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Hippie Hate: Indian Activist Cusses out Rainbow Invaders; Similar Protest Planned for Sturgis?

Several days ago, I read the wonderfully ironic Rapid City Journal headline, “Thousands of Hippies May Invade Black Hills for Gathering This Summer.” The local paper raised concern that the Rainbow Family of Living Light could bring drugs, death, and nudity to the Black Hills.

“We have been made aware that they may be coming, but we’re not 100 percent sure that they are coming,” USFS Public Relations Officer Scott Jacobson said Friday. “The last couple of years we understand they have had approximately 8,000 people attend, but they’ve been doing this since 1972 and have had as many as 20,000” [Tom Griffith, “Thousands of Hippies May Invade Black Hills for Gathering This Summer,” Rapid City Journal, 2015.06.06].

Rainbow Family members confirmed their plan (to the extent the self-styled “non-organization” makes plans) in Hill City yesterday and guesstimated that maybe 5,000 hippies will show up.

Meanwhile, we’re hoping for, cheering for, a million bikers to descend on the Black Hills for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August, a noisy gathering that upends daily life, state operations, and other tourism for a full week but which state officials celebrate as South Dakota’s “one true global event” and a heck of a moneymaker. If those darn hippies would just come to town and buy more booze, maybe they’d get more love.

Image from James Magaska Swan, "No Rainbow Gathering in the Black Hills" Facebook page, 2015.06.15
Image from James Magaska Swan, “No Rainbow Gathering in the Black Hills” Facebook page, 2015.06.15

But opposition the Rainbow gathering goes deeper than our embrace of the monetizable co-opting of biker culture and continued rejection of less consumerist leftist lovefests. Black Hills National Forest supervisor Craig Bobzien brought Rainbow reps together with tribal officials to discuss Indian concerns about flower children prancing naked and dancing and drinking in the sacred Paha Sapa. Tom Griffith reports that Indian activist James Magaska Swan showed up to cuss the hippies out over a loudspeaker (see videos of Swan’s persistent rants and some hippie responses on his anti-Rainbow page) and otherwise antagonize them into a chanting love circle and this interesting retort from a dude named Bajer:

After the confrontation with Swan, Bajer was defiant.

“We didn’t ask his permission to be here, and we aren’t going to ask his permission to be here,” Bajer said. “This is land that belongs to him, us, everybody” [Seth Tupper, “Anger Arises over Planned ‘Rainbow’ Gathering in Black Hills,” Rapid City Journal, 2015.06.16].

Wow: Bajer starts off sounding like General Custer and the Daugaard cabinet officials who oppose giving Harney Peak a more suitable Lakota name. But then he whips out some Lakota judo and co-opts the tribal notion that land cannot be owned. Uff da—sort that one out, multiculturalists!

Hippies, bikers, Lutherans—we all ought to be able to respectfully, peacefully enjoy the Black Hills. But if Swan is going to set up loudspeakers to holler at a couple dozen hippies holding hands in Hill City, I’ll expect to see him outside the city limits of Buffalo Chip shouting at the far more numerous and disruptive Sturgis Rally-goers baring their butts in sight of sacred Bear Butte.


  1. Paul Seamans 2015-06-16 10:27

    Couldn’t the hippies buy a little piece of land and incorporate a new town where they would always be welcome?

  2. El Rayo X 2015-06-16 10:43

    Paul, about a year ago, the town of Swett, SD was for sale for just $400K. It even comes with it’s own bar. Maybe there’s a referral commission for you, make the call.

  3. mike from iowa 2015-06-16 10:44

    Whatever happened to the gun range whitey wanted to build near Bear Butte to disturb the peaceful tranquility?

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-16 11:11

    Swett! Between Batesland and Martin on Highway 18. Is that part of Bennett County still part of the Pine Ridge Reservation? Swan probably doesn’t want hippies there, either.

  5. Paul Seamans 2015-06-16 11:19

    El Rayo X; I had been trying to work out something with the hippies on purchasing the town of Scenic but then some group from South Korea swooped in and screwed that deal up for me.

  6. W R Old Guy 2015-06-16 11:56

    I do not believe that Swett is on the Pine Ridge reservation. It has a bar with some legendary stories going back many years.

  7. Jon D 2015-06-16 12:12

    Well, I’m going out there. I want to see that talking feather the guy has on the front page of today’s RC Journal. I’ve seen whole birds that could talk but not just a single feather!

  8. Paul Seamans 2015-06-16 13:28

    Cory, thanks for the link. I have driven through Scenic recently. No signs of any major building development happening yet. Cult members or otherwise.

  9. Bill Dithmer 2015-06-16 13:30

    “Anyone know what the going price is on a Hippie scalp?…Do you have to clean the lice out first?”

    That’s all you need to know about James Swan, isn’t it?

    The Blind man ps I told you so

  10. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-16 13:34

    There’s an interesting and odd dynamic playing out with this story.

    If you read the comments on the Journal links, the James Swan is taking basically the same stance against the hippies as redneck Rapid City commenters.

