Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Results of FOIA Requests - US Spending on Gathering

I'm tired and had a goal of getting this info out by the end of the year. I posted it all in my other blog, so you'll have to hop over there to see the info.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Karin's thoughts on Conference Call with Mark Rey

On Tuesday, December 9, I participated in a conference call with the Undersecretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, Mark Rey. The best way to sum up this call was as a wrap up to the Rainbow trail we have all traveled together. I did not take minutes, but I did take notes on what I considered key points for people who are committed to the future of the rainbow gathering.

The call was recorded and is available online thanks to Marty Who Loves to Party. It has a little over 5 minutes of waiting music before the conference call begins and it only will play on bandwidth LOW so you have to click the BANDWIDTH ?LO? FOR THIS TO PLAY!

Last spring in a series of conferences calls with Rey, I kept pressing him to revise the Forest Service Group Use Regulations to make it clear that an unsigned operating plan could be used in lieu of a permit for peaceful assembly on public land. He said he would consider it after the July gathering. Well no surprise to anyone, now he says it’s too late in the Bush administration to initiate regulatory changes.

As to the gathering in Wyoming, my understanding of Mark Rey’s words were that things broke down because we did not use one of the sites on their list of recommendations based on site selection and USFS staff who would work well with gatherings – take that as you will.

Now to going forward into the future.

First off, Mark Rey had the Inspector General of the USDA open an independent investigation into the incident that happened at the Wyoming gathering on July 3 at Kid Village. This investigation is ongoing. Any statements or supporting documentation that you feel should be included in this investigation should be sent to

Case # KC899-0025
Mr. William Busby
c/o USDA Inspector General
12136 W. Bayaud Avenue
Suite 210
Lakewood, Co 80228
Email Electronic Media

Please include contact info along with any material, written or otherwise provided... A clearly marked item in terms of identifying its content will be best received. It does not sound as though telephone contact is desired, though he did sound enthusiastic about receiving other forms of evidence -- video, camera, written, etc.

He is willing to look at the tasing incident, as incidental to the main thrust - July 3 @ Kid Village.

Please cc your congressional representative and United States Senators with any information you send. I have no idea where this investigation will lead.

On the call, Mark Rey spent a lot of time outlining the process by which cabinet and subcabinet positions (such as his) are appointed.

A couple of major points.

• Our senators get to grill the nominated appointees, so we need to make sure our senators have a series of questions to ask the nominees. This needs to be done ASAP as the ball is rolling on this process
• We need to protest appointment of people who will not support our values and concerns.

My biggest concern at this point is getting people appointed to cabinet level positions such as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) and Department of the Interior (BLM) that will be Rainbow friendly as well as being a lover of the earth, not the timber companies.

The Obama transition team is currently falling into place.
A great list is available online.

Bart Chilton and Carole Jett seem to be the two people leading the USDA transition process. . They will be working to find nominees for all cabinet and subcabinet level positions. To make suggest or include input, visit the website and select topic “Transition Process” I’m still trying to find contact info for these two people.

My apologies if this information isn’t as focused as it could be. If you haven’t listened to the call, please do so as there are many more detailed ideas on how we might be able to continue to have a gathering that in the eyes of the USFS is “legal” and that does not require a permit.

Friday, December 12, 2008

December 17 Meeting with USFS

Dec. 17th at the FS HQ on Rodeo Road in Santa Fe, from 10 am to 11 am.

This is an open meeting but notice please that is planned as just an hour. The idea is to go over A) some other sites we like so the FS can vet them for problems (rare snails, archaeological sites, boy scouts, etc.) well in advance; B) the proposed alternative model (operations plan) that Mark Rey spoke about during the teleconference last week -- so that the process is set in motion in advance of regime change in D.C.; C) to talk briefly about the Inspector General's investigation of the FS Leo relations with the Rainbow; and D) a brief intro between some of our legal team here in NM and the Counsel that the FS uses here [when these lwyrs have met each other in advance in the past it has always proven beneficial]. Those are the topics that have come up so far.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rainbow and Rainbow

The Rainbow Gathering has used the image of a rainbow for many years as has the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community (GLBTQ). Yet at rainbow gatherings, we don't discuss the GLBTQ community much. Years back the Southern California family held a council in Orange County and we told people to meet at the Rainbow Flag. Well there were two rainbow flags at the park that day and we were all flying the same colors.

The Rainbow Gathering is a coming together of many tribes. Some of our tribes are focused by religious beliefs, some by geography and some by participation in the GLBTQ community. If you've never been to Fairy Camp, then you're missing out big time. Colorful costumes, great music and lots of hugs. Usually a few pranks floating around as well. Every gathering Fairy Camp lights up the night dressed in fabulous costumes. If you haven't had a chance to experience your inner fairy, come on out and join the fun.

Today is the Day Without a Gay and even if you didn't call in "gay" to work, you can join the cause of civil rights for all people in the United States of America. Take the time to share information (like this post) with people in your community on the importance of all people having the same civil rights in the United States. Talk about the importance of separation of church and state with your friends. Talk about your GLBTQ friends and how discrimination is hurting them.

