Action Alert: Rainbow Tribe NOT WELCOME in Black Hills

Traditional Lakota Elders & Warriors: Rainbow Gathering NOT WELCOME in the Sacred Black Hills

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye, the traditional Strong Heart Warrior Society of the free and Independent Lakota Nation has heard from the traditional and grassroots elders on Pine Ridge and the message is clear: the Rainbow Gathering is NOT WELCOME in the Sacred Black Hills and this gathering is incompatible with the deep political, cultural, and spiritual significance of this area to our people.

Those standing in solidarity with Cante Tenza and the traditional Lakota People are urged to call and email the U.S. Forest Service Black Hills Supervisor Craig Bobzien, as well as US Forest Chief Tidwell in Washington DC. , Demand they uphold the sovereign rights of the Lakota People and stand with us to keep the Rainbow Gathering out of the Black Hills.

U.S. Forest Service Black Hills director Craig Bobzien phone   (605) 673-9200,  fax: (605) 673-9350, email to

U.S. Forest Service Washington DC Chief Tom Tidwell phone (202) 205-8439 and email to  Copy Tina Baily at

Also, contact any Rainbow Family you know and share this message.

 The Rainbow Family has said they have met with “Lakota leaders” but these people are not the traditional, grassroots people and do not speak for these grassroots elders on Pine Ridge. They have not been asked or consulted.

The Black Hills are LAKOTA LANDS never ceeded to the US Government or anyone else and actively in contention. The Rainbow Family’s assertion of the “right” to go wherever they want on Lakota lands is the same colonizing attitude since 1492 dressed up in hippie “onenes”.  Not recognizing the Lakota right to refuse occupation of our lands is racist and colonialist.

The Lakota have experienced previous Rainbow type gatherings and do not want another in the Black Hills. This is Sundance and ceremony time in the Black HIlls and all across Lakota territory.  Incursions like this that are culturally hurtful and harmful are not suitable or sustainable for the preservation of Lakota language and culture which are invigorated and sustained by prayer and ceremony during this time.

Also, large gatherings of culturally offensive people may dissuade traditional elders and our people from visiting the Black Hills  -itself an act of cultural loss and genocide. Predatory people and drug dealers who accompany these gatherings may also be present which are a threat to Lakota women and children.

Cante Tenza has been asked to communicate this message:

  • The Black Hills is the most sacred place to the Lakota People and contains sites of cultural importance to many other Indigenous Nations. The Black Hills is an inappropriate place for a Rainbow Gathering.
  • Traditional and grassroots elders have expressed their deep concern to Cante Tenza about the Rainbow gathering. Noting the historic exploitation of the sacred Black Hills by non-Lakota settlers as well as nudity and drug use common to Rainbow participants, this gathering is incompatible with the deep spiritual significance of the area to the Lakota and other Indigenous peoples.
  • The Rainbow Family and its associated participants are well known for the cultural theft of Indigenous ceremonies and cultural practices that are deeply rooted in racism and white privilege. The Black Hills is already a place where Lakota have been prevented from practicing our sacred way of life by the State and white settlers. The use of the Black Hills by those “playing indian” and misusing Indigenous cultural practices is both hurtful and harmful to real Lakota people.
  • The announcement of the Rainbow Gathering coming to the Black Hills has already caused concern and anxiety to traditional Lakota elders and people who already struggle with difficult conditions of life. The Rainbow Family has already disrespected the Lakota People and this must stop now.
  • The Rainbow Gathering will be perpetuating racism and cultural genocide on the Lakota people by ignoring the wishes of the traditional elders, warriors, and oyate. We condemn the Rainbow Gathering plans to congregate in the Black Hills and demand an immediate cessation to this organizing effort.