    And if you read all the comments on the Journal links the rednecks are not only attacking the hippies, but they are attacking the Rapid City homeless population and Indians in general

    By appearances, it seems that Swan is connecting with Rednecks in attacking the hippies and is not responding to the blatant racist attacks against Indians posted on the Journal websites.

    Go figure.

    The hippies shouldn’t have too much to worry about with Swan, his Ted Nugent protest at the Sturgis Rally last year and his protest at Phillip this year over Trace OConnell garnered all of 7 or 8 protestors.

  11. leslie 2015-06-16 13:51

    ted used my blonde twin amp at a fairgrounds concert in the 60s, i am sorry to say. if YOU would like to record with that very same vintage combo, it’s available. it screams in a friend’s local studio.

  12. larry kurtz 2015-06-16 14:45

    James Swan is the Rachel Dolezal of South Dakota, pretty much.

  13. jerry 2015-06-16 15:05

    Spot on Larry, LOL

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-16 15:33

    Roger, I don’t know what to make of that dynamic. Swan protested Nugent, but not the rally in general? Does Swan represent any sort of widespread sentiment among Indians against hippie counterculture?

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-16 15:34

    Bill D, I do agree that the scalping comment is offensive.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-16 15:35

    Maybe the Filipino Scenic owners and the Rainbow Family need to get together and build a temple. Maybe they could get some EB-5 dollars for development in a rural, high-unemployment area….

  17. Mike J 2015-06-16 15:47

    I live in Martin and Swett is not on the reservation. It is still for sale if anyone is interested. It is basically a bar and a couple other structures. As far as work in Scenic, the group there did re-open the gas station. I believe it has a little bit of a convenience store in the building as well. I usually go that way on my way to Rapid. Just never had to stop in.

  18. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-16 16:01

    James Swan does not seem to have widespread support among the Lakota on his sentiments about hippies or any other issue.
    Swan is antagonist to Indians as well, he has insulted women and other tribal leaders in the same manner he is insulting the hippies.
    Swan claims to represent traditional Lakota values, but the filthy language he uses in his rants would never be uttered by a true Lakota traditionalist.
    Again, you can assume for yourself the strength of Swan’s leadership by the number of people that attend his rallies and protests.

  19. Bill Dithmero 2015-06-16 16:14

    Leslie a re you talking about a Bandmaster? Don Smith in Kadoka had one, and one of those heavier then bell Les Paul studios. I had both in collage for a while and yes Blondie could wail. The sustain through that amp was phenomenal, and as long as I could set while I played so was that LP. Where did the 70s go?

    The Blindman

  20. El Rayo X 2015-06-16 16:59

    If the Rainbow Family wanted to offer an olive branch to the Lakota, they could invade White Clay, stay a week, drink it dry, make it inhabitable and let the prairie dogs reclaim the land.

  21. larry kurtz 2015-06-16 17:58

    mfi said it well in the wild animal thread so this comment could have been piled there but add bikers and the howie hate huddle to the list of unwashed masses.

  22. grudznick 2015-06-16 18:10

    Some of you might think that Mr. Swan was right after all when these hippies all camp out for a month at pay sla or bear butte state campground and throw litter all about.

  23. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-16 22:44

    I love hippies! Yeah!

    Cory, you draw a great parallel between the Rainbow folks and Rally Rednecks.

    Rampant adultery, misogyny, drug abuse, nudity, crime wave, racism, drunkenness = Rally Rednecks.

    And that’s better than a much smaller group minding their own business in the Hills?

  24. leslie 2015-06-16 23:41

    bill d.-see

    ted is such a dip, but his lead on journey to center of the mind, for the time, was worth stayin’ up very late to hear on KOMA

  25. Timothy L Fountain 2015-06-17 07:14

    As an Episcopal Priest, I am greatly offended that you suggest I share land with Lutherans.

    But seriously, greatly enjoying your daily roundups. The absurdities, injustices, hypocrisies and other malign stuff you catalog is in my inbox first thing, and it actually informs my morning prayers.

    Do you have a legal defense fund for when the munificent pay day lenders sue you for criticizing them?

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-17 07:30

    Glad to hear from you again, Tim! I must admit, the idea that I could inform morning prayers sounds like high school dropouts informing my lesson plans… but hey, I’ll roll with it. ;-)

    I have no formal legal defense fund, but readers concerned about potential litigation are welcome to ring the tip jar!

  27. barry freed 2015-06-17 08:12

    Until reading comments, I thought Swan was “punking” the hippies and USFS.
    It was the Journal reporter who got punked by his/her sensationalizing and corporate licking, lap dog newspaper. Some advice for the reporter if you ever go on to work for an honest periodical:
    Question WHY you are invited to a meeting.
    Question why there IS a meeting.
    Examine the possible motives of the person calling for the meeting.
    Size up ALL participants and question why they were picked to participate.
    Ask the Bobzien character in the story why they invited Tribal Leaders.
    Ask the Bobzien character if and when he has invited Tribal Leaders to discuss other events in the HIlls such as the Sturgis Rally or the opening of a heap leach mining operation.
    Ask Mr. Swan who notified him of the meeting.
    Ask the Rainbow leaders if they have experienced this before, i.e.: is this SOP for the USFS?