Come out for Light Up the Night on December 20 and join me in a nation-wide peaceful candlelight vigil taking place at commercial districts and shopping centers all across the country. Let the light of the Rainbow join with the flames of all our brothers and sisters across this land and demand equal treatment under the law.

Love is the answer. Be the peace you wish to see in this world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanksgiving Council Notes Round 1

I'm told there is more to come, but for now, this is it.Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grandma Brigade

Those of you who've been to gatherings in the last couple of years are familiar with "crusty corner." I love those kids, but we're ending up with a generation gap at the gathering and if we don't deal with it soon, we're going to loose our future. I spoke to various people about the generation gap in Wyoming and since and realize that the grandmas are guiding the way.

I call it the "grandma brigade" and it's our wonderfully cool, wise and loving grandmas hanging out with our younger family. I don't see this as grandmas giving unwanted advise to the younger generation, but just makeing friends, creating a connection and being a "grandma" to a bunch of kids who don't seem to have a lot of grandma energy in their lives.

In New Mexico, I'd love to see roaming gangs of grandmas kicking it at Phat Kids or Shutup and Eat It or Death Camp. Our grandmas are our strength and we desperately need them wandering around our gathering and hanging out at campfires, sitting with folks at trade circle and sharing their physical energy.

Grandmas of the gathering, we need you. Please come out and join the Grandma Brigade.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Possible Secretary of Agriculture

Tim LaSalle is CEO of Rodale Institute, a 60-year-old organization dedicated to researching and educating farmers and consumers about sustainable agriculture. He holds his doctorate in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, a master’s in populations genetics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a bachelor of science degree from California Polytechnic State University. For 12 years, he was a full professor at Cal Poly, where he taught dairy science classes and served as the president and CEO of California’s Agriculture Education Foundation. While at Cal Poly, LaSalle started and operated a conventional dairy near Templeton, California. More recently, LaSalle served in an executive capacity with various nonprofit organizations, including the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County and the Allan Savory Center for Holistic Management.

Keep in mind that in our bizarre world, the Secretary of the Dept of Agriculture oversees the National Forests as well as farming issues.

Make your two cents heard here. YOUR VISION
Word on the street is that Sarah Palin came out of a blog posting, so anything is possible.
For those not in the know, check out Pacifica online It's a really cool place. Kind of Harvard meets Haight Street.
For a list of other possibilities, try these links
Yale Sustainable Food Project

Diet Detective
Yahoo News Article

And if you really want some play, visit the Executive Director of the Sierra Club's blog and give him some feedback as to the type of person we want for these key positions under Obama


Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Council Directions

Dear Family,

You are invited to attend this year's ThanksGiving Council at "Frenchy's old place" outside Tres Piedres and Taos New Mexico.

Here are the directions:

From Taos: Past the traffic signal at the north of town go northwest approx 24 miles on Highway 64. One block west of The Colorado Road turn right and go 1/4 mile north. You're there!

From Tres Piedres: Go 3 1/2 miles eastward on Highway 64. Turn north one block west west of The Colorado Road and go 1/4 mile. You're there!

Days should be sunny and cool and nights will be F-r-i-g-i-d. Come prepared for cold nights. Bring water and those who can, bring firewood too. There is some indoor accomodation and some tipi/tenting for those with warm gear. There is space for live-in vehicles. As usual all donations will be accepted and used in a cooperative manner

We'll have Thanksgiving dinner and circle on Thanksgiving and start counciling Friday morning. That should continue thru Saturday and wind up Sunday sometime. Bring food to share, maps and all the best ideas for discussion. We become the Family we want to be by listening to each other!

There is no land line phone there, but some cell phones get service.

Travel safely and we will see you there!

Peace and Love,

New Mexico Rainbow Family

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Barack Obama and the Rainbow Gathering

Those of you who have been involved know the struggles we have faced to continue gathering due to Forest Service Regulations. If you're not quite up to speed, there's a lot of good information posted at Welcome Home and Wyoming Gathering Blogspot and Prop 1.

Well change is coming to the United States Forest Service and Barack has the opportunity to deal with us straight up by appointing people to the upper reaches of the Forest Service who support the rights of the people to freely assemble. Who believe that a gathering is a recreational event of individuals. Who believe that one million dollars of tax payer money is better spent on planting trees than harassing hippies.

So what do we do next?

The number one man in the United States Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations division (John Twiss) just stepped down. I have heard that the acting
chief is Dave Ferrell-a man with much experience working with Rainbow Gatherings.

The current Undersecretary of the United States Department of Agriculture is Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist. Mr. Rey has been working with us for the last couple of years, but he leaves his post when Barak Obama is inaugurated as the President (January 20, 2009).

The two people who fill these positions are going to have an enormous amount of influence over our gatherings for the length of their appointments, which if we're lucky will be 8 years. Think about how bad things have gotten for us under the Bush Administration. Well it's time for a change.

So I am asking you to make your voice hear. Barack has a transition website up where you can easily make your voice heard. So what to do?

Visit YOUR VISION and tell your story about going to a Rainbow Gathering and how the United States Forest Service treated you and ask that Barack Obama appoint a new Undersecretary who supports the rights of the people to gathering, who will treat gathering participants like human beings, who recognizes that gathering on public lands is a legitimate user of our forests, who will stop the violence committed by the United States Forest Service towards people who gather to pray for world peace.

