Gonzo’s -Thanksgiving Council 2001 Notes

Thanksgiving Council – Friday, November 23, 2001

Jahlai Country Home – Montague, Michigan

Gonzo’s notes

(see also the notes taken by Marty and the notes taken by TattooSue)
Approximately 50 people in attendance for at least part of the council

Friday and Saturday notes taken by Gonzo. These notes are as they were typed during the circles, with a very small number of minor grammatical changes to make some passages a bit more comprehensible. They do not represent an “official” record of council (I’m not sure what that would mean in a Rainbow context), but I did my best to summarize folks’ comments as they were spoken. For the most part, each paragraph represents a new speaker as the feather was passed, with the exception of Ann Melle’s presentation of the FS position, which is many paragraphs long. Names other than the FS representatives have been omitted per a consensus by a circle on Sunday. I was not at the Sunday council; thus I have no notes for it. If someone else has Sunday notes, please send them to me (gonzo@greatlakesrainbow.info) so they can be appended. [Sunday info has begun to trickle in; info is being added as it arrives]. If you have other notes you’d like posted with these notes, that can be done; send them along. Also, I’m sure in the thick of all the talking I got some factual details wrong, or incompletely typed them…if anyone who attended council has comments or corrections, please send them; if they’re factual corrections, I’ll change the notes; otherwise, I’ll append comments and clarifications in an addendum following these notes. Please limit submissions to clarification of your own statements; for general discussion and commentary, use alt.gathering.rainbow… I’m not going to start a message board as part of these notes. Let me know if you want your name included with comments; otherwise, they’ll be posted anonymously.

I hope these notes are of service to my family. They are presented with much love and honor and big hugs.


The Spirit who brought us together was asked to help guide us, and thanks were offered to the Mother Earth who provides us with life.


  • Banking Council
  • P.O. Box
  • “Office”
  • Seed camp supplies
  • Phone and/or info line
  • Computer issues
  • Spring Council
  • Scout Council
  • Scouting
  • Love
  • Forest Service discussion
  • Permit issue
  • Shitters – Alternatives to slit trenches
  • What is Thanksgiving Council?
  • Shanti Sena

Banking Council – Three Wisconsin individuals have been doing Wisconsin bank toward the Annual Gathering, per consensus at Wisconsin Regional. $100 designated for Thanksgiving Council (which is to decide its use). $144 designated for scouting. $156 remains for other use, i.e. Office, Howdy Folks. Consensus reached that the same 3 individuals serve as banking council for the Annual Gathering, until Spring Council only. Consensus that P.O. Box 3213, Madison, WI 53704-3213 be the Annual Gathering P.O. box, under the name Rainbow Family of Living Light World Peace and Healing Gathering 2002.

Spring Council – Scouts generally decide Spring Council site. Public land is preferred, but not mandatory. Discussion revolves around dates of 2nd or 3rd weekend in June (June 7 – 9 or June 14 – 16). Dates discussion tabled until Sunday.

Scouts are allegedly meeting April 15 at the USGS map library in Stevens Point. There was much discussion of whether to agree to meeting at Stevens Point or whether to leave the site TBA. Discussion of setting up a scout “base camp” a few days ahead of the 15th. Vehicles are in short supply in Madison; folks with vehicles, with or without scout experience, are sought. Consensus reaffirms the date of April 15. It is not clear to me that a site has been affirmed.

Consensus that Thanksgiving Council would like to see a Web site established which is specifically designated Rainbow Gathering 2002. This Web site, if established, should maintain its Web presence after the Gathering. Since noone at this council volunteered to be a webmaster of this site, this consensus only states a desire to see such a Web site established if someone is willing to do it.

Forest Service attendance discussion. Statement that we need to be aware that the bureaucracy would like to see us never have a Gathering again; although it is fine to try to be cooperative and avoid antagonism, we need to remember that basic fact. Statement that the government works for us, and we need to work toward making things work that way. There are things the Forest Service could do with us, if we could work that out. However, even those in the FS who would like to work with us work for the bureaucracy which would like to wipe us out.

Although Ann Melle will represent the government bureaucracy, it is very important that we remember that we at Thanksgiving Council do not represent anyone else; we represent only ourselves as individuals in council.

