single day. It is estimated that 100% of our Lakota children witness violence on a regular basis in their own homes or communities.
There are valid concerns about all the trash which could be left behind when the Rainbow group leaves the Black Hills. Did anyone else see the picture on social media of members of the Rainbow family who visited Pine Ridge to help pick up trash there? The two outspoken males who want to block the Rainbow group from entering the Black Hills could follow their example by coming to the Rez and leading a non-violent clean-up of trash. It seems those two males are more concerned with media attention than they are about solving any of the real problems our Lakota people are fighting.
Our Lakota children are suffering on the Rez every single day. Lakota women and children are being trafficked for sex in Sioux Falls and the Bakken Oil Patch. Many of us are busy dealing with the issues we see right here in front of us. Our time, energy and resources are better applied to our local problems. Most of us don’t have time to be making social media videos bashing other human beings.
The Rainbow group is being treated very badly by some Lakota people. The way some Lakota people are acting is similar to the racist behavior we are subject to on a regular basis. It’s embarrassing to many of us. How ironic that some of our own Lakota people would publicly demonstrate the same racist behavior we often experience. The two media hungry males in particular have also made attempts to discredit some of our most outspoken Lakota women. These women are well-known activists and have long led the fight to protect natural resources, including our sacred water.
All of this is happening at the same time our summer ceremonies are being held. People are praying on the Rez. Many will be in prayer all summer. The self-appointed, media hungry spokespersons of the Lakota Oyate might think about using their energy to encourage our children to come back to the circle and pray, instead of using every waking moment to call for support in blocking a Rainbow gathering from happening in the HeSapa.
We would do well to clean up our own back yards of the trash and violence before we go running off into the Black Hills to stop other human beings from having a gathering. I would ask those of you who are against the Rainbow people coming to the Black Hills to be honest with yourselves. Take some time to examine what is truly in your minds and hearts. Please scrutinize your own behavior because you are acting in the same racist, prejudice and discriminating way the local non-Lakota do when they encounter our people who live or visit in Rapid City.
There are many so called Lakota people now in denial about their own behavior. So, for those of you who deny your own actions, I say congratulations. You have successfully lowered yourself to the level of thinking typical of the racist, prejudice and discriminating non-Lakota when they treat our people with blatant disrespect.
Our children are watching. Please know many Lakota people are praying for all of you in ceremony. Mitakuye Oyasin.