Send the same message to your United States Senators and your United States Congressional Representative.

The time is now. I call on Thanksgiving Council to discuss this subject. It is the most important peace of business in which we can engage.

I call on all Rainbow circles, and individuals and people with an interest in justice and the future of the Rainbow Gatherings to make their voice heard, nominate specific candidates for Chief Law Enforcement Offices and Undersecretary. The time is now. If we wait even two months, this opportunity will have passed us by.

If we do this in a thoughtful, positive manner now, in New Mexico we will have stopped the madness perpetrated by the federal government against our children, against our elders, against all our brothers and sisters. If we let this moment pass us by, the violence will continue to escalate at the gathering.

The time is now family. Please forward this information to all your circles everywhere: rainbow and beyond. We need 100,000 voices letting President Elect Barack Obama know that we need a change in our National Forests.

As an aside, on November 4, California voted to ban gay marriage and the shock has been felt around the world. Yesterday over one million gay and straight people marched in 300 cities in ten countries demanding equal rights. This movement was born of the pain we felt in our hearts at the discrimination against our brothers and sisters who are now being denied the right to marry because they are GLBT.

Here in San Diego, two or three amazing women in their early twenties started a movement 8 days ago that brought twenty five thousand people into the streets of San Diego alone yesterday demanding equality for all. All my faith is in my younger brothers and sisters. We need you and we need you now.

~ Sí, se puede

~ ~ ~ ~ Namaste

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanksgiving Council Directions Are Coming

I should have the directions by Thursday. Apparently the local family is still discussing the site they think will be the best one. Definitely in New Mexico.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Brain Drain

About a year ago I started thinking about the brain drain at the Rainbow Gathering. My two cents on why it's happening is that this ongoing conflict with the United States Forest Service and their extreme harassment of gathering participants has fueled it. I'll save the details on that for another day. On to the topic of today's post.

The Rainbow Gathering depends on fresh ideas and new perspectives. While the percentage of first time attendees in recent years seems as high as ever, the type of first time gatherer seems to be predominately people who come in a more searching/needing/learning mode. The percentage of first time gatherers who come with skills to share seems to be at an all time low. By skills to share, I mean people who are holistic healers, yoga gurus, master drummers, experienced activists, peace keepers and other types of light workers.

Last spring I began a project in preparation for the 2008 annual gathering that took place in Wyoming. I started researching people with the skills I felt we needed. I printed up postcards on my computer with a brief blurb about the gathering and links to a couple of websites. I sent these out to a few hundred people over a period of a couple of months to people I found online in Southern California and the areas in and around Wyoming.

How did I do it? I would pick a topic - say acupuncturists and google them say near Denver and in a completely subjective process, I would pick five or six and send them the postcard. I did this anonymously for the most part, although towards late May I started sending the info via email messages.

I have no idea if any people came to the gathering from the information I sent out. I did hear from two people in response to the email that they were planning on coming.

One of the limitations of this project was that I started very late and many people with great skills plan their lives months if not years in advance. I'm putting this out in the hopes that more people will pick up this project. We need more people with alternative healing skills at CALM. We especially need people who know how to video police abuse. We need some master drummers because frankly, the drumming in Wyoming was a bit sad. I'm sure you can think of a lot of areas where a few people with great skills and good teaching style could help us in our quest (what ever you consider that to be).

So in the hopes of getting started early this year, I'm putting this out and hoping some people will join me in continuing the effort for New Mexico in 2009.

Here's the blurb that I used last year:

XXXth Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes
July 1 to 7, 2008 in XXX
Silent Prayer/Meditation for World Peace
July 4 dawn until noon

The Rainbow Gathering is a totally free, non-commercial gathering of people. We invite all people to come camp with us in a magical mountain meadow in XXX, chop firewood, haul water, cook food and participate in workshops on non-violent direct action, yoga, alternative healing, and make music, create art and dance until your feet fall off.

Some say we're the largest non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization. To be honest, the Rainbow Family means different things to different people. I think it's safe to say we're into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles. We also believe that Peace and Love are a great thing, and there isn't enough of that in this world. We have a strong orientation to take care of the Earth.

Please join us in creating the world the way we want it to be. or

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A little bit of kitchen hipstory

The last Annual Gathering of the Tribes in New Mexico took place in 1995 and we'll be back again in 2009. As with so much in life, tribes come and go, kitchens come and go, but you might ask, where do they go?

Well the kick ass kitchen in New Mexico 1995 was Everybody's Kitchen. For those of you who weren't around back then, Everybody's is a kitchen of human beings committed to feeding hungry people all across America and beyond. Everybody's Kitchen is no longer a fixture at the gathering, but various and assorted characters involved in Everybody's Kitchen still come to gatherings and if you hang out at the Ovens, you might pick up their trail. Everybody's is a kinda of Food Not Bombs meets Rainbow Family and travel the world. Where did Everybody's go? Everywhere!

Last year Everybody's Kitchen fed the No Borders Action in Calexico and Mexicali - a cross border action and they fed both sides of the border. See the photos. This summer, they fed activists at the Democratic National Convention engaging in freedom of assembly and freedeom of speech.