    This is precedent setting or cowardice as Bobzien is either making it appear as though he has a say who can access OUR public lands and why, or, he is hoping the Tribal Leaders will help him do his dirty work and condemn the Gathering… maybe both?

    The USFS has gated the Hills saying it is to protect them from vehicles, then put locks on those gates never to be removed, regardless of trail conditions. They say they worry about mud holes from vehicles that can be fixed easily while encouraging reckless mining and the clear cutting of healthy trees under the guise of Bug control. The Foot Travel Only trails have locks on the gates, thus handicapped individuals can’t use them. How does that comply with the ADA?

    Calling for a meeting to “Decide” if the Rainbow can come is a continuation of the agenda of privatizing the National Forest and keeping the unwashed poor, who pay for its upkeep, out.

  28. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 08:58

    Plenty of tribal people do NOT want these culture stealers to come in and squat in He Sapa. I’m not a fan of rally people, either, but at least they don’t try to ‘be Indian.’ Some of these people are New Ager’s who believe they are the reincarnations of our ancestors. They tell us to our faces that they are more Indian than the Indians. So, not only do they squat on our lands, but they are so brazen as to claim our ancestor’s very souls?! Deplorable. They aren’t welcome.

    As for Swan, I reached out to him to share my displeasure at these folks, but he hasn’t returned my call. He’s not interested in the spiritual theft of these people from tribal people. When I saw his violent words, I was not happy at all and do not support that sort of thing. At least he raised the flag though about this. I will give him that.

    There’s a whole Facebook page (not by Swan) devoted to keeping the Rainbow gathering out of the Hills. Did Seth contact anyone involved? Not that it shows in his story. Sensationalism all the way. Racist City Journal strikes again.

  29. larry kurtz 2015-06-17 09:07

    Tasi: you scare me.

    Some private landowner with holdings in the Hills should offer that ground for the Family if public ground is too sacred to American Indians.

    I swear.

  30. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 09:16

    Yes, because being on owned land makes it less sacred, Larry. Good plan.

    Note: I never said the forest service should ban them, and I recognize their American right to be there. I just disagree with them being there.

    I’m so scary.

  31. jerry 2015-06-17 09:27

    When these guys came,, I did not hear of the tribal activists being notified of the presence. I think Swan is just another redneck that is not to much different than this dude that made his ending at Yellow Thunder. Birds of a feather.

    What Swan and others should try to understand is that hippies follow the lifestyle of the natives to the point of a gathering just like it was done over the centuries past. They try to live in harmony with their surroundings while having respect for themselves and those surrounding them. Swan may be just jealous of the fact that they are living his dream and his hate makes him a non participant. Life is funny sometimes.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-17 09:38

    Interesting mention of cultural co-optation, Tasi. I would agree that hippies saying to Lakota, “We’re more Indian than you” is pretty ballsy, à la Rachel Dolezal. But what about all those bikers riding Indians?

    But per Jerry’s point, are hippies or any of us wasicu allowed to adopt Native values and practices?

  33. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 09:47

    There is much learning that can be done on both sides, including using cultural differences to inform our own cultural understandings and inheritances. This should happen on all sides, too.

    Lakota spirituality, though, the ceremonies, are specific to the Lakota and a few allied tribes. Our understanding is that by being in ceremony, we turn the wheel so to speak of honoring our ancestors and engaging the spiritual world so that ‘the people might live.’ These are specific understandings for who, where, when and why. They aren’t for everyone. Even as a Lakota Christian, I am careful to show respect.

    Therefore, I do not have a lot of patience for Euro-Americans who feel out of touch with their own cultures and want to infuse themselves into Lakota or other tribal spirituality. Of course, cross-cultural understandings and learning is to be encouraged and praised.

    Stealing ceremony is another thing entirely.

    So, if you want to hunt in a way that is ethical and decent and respectful, much like my ancestors did, go for it. If you want to sundance, or come up with some ‘peace pipe,’ or take inebriated women into sweat lodges to prey on, then please, STOP the sacrilege.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-17 10:07

    Good distinction between learning and stealing, Tasi. Thank you. I agree that church services aren’t for tourists. Ceremonies aren’t games to play.

    That said, do the Rainbow gatherings really focus on co-opting Native spirituality? We can probably find as many Sturgis bikers wearing beads or feathers as we can find hippies who will come to the Hills and build a sweat lodge or call each other by fake Indian names. There are cultural sins in both camps. Isn’t the broader question why we should embrace the lucrative biker rally but raise such alarms about the Rainbow people prancing about deep in the woods?

  35. larry kurtz 2015-06-17 10:09

    Exactly, Jerry: Swan and Tasi should go protest the FLDS compound and Hart Ranch.