A list of questions was posted on the Internet which were suggestions for what we might want to ask Ann Melle when she arrives. The list of questions was read aloud for discussion. Problems were raised with the wording regarding “legalizing the Gathering” and with issues the Forest Service might like to discuss with “the Rainbow Family”, as opposed to with those of us attending Thanksgiving Council. Problems were raised with the negative tone of the questions, and a suggestion was made to include some positive questions regarding what the FS can do to assist in, for example, site selection.

The letter from Ann Melle to Thanksgiving Council attendees (posted to the Web) was read aloud.

Dinner was announced.

Statement that in consideration of the new issues the government has to deal with in the wake of September 11, it should be clear that we should be at the bottom of the list of issues the government has to worry about.

Saturday, November 24, 2001

Feather passed – here is an attempt at summary of some of the comments:

Statement that it is important to be aware of language as a medium of communication. When language becomes abusive and confrontational, communication ceases.

Discussion of tape recording. Request for notification if anyone is recording, and for consensus that recording is OK. Consensus blocked. Comments that recordings and videotaping is dangerous. Need for recording questioned. Agreement that there will be no taping.

Thanks given to the Spirit for bringing us together. Invocation of the Spirit to join us here. Thanks to brothers and sisters for being here. Keep in mind that words are only words; we need to seek the meaning. Arguments can get to become about the argument and not the issue. This is to be our vision of what can happen to the family. Let’s keep the spirit of peace and cooperation, and keep our discussion positive.

Comment on the feather. We can all speak on each issue if the feather dances around and doesn’t become a lead balloon.

Carolyn, the Forest Service resource person, states that she hopes we trust that she will keep things real. She is here to try to make the Gathering a positive event.

Heartsong. More heartsong.

Concern for the way the media initially addresses the issue. Desire expressed for unbiased media reporting. Concern also expressed over the general stewardship of forests.

Importance of respect for the feather was stressed, to avoid the loudest voices dominating the circle.

More heartsong.

Long experience with Gatherings and regionals and relations with the Forest Service has shown that the vast majority of Forest Service agents have been good to work with. The lack of differentiation among many Rainbows between “Forest Service” and “law enforcement” was stressed; the Forest Service is not synonymous with law enforcement. Forest Service law enforcement has been experienced as harrassing; past preference for working with sheriff is expressed, because FS LEOs don’t take real crimes at Rainbow seriously.

It is a good sign that the FS Law Enforcement has sent a representative to meet with us here, and that they are willing to subject themselves to whatever might occur here. The fact that they have agreed to meet with us without weapons shows deep respect for us.

Hope that everyone can converse in a respectful and civil tone. Thus, this is the way to do things.

More heartsong.

Rainbow is just a bunch of individuals. All of us could be arrested and Rainbow would still happen. We are all here to try to preserve what makes the land such a jewel. The other jewel is that we have the right to free speech, free assembly, and the right to express our religions as we see fit. Desire to work together with other communities and members of our larger community. The Bill of Rights gives us freedom of assembly. We need to show the world what freedom of assembly means.

There are two basic truths found in attending Rainbow Gatherings: Freedom of speech/assembly and freedom to express religion. One of the great lessons of Rainbow is the variety of religions and how they all draw from the power of myth. Description of the magic of July 4 at a Gathering. Our family will be coming together in the Western Great Lakes region, and may we attempt to make this as free from impediments as possible, and that we take care of necessities appropriately.

Coffee grinding reflection on eloquence.

Reflection from a Christian perspective of what it will mean when this world passes away and Heaven is manifested on the Earth. Rainbow is the best representation of the harmony and peace that this may mean. The big struggle coming may be between the “public interest” and “special interests”. Can we as Rainbow be an instrument of taking the government, the public servants, to serve the public?

The United Nations Declaration of Rights, Article 19, also affirms freedom of assembly.

A majority of us under Rainbow try to manifest the rights of peaceable assembly delineated by Amendment 1, Article 1. Rainbows are all about respecting the forest; we gather on land that has already been logged and/or settled, we would never gather on land where our being there would cause a permanent negative impact. The Gathering is a religious experience in that we all can go there to reconnect with whatever spirituality we seek. As in any group of 20,000, there are some problems, but the number is low in comparison with other groups of similar size. Discomfort expressed with Forest Service being part of inner circle.

Feather process addressed; please respect the feather and more important, the person holding the feather.

Question about what is the big deal about an individual signing a permit as an individual, so long as it is specifically as an individual. Forest Service overwhelmingly deals with people that abuse the land; some distinction must be made between those people and people who gather with respect for the forest. Hope expressed that the Gathering become a partnership instead of a power struggle.