Right now, they're in Point-Aux-Chenes, Louisiana about 70 miles southwest of New Orlean feeding people hurt by Hurricane Katrinia and again by this year's hurricanes. They'll be there for awhile, so if you're in the area, I hear the place to find them is St. Charles Church. If you go, bring food, be self-sufficient and be prepared to work your ass off.

If you can't go, sending a postal money order in the next couple of weeks would really help out.
They have established an address.If anyone has anything to help please and this is very important, send it in postal money order (no one has bank accounts) and leave: pay to the order of blank (who ever checks the mail, and a reliable person, can cash it and write their name with their ID) This is important cause it is rural down here and gas is, well you know.The address is:
Everybodys Kitchen
P.O. Box 115
Montegut, LA 70377

Be the change you want to see in this world. Hang out with Everybody's and have an amazing time. Maybe if we love them enough, they'll come back to gather with us in New Mexico in 2009.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Notes from October 1 Meeting with USFS in New Mexico

So theses are the notes as I received them with names omitted. Just an FYI, just because places are mentioned in these notes does not mean a gathering will be at any one of these places.


Subject: Notes from Oct. 1 Meeting with FS

A str[Notes: these notes are very incomplete . scribe XXXX]

Wednsday October,1 2008, US Forest Supervisors Office - santa fe Rodeo+ zia 2:00PM

Present- rainbow gatherers: me (XXX), XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX ||;{ Forest Service Personal :XXXX Regonal Supr.ALBQ., XXXX Head LEO Alb., Sante Fe Forest: XXX, XXX- Recreation, Lands+ minerals staff., XXX- Deputy Forest Supervisor, Carson Forest Reorce div.:XXX*Gila Forest:[{*VIA TELECONFRINCE*}]""XXX, Sup.

After a few Presentations XXX Began:

XX: We are unlikley to be looking at the sante fe forest {{*all three Santa Fe Reps Relaxed}}

XX: discused his expresion of LEO harassment w've Suffered

XXX: He did not know about previous harrassment, but that his job was to enforce the law. A signed permit was part of the law and so he expected to see one.

XX: Our nature is to keep the peace. We help people to become, and be peaceful. We'd like to create an "autonomous zone" of peace. However the LEO's continue to introduce a bad attitude.

XX: In the past there have been deliberate speed traps and "left turn traps" inflicted on us.

XX: Was this an "unauthorized gathering?" In any case the Forest Supervisor of the particular forest will be in charge - not the LEO's.

XX: XX gave further details on the "left turn trap". In Wyoming, a car would come to a left turn from the dirt forest road to another. Such a turn was marked bya rock pile. With no traffic in sight, the car would turn left without a turn signal..where out of nowhere at all the LEO would appear out of nowhere and give them a ticket for no turn signal and ran its occupants and would separate/search them at length. This happened to many. One witness had a $220 ticket for this. Secondly, on the permit we have had an operating plan as we've used before, is an option in the regulations. For three years we had a permit signed by someone. But all the last five years (the three with permits, and the two since then where we used Op plans) we've still had intolerable harassments of the "left turn" variety, "simple misdemeanors". Furthermore, if we end up (are pushed into) an "illegal gathering" (or "unauthorized") status, all the resource people will be "swept off the table." Taken off of command and control, even to enter the gathering, resource people will have to be accompanied by gun wearing LEOs. Therefore XXX suggested some means is needed to make gathering authorized.

XX: Without a signed permit it becomes an unauthorized gathering. We ie: the Forest Service Management will run the gathering. I can make it operate.

XX: We know the OP (operating plan) wasn't completely satisfactory to the forest service (in Arkansas '07).

Forest Service (various): Yes, we had "accountability problems".

XX: Last regional in New Mexico a permit application was made with the line for an agent or a representative left blank. This year a senator named Brasso went through the roof because we were being given special treatment. Find some mechanism to 'authorize' the gathering without us needing a 'signer.' Some of us replied that the OP we used was actually more detailed than any permit ever used. Thus the forest was better served by an OP system.

XX: There was an incident where ten campers where told that they needed a permit.

(Various voices said) : It is now 75, not ten.

ME (XX): I said that, as I read the relevant laws, a signed permit can only be denied for one of three reasons; Damage to the forest, Harm to people, or confict with other unauthorized forest users. I said if you (forest service{FS}), hold to the signature requirement, it would be irrelevant to these three goals. Furthurmore ( I said) some of us felt the signature issue was so important that we had gone to jail rather than sign.

XX- An illegal $10,000 bond was added to the permit application we were asked to sign. Also, as negotiations were underway, a force of cops were sent out and arrested us.

XX: (to XXand XX): And yet, many LEOs are not like that. XXX is an outstanding law officer.

XX - Don't blame the LEOs. We are a tool of management. Sometimes, we can be a scalpel, sometimes a club. But we are a tool of management. The LEOs are not opposed to the Rainbow Family, but some people at the gatherings are "not the best in the world", so we never know who we are dealing with. We have to deal with all of them.

XX - Our Shantisina watches everybody- we know who + how to deal with them without a force of guns

XX - But I don't know who I'm dealing with

XX- Our problems are usually not with local LEOs - but there is a "flying squad" of "hit men" who come from Atlanta or wherever every year and harass us.