    The Family is the least of American Indian cultural appropriation.

  36. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 10:22

    Plenty of tribal people have been boycotting and protesting the Rally for years. Why does South Dakota have such a short memory?

    By the way, beads and feathers belong to many cultures. This is why I have fewer problems with good-hearted pagans in touch with their own cultural inherited spiritual understandings, and maybe there are a few of them in this gathering, too. That’d be nice.

    If I didn’t have a life, I would consider going and talking to them, actually. Irks me that only Swan will be heard from. Note the silence from those involved in the Pe Sla purchases. They know it was people like this who sent money to ‘save’ it. I wouldn’t be surprised if these Rainbow people donated to Chase and Co., and feel they now ‘own a stake’ in the Black Hills.

    It’s like the Gold Rush all over again.

  37. larry kurtz 2015-06-17 10:45

    Just a human family member, Tasi; but, if i was single i would attend the Gathering just to get laid and to show some beautiful woman from out of state how sacred the Black Hills really are.

    Chase has it right; but i have an actual proposal to return public lands in the Hills to the tribes.

  38. Paul Seamans 2015-06-17 11:26

    Tasi, I do not wish to appropriate any other culture, Indian or otherwise, but I do try to show respect for all cultures. How is a non-native to know what is appropriate when attending ceremonies at which Indian people are also involved? How much are we permitted to be involved. I have recently been invited to attend sundance ceremonies by tribal friends from two separate tribal bands. How much involvement is proper for a non-native at such ceremonies? I’m sure that I can ask my Indian friends but not everyone attending has an Indian friend at these ceremonies. Some ground rules need to be explained at these ceremonies, people do not want to commit a faux pas.

  39. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 11:39

    Paul, Don’t go out and run a Sundance on your own, and you should be safe. That’s really what these folks are doing in many ways. Or inipi, etc.

    You’ve been an important KXL ally, so I’m not surprised you’ve been invited. That’s the thing right there. You were specifically invited. If one has no relationship at a sundance, then IMO, they shouldn’t go. I know there are some open to tourists, but I’m not comfortable with that, personally.

    Paul, you aren’t going to find yourself accidentally pierced and dancing, so I wouldn’t be too concerned. Just don’t talk about it much. It’s not a pass card going forward when meeting other tribal members. Your integrity and leadership on KXL is if anything is. Your tribal friends, as you say, can guide you. You, as the ally and leader you are, have something to give in this instance just by your presence.

    Some sundances are closed to non-tribal members, even spouses. That’s the one I have been taught about as a young adult when I married another tribal member whose family participates and hosts the land, and therefore, it definitely shapes my views. So do the elders and mentors of the Oak Lake Writers Society that I’m involved with.

    Paul, their invitations are to honor you, but I think you honor them just as much.

    That’s what I wish Euro-Americans would understand…you can’t play dress up. Walk a good road for the right reasons…it might be noticed, it might not, but that’s the only ‘legit’ way to live.

  40. mikeyc, that's me! 2015-06-17 11:41

    Hey Kurtz-
    Let’s get together and sell fly swatters at the
    Rainbow gathering, and again at Sturgis.
    We’ll make millions.

  41. larry kurtz 2015-06-17 11:45

    mfi, i lived through 30 Rallies: enough is enough.

  42. larry kurtz 2015-06-17 11:48

    Sorry, wrong Mike: my error.

  43. bearcreekbat 2015-06-17 11:55

    It seems somewhat unfortunate that folks like Swan and Tasi are so concerned about how another group of people chooses to exercise their own spirituality, even if that exercise duplicates the actions of the Lakota. It certainly makes sense to worry about groups who will actually cause harm to others, the land or to private property, but to concern oneself with how these folks try to find a path to spirituality seems odd.

  44. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 12:03

    Speaking for myself, I study how people’s religious and spiritual beliefs affect their actions on their neighbors, including the land. That’s why I care. I also believe they often do a disservice to themselves by appropriating other cultures, when their own histories are rich as well. That makes me sad, but it also upsets me, because when they opt out of their own culture, they often abandon the place from which they could speak as true allies.

  45. larry kurtz 2015-06-17 12:05

    bat, Swan is a blood sucking tick who gets in the faces of Food Not Bombs in Rapid City among other who actually work to ease the suffering of the least fortunate.

    Tasi is an American Indian living with the guilt of also being a christian.

  46. mike from iowa 2015-06-17 12:09

    This looks and sounds like a good post/argument to stay out of,so let me just say wingnuts are dangerous and that is hopefully my final word on this subject.

  47. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 12:10

    Sorta true. I hold myself accountable as a Christian to hold the Church accountable. One of the things we have often done in American Christianity is divorce Euro-Americans from the rich cultural traditions of the UK and Europe that could offer guidance, especially those seeking outside the Church. It would have given them an ethos and place to live from, true to their own ancestors, at least. No need to steal other people’s ancestors.