More heartsong.

Comment regarding the nature of Rainbow being individuals each taking responsibility for himself and herself. That is what makes Rainbow unique. It is not due to antipathy toward the Forest Service that we do not sign a permit; it is due to what makes Rainbow valuable to those who Gather. Designating someone who represents each of us, and thus implicitly makes the group responsible for the individuals, is not possible without changing the core of what we are doing. Comment about freedom of peaceable assembly not only meaning peaceable to each other, but to the Mother Earth as well.

The majority of reports locally from Rainbow are positive regarding the experience that has occurred. We care for the Earth and do a good job of it.

From July 1 – July 7, one thing is certain: there will be a Rainbow Gathering. The Forest Service and Law Enforcement will be there. This is a given. Some of us Rainbows are embarrassing and some are not. Acknowledgement that Forest Service reps are doing their jobs; desire expressed for them to perform their jobs with as little trouble as possible, and without harrassment from the individual speaking. We will not be free of conflict; no human congregation is free of conflict, nor should that be striven for…conflict produces growth. But we can strive to minimize any destructiveness of that conflict. We *are* all related, whether we like it or not.

Appreciation expressed for the Earth from the perspective of First Nations, those who were here before the European forefathers. The permit is a big issue; no matter how long we council, speaker will not be in agreement with the permit process or signature on permit.

Stretch break.

Ann Melle made her presentation.

{beginning of Gonzo’s interpretation of Ann’s presentation}

Ann gave some background of her position. She manages the Uniform Officer Patrol Program. Her first Gathering was Nevada, then she returned for Oregon and has worked the rest since then. Was involved with formation of the Incident Command Team. She is here to share some first-hand information with this group, some of who may be participating in the National Gathering. She and Carolyn are here representing the Forest Service, and is here to present the Forest Service position.

Request made for Ann’s personal heartsong regarding Rainbow. She personally believes that a solution can be achieved relating to this impasse. One reason she asks to attend Rainbow Gatherings is that she has so much fun. She believes Gatherings should go on, and that there are many good things that happen at Gatherings. She went on to share some of the “ugly underbelly” of Rainbow. She spends a lot of time talking with people at Gatherings. More and more, people she talks to don’t like the direction Gatherings are going, due to various disrespectful and irresponsible acts by some individuals who are attending the Gatherings. She believes the Forest Service has attended enough Gatherings to know what the Rainbow attendees can and cannot do. She has heard from many people that they are glad Law Enforcement is there. As public servants, FS Law Enforcement is responsible for representing the whole public. Their job is to balance everyone’s interests. Nobody who is involved with the forests, be they Rainbows or conservationists or ranchers or loggers, thinks the FS is doing everything right.

Copies of the permit application and group use regulation (packet also included a denial letter for a 2001 permit and a summary of FS/Rainbow court cases) were passed out. She went over the permit in detail. There tends to be confusion over what parts of the regulation applies to noncommercial uses vs. commercial uses. Only noncommercial use applies to Rainbow. There have been over 500 noncommercial permits issued, including 5 or more to Rainbow Family events. Other groups include family reunions, weddings, church groups, Boy Scouts, etc. Regulations have been in effect since 1985.

Early proposal (Sec. 251.54), written or oral, is required. Concern expressed regarding announcing the site early leading a lot of folks to show up earlier than is healthy for the forest. It probably, according to Ann, is best to do the early proposal process orally, so that it can be done in a low-key way. Contact person’s name is required, including name of person who will sign permit. Once this proposal is received, FS will get back with info on why the site may or may not be appropriate. Specific site not necessary; several potential sites would be fine, or even a state or region.

Once feedback has been received, the written application can be submitted. Once written application is received, FS has 48 hours to respond (including weekends). Application must be received at least 72 hours prior to the event.

If the application is accepted, a permit is issued. The permit will be to the group, which can be the specific event and all the individuals on the land, not to a specific individual.

Liability: The signer does not have legal liability as an individual. Permit does not have legal effect until both the holder and the FS sign the permit.

Confidentiality: Regulations allow confidentiality of information during preapplication process. Problem in Rainbow is that applicants are everybody; how is information kept confidential from the applicants themselves?

Under the regulations, since we are gathering as individuals, each person as an individual is liable to a citation for gathering on Forest Service land in a group of >74 without special use authorization.