XX - There have always been LEOs around. However, back in the 90's some of them would take off their jackets + casually drape them over their sidearms when visiting us. Nowadays they carry automatic long guns and fire paintballs at us.

XX - Don't blame the LEOs, they are tools of management.

XX - I'd be glad to have PANCHO beside me

XX- We'll have an Incident Command team, but it won't be like it was in the past. [no further details given.]

XX: I don't want to be subject to any more harrassment by LEO's

XX: Believe me we hear you about the LEO's let's get on to the site issue

[All Agree]

XX {VISIBLE BY VIDEO SCREEN & AUDIABLE}: Its dry down here in the Gila forest, So we lookde for water first {{notes of agreement}} then we looked to see if the sites were to close to town or too far out. We came up with 7 possible sites. 1. Snow Lake: off a main highway SE of Reserve NM 2. Eckelberger Spring 3:Beaver head 4: Burro Mnts. 5: Fort Baird 6:Mimbres 7: Black range {4,5&6 Rejected}

We Sugested ::

XX: here are 3 areas ide like to suggest 1. NE Alma on Deep Creek Eside rt 180 Copper creek area. 2: W of Alma-Hanna Springs

[Fs:this is in AZ]

XX: There's lots of water open ways for clean up

XX: &Third Turner Peak - NW of Luna NM off fs220 on trout creek on the AZ border 5N 21W

XX: Recent years our gathering has been 10000K or so people fewer than in the past for what ever reson

XX: But NM favorite state for rainbows

XX: in 77' we were in Burnt Coral Canyon- E fork Gila canyon 2 to 5 miles N of there is a possible area theres truck access. in '77 we floated tons of grape fruits on the river down to the gathering!

[next we went to Carson Forest sites]

XX: We only found two areas 1. is the Canjilon area but we are doing work there "burning ect" so thats out for 2009 gathering. The other area is the san antonio medow area which weve used before in 1995 and again in 2007 its 45 miles to taos-30 miles to antonito firewood is available there now. In '95, the springs we used were tested & found to have ecoli in them but were used anyway with no bad effects.

XX: Recently some (random) scouts asked about the valli grand Dan(Rael) dosent recommend it . Its too dry- firewood limited - fs 80 is too narrow & rough. The other side of comino real is too steepgrand park is beautiful , but theres no water up hill from the site , the same goes for osha parck

XX: there are other tributaries of the rio san antonito: these sites not promising {{Rio Grand Nutritas Rio de Los Pinos-KC: theres the blue ribbon trout fishing area managed for fishermen with camps ect.

XX: How about the Kioa Grass lands; whos in charge there?

XX: thats Cibola Forest

{{Location to be anounced}

[FINALLY : We Discussed Thanksgiving Council FS Reps were Invited to talk with us on that friday or saturday after thanksgiving we will next meet again With FS on Wednesday 17 December 2008]

End of meeting

Scribe XXX

All other editing collaborated collectively

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Finding a site and dealing with the USFS

In September, various people involved in Rainbow gatherings held a meeting with the United States Forest Service at a USFS office in New Mexico in an attempt to foster a spirit of co-operation for the 2009 gathering. I've included the report from that meeting with all names "x"d out.

The notes reference another meeting that was tentative scheduled for October 1. I haven't heard yet if that happened or not. I am posting these notes in an attempt to make sure we all remember how much work goes into a gathering and to help all of us learn about the process. To my family who participated thank you very much for doing this.

******BEGIN FORWARDED NOTES************

Here is my report on what occurred at the meeting Wednesday, September 3rd at the Regional Forester’s office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Attending were XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX and XXX as gathering participants. Regional Forester XXX, Special Agent XXX, Carson N.F. Forest Supervisor XXX and her resource/admin associate XXX, Gila NF Forest Supervisor XXX and his resource/admin associate XXX, and Santa Fe NF Deputy Forest Supervisor XXX and her resource/admin associate XXX as representatives of the FS.

The people from the Gila, the Santa Fe and the Carson appeared by videoconference. So far as we know it was not taped or recorded.

First I want to summarize what was discussed in the order it was discussed; and then I’ll editorialize a bit at the end.

We got started about 2:10 pm with XXX leading introductions and everyone making agreeable statements about wanting this year’s Gathering to go smoothly, be harmonious with the land, have a cooperative process to select a site everyone likes, and have low incidence of any kind of problems.

XXX led off with a discussion of timelines for meeting with district resource people who may have suggestions for sites, scouting sites we find, scouting sites they find, finding sites that are agreeable to everyone and don’t have problems like archaeological or protected species or other identifiable issues.

XXX agreed with XXX’s analysis about working together early – beginning now – and continuing thru the process of finding alternative sites that everyone finds acceptable.

Then XXX spoke about needing ‘some sort of permit.’ He described the FS’s need to be accountable to the public. He explained that the permit process was the method that the regs provided for that. And users had to be held accountable also. The permit was the process for that to happen too. He said this was ‘critical’ and they were going to enforce all regulations.

I replied to XXX saying there needed to be much more talk about that. But I wanted to lead off on a positive note so I spoke with the folks from the three forests first.