  48. bearcreekbat 2015-06-17 12:16

    I can’t see how seeking spirituality in any particular manner could ever be considered as “steal[ing] other people’s ancestors.” Indeed, religious and spiritual myths seem to have the potential to ease the minds of those who believe in such magical thinking. Why should anyone else try to interfere or criticize someone’s attempt to find peace within themselves, or argue that one form of magical thinking cannot be shared?

  49. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 12:21

    If you can’t consider how that feels to people who’ve been stolen from for over a century, there’s really nothing more that I can say on the subject. I can’t intuit it for you.

    I also can’t even try to explain to you how Manifest Destiny shape that theft. That beliefs do become actions, even magical beliefs.

    And in a world where my Lakota patriotism demands that any encroachment on tribal sovereignty be taken with great seriousness, what is our defense if white people now claim our ancestors souls through reincarnation, our land through their free love gatherings of ‘tribe,’ etc.

    I can’t explain apparently how all those things intersect and leave me at a place that says, ‘No, don’t come.’

    Same calvary. Different horse.

  50. leslie 2015-06-17 12:25

    thanks mfi, as always u rock. hahaha. sorry everybody else for going off on idiot cave man nugent.

    i love 50s tube designs that added humanness to the voice of electric guitar. it used to take such persistence and dedication to detail to find it. bill, i’ve had many pristine tweed deluxes, pros, brown vibroluxes, blonde and blackface bassmans, twins, showmans, but never the lower wattage tremolux or bandmaster, where i believe better sound comes from. but not as a collector. imo fenders are always too icy and wish i had chased the brits more. just another problem w/red SD. now for 3-5 grand anyone can have it all. 65 amps, ect!

    ted does not “rock”!

    on topic, sturgis is smack-dab in the middle of treaty land, and i hate what it’s exploitation has done to barry freed’s “our” beloved black hills, but chase definitely “rocks”. i am glad the 74 billion dollar number is out there too! that is 37 B-2 bombers for perspective (while one B-1 bomber equals one MEDICAID expansion in a trivial red state). Pe Sla’ cost the Indians 12 million or so, and focuses how important the HINHAN KAGA proposal is.

    yet grudz, racist that he is, continues to spew racist crap here on this thread and this blog. soon he, troy and young daniel can become immortal and lasting red-neck bloviators here, a dying breed.

    i would also not question whether larry knows what he is talking about. the guy does not hesitate to question power.

  51. Paul Seamans 2015-06-17 12:25

    One of the big reasons that I respect the Oceti Sakowin culture is because of their respect for the environment. My ancestors, as farmers, also have taught me much respect for this same environment. I do not wish to appropriate the Indian culture, I just hope to learn from it and to respect it. The Indian people survived by living in harmony with nature, it is part of their culture. We have much to learn from them.

  52. mike from iowa 2015-06-17 12:43

    Leslie-the motor city madman claims to be in tune with nature,but seems to ignore staute laws when it comes to killing and grilling. And his affection for underage girls. Music or not,he is a snake in the grass. Go off on him some more,I’ll read it and enjoy.

  53. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-06-17 12:46

    Well said, Paul.

    Just don’t run off with those Rainbow people. We need you here.

    I think we have plenty to learn from each other. :)

  54. Porter Lansing 2015-06-17 12:56

    As Ms.Dianna E. Anderson said, “A group of anecdotes doesn’t create data.” …. but, I can relay from personal experience that when the Rainbow Family says they’re thinking about a site that’s “dog whistle” instructions to where the gathering will be AND there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. You can’t put them in jail because they don’t mind and they’ll disrupt your jail until they’re released. lol They leave only footprints when they’re gone so don’t fight it. Send in some spies to look for runaways and put out old food for them. Rainbow Family is harmless but don’t react well to being messed with. Many states have tried (including CO and Steamboat Springs) but it just made it public and embarrassing to the uptight conservatives hobbled by a “stick up their donkey aka ass”.

  55. leslie 2015-06-17 12:58

    bcb- tasi’s 11:39 response to paul is one of the best explanations i have ever seen and know this stuff…magic, spirit, sacredness, is way over my head, but the Indian culture in its breadth and depth is truly an bastion of diversity we whites can learn from. imo.

    i am not a very spiritual person myself. darwin and science all the way baby! except when invited into the sweat lodge and other ceremonies! i have been fortunate to have been mentored by basil, proponent of the name-change, and others over the years.

  56. larry kurtz 2015-06-17 13:03

    the solstice is coming.

    Canpásapa Wi — Moon When the Chokecherries Are Ripe

  57. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-17 13:07

    My Lakota mother often said, “imitation is the purest form of flattery”.
    To have your artwork, symbols, religion, spiritual beliefs being passed on to others is sharing your message.
    We live in an age where co-optation is common place and is now a part of our cultures.
    What do you take away when you enter a Christian church that is decorated in Lakota art, have those Indian Christians forfeited their Lakota spirituality?
    Sioux culture did not believe in the existence of Jesus, yet Christian Indians will go to church on Sunday to worship God and Jesus and on Tuesday night go to a sweat lodge or a sundance and pray to another entire entity.
    Let’s face it, cultures have been bastardized beyond recognition, each generation makes changes that are unrecognizable to past generations.
    If we are upset about the Rainbow Warriors division of the Rainbow Family co-opting sacred spiritual rites, it is our obligation to correct them and educate them.

