While hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists fill South Dakota jails, ERs, coffins, and tax coffers, the Satyagraha Institute is in the Black Hills for its first two-week summer institute on firmness in the truth, nonviolence, manual labor, meditation, and other things Gandhi told us are good. The Satyagrahans are evidently quieter than both the bikers and last month’s Rainbow Family gatherers who created such a stir about hippies in the Hills.
Participants in the Satyagraha Institute will do a little manual labor to stir things up on Marvin Kammerer’s Meade County ranch. Back in 1980, when Kammerer was protesting uranium mining, depleted-uranium weapons testing, the MX missile, and all the bombers from Ellsworth roaring over his land, he and several thousand fellow freedom fighters put three 40-foot circles of rock painted white on the ridge right in the Ellsworth flyway: a peace sign, an international environmental symbol (a circle with a horizontal line through it), and an Indian medicine wheel.
Kammerer says a B-36 crashed on that ridge once, killing 29 Air Force personnel (one airman in the tail survived). Ellsworth planes still fly over the site, but naturally the paint has worn and the grass has grown. Satyagraha Institute participants will come out to the ranch this Saturday, August 8, starting around 11 a.m., to clear the grass and repaint the rocks to remind all those B-1B bomber crews that there is an alternative to juicing the economy with noisy engines, expensive missiles, and death.
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