My points were a) There were huge problems with the FS recommending poor-choice sites. I said I would leave them all copies of two scouting reports (all names deleted) describing going to look at FS recommended sites: industrial area, historically protected site, no water, no firewood, no parking, dangerous roads, etc. I explained how this lead to scouts spending huge time looking at lost causes and left the impression on others that the FS wanted to send us into impossible spots. And if we don’t look at all the sites they propose then we get accused of not being cooperative. So, they need to vet their own districts’ suggestions. b) Over the decades we have noted that sites come in clusters as arranged by nature. That is: there is likely to be several sites near each other as part of the same basin or river branch system, or valleys along a range, etc. c) If we can find several alternatives near each other that we like and they like, then come spring council the pueblo, the people can look these over and make its consensus. That’s ideal because it saves everyone effort and stress.

Then addressing XXX, I said I believed that the past two years we had used an Operating Plan as an ‘alternative manner’ to satisfy the conditions of the permit system. I said the Operating Plan went into much more detail than their permit system and as a result from a resource stand point this had worked well each year.

He replied that accountability was the issue. That someone needed to stand up and be accountable for what impacts there were – or might be – and the permit was their process for obtaining that.

I explained that the greatest problem with a permit was that it required us to organize ourselves into a structure. To the forest officers I noted that while we had plenty of organizational abilities (such as the process to feed thousands of people and provide all kinds of services) we had zero organizational structure and that part of the expressive nature of the gatherings was making an example that humans could live together without a hierarchy. To XXX I said that while we here can give you our assurance that we will work with you on cooperative selection of a site, we cannot give you any assurance that anyone will cooperate with the permit’s signature/agent/representative requirement.

He said that issuance of a permit was ‘crucial.’

I said that brought us back toward the places we were over a decade ago. But I didn’t have a problem with the FS issuing a permit – if the mutually agreed to processes in the Operating Plan were met, then the FS could sign off on, and issue a permit –unilaterally. That was what we had been suggesting in meetings since 1983. That was the process used by user groups on public spaces all over the country. It was only the FS that had this quirky requirement that we designate an agent.

XXX indicated that there had been problems with accountability in that process and how did we assure that the conditions in the Operating Plan would be carried out?

I described what we had planned for that process for last year and stated that for whatever reasons the FS and the Rainbows hadn’t met as planned to go over things enough. The planned process was – and should be – every morning the FS resource and Leo people meet with Rainbows at the front gate and discuss what is happening and what problems there are. Then that group hikes on in toward information (or cooperations lodge) and meets there with people inside the Gathering. Everybody works to resolve whatever difficulties there are that day. I noted that this had worked very well over many years and we ought to be doing this exact thing next year.

The FS supervisors agreed and I suggested that since the question about the permit and the signature were clearly a political football, that for the time being we let that football rest where it had rolled to on the playing field and go on with discussing whatever other topics we had.

XXX steered the direction around the table.

XXX said he would pass – for now – on the topic of the permit but he gave a vivid description of how scouts and family look at sites and how there is an undefinable spiritual calling that the land gives us that says, This Is The Place To Gather On, that speaks to people in terms that are not measured by criteria on paper but touches people in their hearts. XXX told several examples of people finding sites and what had to be gone thru to find them. He explained that so far, every year had been different.

XXX asked about the possibility of finding sites that were jointly FS and BLM.

XXX said that there had nothing against sites that spanned agencies. We have looked at BLM and State land sites but it was largely a matter of water. The FS had the lands with the water sources.

XXX spoke at length with several examples of Leo harassment of Gathering participants. He talked about how the harassment on the road into the Gatherings was so completely extreme. He gave descriptive eyewitness reports. He spoke about the attitudes and aggressive conduct of the officers and how this was by far the single biggest problem the Gatherings had. And that this was the root of so many other problems the FS has had with the Gatherings. XXX asked all the FS present to put themselves in the shoes of someone ordered from their car, pointed at with multiple weapons, watching their vehicle rummaged thru without any cause except maybe not using a turn signal! How would you feel toward the Forest Service after that? And when people do get inside they find that so many of their brothers and sisters have been put through the same thing! And for no crime of any account.

XXX asked XXX, the Leo present, how he intended to deal with this harassment issue this year.

XXX was brief. He indicated that XXX was going to set the policy and that XXX was his ‘mouth’ about these things. XXX responded that they would provide ‘adequate law enforcement’ and he wanted to avoid problems and avoid the controversy that came with the problems.

XXX talked about the law enforcement problem at length. He explained how people come into the Gathering to set up and do the work necessary to make it all happen and just about all of them are pulled over – generally except the nicely dressed older-looking folks in rental cars – and searched on the flimsiest premises – which is exactly what he witnessed this past year. Then a couple of days later the nice resource people from the district come in and they can’t figure out why no one from the Gathering wants to talk to them. XXX explained that this was exactly why the Operating Plan ran into communications problems this year. That it was just about entirely the FS Leo’s fault for setting the stage for endless problems with cooperation by bullying people with insane roadblocks on the way into a public peaceful event.

He proposed that if the FS wants to meet people coming in, that they do so with a smile and a welcome, hand them an FS map or other friendly welcoming information and greet people with decency. He urged XXX and all the FS supervisors to make sure that was what happened on their watch.

XXX also suggested that there were other ways that the ‘permit issue’ could get resolved such as what I had suggested, or some other alternative method of finding compliance with the regs.