  58. bearcreekbat 2015-06-17 15:10

    leslie, I am not at all spiritual myself, but I love old Fender amps. I enjoyed your amp stories even if they involved Nugent. Right now I have been playing through two old Fender Tremolux amps. One is a 1959 Tweed with a 1959 12″ Jensen alnico speaker, and the other is a 1962 Tremolux Head attached to a 2 x 10 old Gibson cabinet with two new Imminence Legends piped through my Fender Vibratone (wait for it . . . “Leslie” Speaker). I love em both, but the Leslie sounds almost angelic.

    I have never been lucky enough to acquire a Twin, but a bandmate had a Twin Reverb that we used for vocals. That thing was heavy and lugging it to and from gigs was a royal pain. I had a chance to buy Walt’s old tweed Twin from Schneiders Music before they closed but I was too dumb and too broke at the time. I had another tweed Twin on the line in Pierre, but it was sold to a guy in Minnesota before I had a chance to get it.

    I also love playing through Deluxes, including a 57 tweed (my favorite jazz amp), a 62 brown (the best sounding amp I ever heard), and a 73 Deluxe Reverb (blues all the way).

    These amps tend to give me much more in spiritual rushes and enjoyment than any of the myths we hear about.

  59. bearcreekbat 2015-06-17 15:19

    Roger, I think you nailed it. If someone appreciates my group’s spiritual beliefs and practices so much that they try to emulate them I have two ways to look at it. I can either be angry and jealous, or I can take it as a real compliment. The latter view seems more reasonable and positive to me.

    That said, I fully agree that there is a difference between privately practicing a particular spiritual system in good faith, and using the system in bad faith to obtain unfair advantages over others. So I think I can understand when Tasi says she would worry about the motives of folks. As Chief Engineer Scotty said, “Fool me once, shame of you, fool me twice shame on me.”

  60. grudznick 2015-06-17 18:41

    Ms. Leslie. Everybody knows I am a lover, not a hater, and I love all people. Except hippies. And miscreants. I barely tolerate them, unless they litter and poop in mass trenches in the woods. Then I don’t tolerate them at all because they are no longer mostly harmless.

  61. Jon D 2015-06-17 22:00

    In the late 1960’s and early 70’s I considered myself to be a hippie, and I have been previously to that and for all my life since then an avid motorcyclist. I consider the Rainbow Family and the Sturgis Rally crowd to be very similar in that ninety-seven percent of them are striving to identify themselves with a “lifestyle” that they have been led to believe is glamorous and exciting and somehow spiritual. They don’t get that one requires a lot more activism than you probably have the time or energy for, and the other requires lying in a ditch under your dead bike and hoping it stops raining before the residual engine heat bleeds off and you freeze to death before you can figure out why it quit.

  62. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-17 22:09

    That is a perfect comment Jon D. I worked in the emergency department of a big city hospital one summer in the mid 1990s. None of the regular staff rode motorcycles. In fact, they called them “donor cycles”. I saw why the machines earned that name.

  63. grudznick 2015-06-17 22:15

    It seems odd that the state government hasn’t come out for or against these hippies. I say that because the hippies, who most people barely tolerate, don’t bring much of an economic impact except for the rich ones pretending to be poor slackards living in vans. But there has to be some economic impact. Should the tourism department be advertising towards these hippies or against them, or using them as fodder for the next commercial?

    “Come see the last living hippies on earth! (narrator in subdued very fast speech says “the State of South Dakota does not condone any nudity you might be exposed to. Trenches of poop might be present. Should not be attended by those abhorred by witnessing ecological terrors.”)

  64. Taunia 2015-06-19 01:40

    20,000 Japanese are coming to the Black Hills for a convention. SD Gov lays out a welcome mat and invites 500 corporate donors for a SD beef BBQ welcome.

    20,000 NRA members are coming to the Black Hills for their annual convention. SD Republican legislators find appropriations to accommodate hotels, food, etc needs and line up for campaign lit pictures.

    8,000 hippies coming to the Black Hills and are pitted against the indigenous groups to create fear and hostility, so wasicu can get $250,000 in Homeland Security money and get a new MRAP and make budgetary dreams come true with all the tickets and arrest they’ll be making to justify the fear they instilled and the MRAP’s appearance.

    Y’all been played.

  65. Taunia 2015-06-19 01:47

    Also, none of you should ever make plans to visit Stonehenge, the Wailing Wall, Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica, the Vatican, or any other spiritual destination.

    I’m certain all of these places are extremely concerned you lost and wandering religious/spiritual-appropriators are just scheming to overtake their belief systems.

  66. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 06:44

    The hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria will be fruiting in the Hills when the Family is gathering so that might be interesting.

  67. Lynn 2015-06-19 17:51

    Public urination, aggressive panhandling, walking in city and interstate traffic and driving automobiles while stoned. Looks like the advance Rainbow free spirits are settling in to the Rapid City/Black Hills scene. Curious as to how many will stay permanently after their gathering.

    Reminds me of a Rainbow commune I visited in Black Mountain, NC not far from the Billy Graham World Ministries HQ and their family estates. Black Mountain is incredibly beautiful and these particular Rainbow free spirits came from wealthy families (East Coast Trust Fund Kids) lived in their yurts and strung out on drugs all day. It was muddy, very primitive and could be hot and humid up there.

    I shared a vegan potluck with them and after enjoying a wonderful meal with them they cleared the table and brought their own buffet of drugs to share from pot, hash, mushrooms and whatever else hardcore stuff is out there. It just seemed to ironic to go to all the work of creating a very nutritious, delicious and organic dish only to put that toxic crap in their bodies.

    At least the local natural foods co-ops in the hills should see an increase in retail sales from the Rainbow free spirits that have money.

    I can see a few of our pro-pot posters having a swell time at the Rainbow gathering. Larry are you physically going to be there?

  68. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 18:22

    Santa Fe is Rainbow Family year-round, Lynn; but, we are going into the Peco Wilderness tomorrow and pick some morels. South Dakota is a dead zone.

  69. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 18:24

    Sweet to read you, Taunia.

  70. Lynn 2015-06-19 18:29

    “South Dakota is a dead zone” If that’s the case why do you spend so much of your time posting and blogging about what happens in South Dakota? With all the recent rains there should be some morels in the Hills right?

  71. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 18:40

    Morels fruit in the Hills at the end of May. I have two daughters trapped in Rapid City for about three more years than i can be done caring whether anyone there lives or dies.

  72. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 18:43

    I am trying to convince the Family to steer clear of the Hills forever, btw.

  73. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 18:57

    The Black Hills are occupied territory: why the Family cares to bless that remains a mystery.

  74. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 19:01

    Nothing about the Hills is natural or organic any longer: it’s a wasteland of broken dreams.

  75. Lynn 2015-06-19 19:09

    “South Dakota is a dead zone”

    “Nothing about the Hills is natural or organic any longer: it’s a wasteland of broken dreams.”

    So the best way to deal with this depressing outlook is to legalize pot, mushrooms and whatever else and just get stoned or drunk off our asses?

  76. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-19 19:14

    Lynn, do you know this as a fact, it’s your guess, you’re being facetious, or something else?

    “Public urination, aggressive panhandling, walking in city and interstate traffic and driving automobiles while stoned.”

    Taunia, that’s an excellent and perfectly appropriate comparison.

    Of course, no one in the groups Taunia mentioned, plus Rally attendees, will use illegal drugs, drink, be destructive of the natural environment, or create a personal threat to anyone.

    Taunia is right.

  77. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-19 19:22

    You know, I’ve never figured out why some get so hostile to hippies. They don’t commit mass murders, cheat elders out of their life savings, coerce young people to “volunteer” for the military, pollute rivers and streams, take anyone’s land via eminent domain, sell black market guns, traffic in girls, manipulate the stock market by cheating all the other investors, beat children and women, skin wolves for the fur, etc.

    Thesee days they mostly join in peace protests, use some drugs, get naked, enjoy sex, and hang out a lot. Oh yeah. Sometimes they ask people for money and behave in embarrassing ways.

    So what’s to hate, ferpetessake?

  78. Lynn 2015-06-19 19:39


    I lived in Asheville, NC for a few years and I loved it down there. It was like a microcosm of the Bay Area which I also spent quite a bit of time in. Asheville had Hari Krishnas, Buddhist Monks, Hippie/Rainbow free spirits, an abundance of east coast trust fund kids and very wealthy people, Wiccans, Traditional and spiritual mountain people that were proud of their Cherokee heritage, Rednecks, Ultra religious right wingers, Ultra left wingers and some remnants of KKK and somehow they coexisted with minimal bloodshed. It was a great Arts and cultural scene.

    There were many natural healing and organic health food businesses there and a friend of mine spent a number of years in Nepal studying with Buddhist monks.

    One concern I had was that a number of residents I knew from the Rainbow commune that I shared a pot luck with had small children and their parents were strung out on drugs all day every day in their yurts. A few of them I rarely saw sober in town. I felt sorry for their kids and them since they were very bright. They came from old money so finances were not a concern and you would not see them aggressively panhandling in Rapid for example.

    I loved the diversity there though.

  79. Lynn 2015-06-19 19:45

    large LGBT and poor population there too.

  80. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 21:01

    So, Mitchell is Nirvana, Lynn? Really?

  81. Lynn 2015-06-19 21:23


    No! Mitchell is not Nirvana. Lol :)

  82. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 21:27

    pick a lane, lynn.