XXX agreed that was possible – without commitment to any solution - and said we should come back to that topic and revisit it later.

XXX spoke about the idea of ‘pre-approved’ sites explaining that may times finding somewhere or agreeing on somewhere only actually happened at the last moment, so there was a difference between pre-approval and mutual approval – both of which meant that the site was good for use for a Gathering. The FS indicated they understood this.

XXX spoke about ‘mutual expectations and responsibilities’ that we and they both had these in regard to both the land and the public.

XXX spoke briefly in response to a question about young people’s participation. He indicated that as a young person he was very interested in all this and would have more to say as the years go by.

I spoke about how many Gathering participants have urged the FS to protect sites that have good potential for large and ‘extra-large’ group expressive uses. It was much harder to locate usable sites today than it was twenty or thirty-five years ago. This is because many sites have been logged or industrialized, or privatized; and because many sites have been (often by the co-ordinated actions of Rainbows and FS personnel) protected by being included in wilderness areas, or scenic river areas, or have had protected species habitat identified. I suggested that the FS should begin a system-wide effort to identify and protect sites useful for public assembly.

Carson supervisor XXX talked about the need to notify and work with local area people better than we did in ’95 when the Rainbows came to Tres Piedras. She was referring to the Northern Spanish families who have been on the land here 400 plus years. There was conflict – at least in the press – with them in ’95 and we should communicate in order to avoid that if we were going to be in the Carson again. She said problems of that sort are “bigger than the Forest Service’ can solve.

XXXX, who was District Ranger in ’95 and gave us high marks for the cleanup back then – and who testified very favorably to us during the trial last year of the arrestees from the 2007 regional – spoke to the other Forest Supervisors and their associates explaining that this was no three week affair. This was going to be an all-consuming series of tasks that would take far more time and staff attention than they could possibly guess.

I talked briefly about the Fourth of July Silent Circle Meditation for Peace and how the whole of the Gathering centers around that. I noted that the meditation had not been interrupted this past year by armed patrols or planes overhead and that this was a good thing that should be continued this year.

There was a general discussion about site criteria.

XXX talked about road closures and making sure horse patrols didn’t poop and pee in the kitchens and in the streams we are trying so hard to protect. There was agreement about that, and the non-use of horses. XXX spoke also about the problems of ATV’s riding thru the crowds carrying officers across meadows when there could be way less environmental damage if officers were on foot. There was not agreement about this.

There was a discussion about how to keep in touch. It was suggested that we choose an email or web address where the FS can post its proposed sites. I said I would bring this discussion to ‘others’ and get back to the FS.

There was discussion about some of the scouting taking place before snowfall with the caveat that often in New Mexico springs are running in the fall (because of what are called the afternoon Monsoon rains) which are not running during the spring and early summer.

There was discussion about when to meet again. And the tentative time (and place (clearly subject to change) was set for Wednesday October 1st at the Santa Fe NF Supervisors’ office in Santa Fe, 1 to 3 pm.

At 4:10 pm the meeting was over.

[My afterthoughts:

First, I thought the meeting was supposed to be much more about maps and places and ideas about sites. We were all knocked off course by the Regional Forester’s assertion that the permit signing was going to be an issue again.

I think this is because of dis-satisfaction with the legalization of the event by the Leo forces inside the FS, but also supported by the FS resource people who felt that the Operating Plan processes weren’t working for them in the way they wanted last year.

Given that, I think the discussion hit the nail on the head several times, as the above report indicates, with real thoughtful explanation of how things went and how they are for us.

The resource-based, ‘Let’s work together to find workable sites’ focus was entirely supportive, with no conflicts.

I don’t think XXX and his team – who voice all the kind hopes toward making things go smoothly – realize that the forces that are pushing for the permit signature are doing this partly with the hope of pushing the Gathering once again into the zone of illegality and that if they allow this, They will be finessed right out of any control whatsoever. I don’t think they understand that in the case of an illegal event the Regional Forester, the Forest Supervisor and all their administrative people and all their water, land and other resource people will be pushed right off the map: that they will not be allowed to talk with us; they will not be allowed to meet with us; they will not be allowed to work with us; the NIMT (National Incident Command Team) will be in charge and they will not so much as be able to enter the ‘illegal’ area without the Special Agent’s armed escorts, etc., etc.

So I’m hoping (remember in ’07 I got the “Delusional Faith and Everlasting Hope in the F.S.” award) that XXX and his staff (who seem extremely friendly and un-afraid of the event) will work with us to figure out a way to cooperate across the board, bridge the gap of legality with some method that supports their public obligations and honors our spiritual individualism.

In sum, I feel it was a very realistic meeting with no nicey, nicey nonsense. We got right to the disagreements we have and let those rest while we went ahead with plans for smooth operations in the field.

I am going to attach the two reports about site scouting (’05 and ’07) that I left for them. These are text-highlighted exactly as I handed them out.

Next time somebody else can take notes.

A question for anyone who has actually read this far is: should I suggest they post info to scoutingreports@yahoo or somewhereelse@website or where???

See you all in New Mexico for the 38th Annual Rainbow Peace and Healing Gathering….]