  83. Lynn 2015-06-19 21:37


    Pick a lane? Mitchell is a nice town and I have roots there. It has it’s pros & cons like anywhere else you go and the STD’s are a state public policy issue. Utopia is a state of mind whether it be some town in Western North Carolina, Taos, Sedona, or where ever else globally.

    So the best way to deal with your depressing outlook and telling us how we are so screwed in South Dakota is to legalize pot, mushrooms and whatever else and just get stoned or drunk off our asses?

  84. larry kurtz 2015-06-19 21:44

    Expect violent weather in a few hours, Lynn. Take a couple of Xanax then dig out in the morning.

  85. Lynn 2015-06-19 21:47


    Whatever violent weather is temporary and no mind altering drugs are needed. It’s just life. lol

  86. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-19 21:47

    Imagine what the cops would find if they seriously policed the Chip or some of the other campgrounds. Peeing in the parking lot? Not good. Public sex in the campgrounds? Must be okay. Drug use and drunkenness plus prostitution in the campgrounds? Well, it’s old white guys with plenty of money, so it’s much harder to see.

    Yeah, those hippies are just the worst!

  87. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-19 22:00


    You can get a contact high just visiting the Chip during one of the concerts.

  88. Taunia 2015-06-20 00:49

    Pick a Lane Larry: I missed you. I hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor.

    Returning to the heart-felt “get the fook out of our SD business” is always so…welcoming.

    Deb: not completely sure if your command of sarcasm is so great it went over my head or if you’re genuine in your comments, so I’m considering stealing Larry’s fruit and staying foggy.

    Roger: let’s hope there’s lots of contact between all the peoples.

  89. mike from iowa 2015-06-20 09:22

    “What we’re gonna do is take a step back and dedicate this song. We’re gonna dedicate this song to everyone in here whose putting that funky smell into the air. We want you to blow some up this way.” Mark Farner introduction to “Inside Looking Out” recorded live by Grand Funk.

  90. Lynn 2015-06-23 22:54

    Given some of the comments in the RCJ with the Rainbow Gathering you would think Major Jason Ravnsborg and his squadron of A-10 Warthogs will be called in to loiter above just in case things get ugly.

  91. leslie 2015-06-23 23:21


  92. James Swan 2015-06-28 18:50

    All good comments: But first! The location of the gathering is on ancestors burial grounds (Validated) Our issues are not whit the Rainbow people it with the location! The Rapid City Journal sucks and they hate me, because we have planned a protest against them for their crappy reporting! They purposely threw me under the bus on this story.I was invited to this meeting by rainbow people and I didn’t go their to confront them, I went to confront the natives who invited them.. It was badger who started it. If you watch the same meeting / story that KEVN & KOTA did it was a who different perspective..Sometimes I get carried away but remember “The squeky wheel gets the grease” Peace James ‘Magaska” Swan

  93. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-28 19:54

    James, thanks for checking in! If the site, sacred burial grounds, is the core reason for tribal opposition, RCJ has done a rotten job of explaining that. Keep squeaking!

    Now, in your squeaking, have you been able to get any of the Rainbow people to listen to tribal concerns about burial grounds? I would think they would be sensitive to such concerns. Or do the Rainbow people behave just like every other white colonizer?

  94. grudznick 2015-06-28 20:27

    Mr. Swan, I support your cause against these dirty hippies.

  95. larry kurtz 2015-06-29 06:19

    Well, that assault on the English language by James Swan should clear up a few things for the rest of us, init?

  96. barry freed 2015-07-02 10:27

    Mr. Swan,
    The Government agencies you ask to kick the Hippies out are the same ones choosing to use tax dollars, not to spend $1.25 million to expand Medicaid for the working poor of the Lakota, but to spend $10 million to spray poison on millionaires’ bug trees in this watershed area polluting the ground, air, and water for decades to come.
    What could the $1 million they will spend to spy on, harass, and photograph naked Hippies this week, do for education and economic development on Pine Ridge?
    It appears that you have 20,000 friends up there waiting for an opportunity to help the Tribes, and none of them are racing around those blind corner, narrow roads in one ton 4×4’s with 100 round drum M-16’s and ticket books. Too bad you didn’t capitalize on this rare opportunity by having building materials on hand; you could have tapped a large, free, labor pool of idealists to build houses, schools, and community centers.

  97. bearcreekbat 2015-07-02 11:07

    barry’s point is powerful and true: “you could have tapped a large, free, labor pool of idealists to build houses, schools, and community centers.” Talk about pissing in the wind.. . .

  98. Les 2015-07-02 11:23

    ‘There were many natural healing and organic” Pick a lane, Lynn.

    “Well, that assault on the English language by James Swan should clear up a few things for the rest of us, init?” No les of an asalt by Kurtz in his feeble attempts to utilize the Lakota language.

    If nothing more, James could have used this publicity to further a cause.

  99. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-02 12:57

    Sounds like feds should haul up a few porta-potties instead of a facility for speedy judicial harassment.

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