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Missing Rainbow Brother Tyson Schrade

Please circulate this information about a missing brother Tyson Schrade who disappeared September 11 at the Ochoco National Forest Mountain Spirit Tribe gathering in Indian Prairie. Tyson is still missing. Please pray for Tyson and for his family. If you are in contact with Tyson, please have him call his family and let them know he's OK.

Below is the timeline of the search.

Monday, September 22, 2008
On Saturday afternoon after 8 days of searching, officials have suspended the search for Tyson Schrade pending further developments in the case. We are asking that anyone that may be in that area keeps their eyes open for a studded belt, black pants cut right below the knee, a black t-shirt with AUDIO written in white, and a conductor's hat. Please notify Crook County Sheriff's Offfice if you have any information.

Friday, September 19, 2008 Update
Searchers will return to the Search area today to continue to track foot prints followed yesterday. Ground teams will continue searching in the hopes of finding new clues to determine Tyson's direction of travel.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 Update
Wednesday's Search was very productive. Searchers located a set of foot prints heading to the north toward private land and through the recent Bridge Creek burn. Searchers followed the tracks nearly 1 mile through very rugged terrain. The shoe print pattern and size are consistent with Tyson's.

10 Searchers from the Crook County Sheriff's Office and the Wheeler County Sheriff's Office will return to the Search area today in an attempt to re-locate and follow these foot prints. We would like to thank the public for all of the tips that have come in.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Update
The Search for Tyson Schrade will continue for today. Search crews will focus their efforts on a location to the East of the gathering.

Tuesday , September 16, 2008 Update
Thirty Search and Rescue Personnel representing Wheeler County, Crook County, Deschutes County and the United States Forest Service returned to the area around Indian Prairie. Tyson's family arrived in Prineville today to assist with the search.

Monday, September 15, 2008 Update
The Search Continues for Tyson Schrade. The Civil Air Patrol and Crook County Search and Rescue searched the Ochoco National Forest today. Tyson Schrade's family has been located in Northern California and is on their way to Prineville to assist in the search efforts. Authorities appreciate the assistance of the public and are following up on leads.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 Update
Members of the Wheeler County Sheriff's Office, Crook County Sheriff's Office, and Crook County Search and Rescue volunteers continue to look for Tyson Schrade (pronounced Schrad E) in and around the Indian Prairie area. Information gathered today leads authorities to believe that Tyson is more than likely still in the forest and we are looking for the publics help. If anyone has seen Tyson or a person meeting Tyson's description, please contact the Wheeler County or Crook County Sheriff's Office.

Saturday, September 13, 2008
While performing Search and Rescue training on Saturday September 13, 2008, the
Crook County Search and Rescue Team was flagged down by Rainbow Gathering participants near Indian Prairie in the Ochoco National Forest, Wheeler County Oregon. The Search and Rescue Team was informed that Tyson Glenn Schrade (age 27) had wandered away from the gathering the morning of Thursday, September 11th.

Tyson is described as a Caucasian male, 5'10", 175 lbs, dark brown hair and blue eyes. Tyson was last seen wearing black cut off "Dickies" style work pants, a black t-shirt with 6"-8" white horizontal lettering on the front spelling out the word "Audio". Tyson has a Mohawk style hair cut, but was last seen wearing a train conductor's hat. Tyson may be suffering from a medical condition causing hallucinations and delirium.

At this time, it is unclear if Tyson is in the forest or has hitched hiked out of the area. If anyone has information about Tyson Schrade's whereabouts, please contact the Wheeler or Crook County Sheriff's Office

The search for a 27 year old man reported missing in the Ochoco Nat'l Forest is suspended

If you've seen him, please tell him to contact his family or contact Brandon Smith- Special Services Commander
Crook County Sheriff
308 NE Third Street
Prineville, Oregon 97754
(541)-447-6398 Office
(541)-416-0353 Fax

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What is Thanksgiving Council?

Because the Rainbow Gathering has no leaders, no board of directors, no staff and no one in charge of anything, we depend on people working together to do all the preparation for the gathering in New Mexico. So over the years a process has come together to make sure that planning is open to everyone who wants to be involved.

The year starts off with Thanksgiving Council or T-Council over the four day weekend of the same name. This is a time for people interested in plugging in, talking about visions for the gathering, discussing scouting, strategizing about legal issues, etc. to get together.

T-Council generally takes place in the state or region where we will be gathering. It's usually a camp, cook, council, share heartsongs kinda of thing. Often but not always, the people at T-Council pick the dates for the Scout Rendezvous and Spring Council. Often times a PO box is established for snail mail and a banking council is formed to deal with any donations.

As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary, just a willingness to participate. Keep in mind this is not a gathering, it's a working council and the way this council unfolds sets the tone for the gathering.

I'm hoping that there will be a real mix of generations at T-Council. We need older people, we need younger people, we need more experienced gatherers and we need less experienced gatherers to come together to create a vision for a peaceful, healing and fun gathering in New Mexico. Be the change you want to see in this world.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Mexico in 2009

If you haven't heard the news, the Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes is taking place in New Mexico in 2009 from July 1 to July 7. If you missed 2008 in Wyoming, visit this year's blog.

Stay tuned for information on Thanksgiving Council, which happens over the Thanksgiving Weekend.