Constitutionality: There are 3 branches of government, those who make the laws, those who administer the laws, and those who interpret the laws. The Supreme Court has established that the government may control the time, place, and manner of protected activities. Many Rainbow attendees who have been cited and who have gone before the courts have challenged, along with their own citations, the constitutionality of the regulation. The courts have upheld the regulation. The regulation is not going to go away; the Gathering will be required to have a permit.

Since 1996, the Chief of the Forest Service has established the Recreational Group Use Committee to oversee activities falling under the regulation. Last year, due to continued noncompliance by people who attend Rainbow Gatherings, the Forest Service decided they need people who understand how Rainbow Gatherings work to oversee managing the Gatherings. The Incident Command Team was established, an interdisciplinary group of Law Enforcement, Resource Planning, etc. Regarding the emergency declaration, it is declared for effective administration of the process. Emergency declaration may or may not be used in the future depending on whether it is the most efficient way to administer the situation.

The Chief of the Forest Service has directed that the Incident Command Team deal with noncompliant groups by contacting the group once they have reached 75 and reminds them of the permit process; if no permit is forthcoming, they are notified that they either need to acquire a permit or reduce size to less than 75 people; if the situation continues, the group is informed they must leave the site; if there is still no permit, the group falls under the same regulations that the general public fall under when using the forest (i.e. fires, structures, water lines, infrastructure); if the occupation continues, the roads will be blocked and only people who are entering to remove things from the site will be allowed in.

Blown-down pavilion rescue break.

To continue: People inside will continue to be encouraged to leave. If all the people on the land are not able to be removed, the “general public regulations” will continue to be enforced. Everyone who is present when the event is shut down can be cited for gathering on Forest Service land in a group of >74 without special use authorization.

Addressing the questions: Will the Forest Service acknowledge that the Rainbow Family is not an organization and does not have leaders (what is a leader)? What matters to the Forest Service is whether >74 people are gathering, it doesn’t matter whether they are an organization or not.

Will the FS guarantee not to declare the Gathering an emergency? FS will guarantee neither to declare nor to not declare the Gathering an emergency.

Will the FS issue joint statements to the press with the family? No. It is necessary for the FS to acknowledge that some bad things happen in conjunction with Gatherings, though they are a small percentage of all activities at Gatherings. It would be unfair to just indicate that everything will be wonderful. Question: How about the FS informing the Gathering in some fashion what information has been provided to the local family? FS would be happy to work with the family to notify somebody of meetings with the community. FS can’t invite family to meetings with other Law Enforcement. Statement: FS requested permission to establish a bulletin board at Info at one Gathering, and was denied permission. Response: That is because the FS wanted to post legal notices so they could go to court and state they provided legal notice. Request made that meetings be held jointly with the FS in local communities to address issues. A variety of anecdotes regarding town meetings and problems with the town meetings were recounted, in particular town meetings at which Rainbow Gathering attendees were denied participation either due to nonnotification or not being allowed to speak when they attended. Much back and forth regarding accuracy of the information the FS gives local communities prior to Gatherings and the problems that inaccurate information can cause. Statement by Carolyn that past activities are done, we can’t fix them; we can make a beginning toward better cooperation next year. Two brothers have offered the following process: If nobody else wants to sign the permit (it is preferred that Thanksgiving Council or the group that are focalizing the Annual Gathering next year include a person on the land who will sign a permit), one of the two will sign the permit. Under the signature will be indicated the statement that the person is self-designated. Does the contact person become an agent of the group? Everyone who is on the land is bound by the requirements of the permit. That person is the go-between between the group and the Forest Service.

{end of Ann’s presentation}

On 1/14/2002 I received some clarifications and corrections written by Ann to my notes regarding her presentation–Thanks, Ann:
Ann’s Notes on the Notes

Feather passed – what follows is an attempted summary of some comments:

Question: What is the time frame for making notice? Ann: The minimum is 72 hours prior to 75 people being on the Gathering site. The pre-notice should be as soon as possible. In what area are the 75 people counted? Ann: Regarding the Annual, it is obvious, there are lots of people. Regarding regionals, if 75 people are counted, the permit is required. As far as what is the area, it’s a gray area.

Permit issue is actually an attempt to wipe out the Rainbow movement. It changes it from a gathering to a festival.

A lot of people who participate in Rainbow still consider this permit regulation unconstitutional. The harrassment in enforcement of the regulation is uncalled for. What is the point of coming to a meeting to compromise only to bring a pronouncement set in stone of how things will be?

It seems a kind ultimatum has been presented. Appreciation was spoken for Ann and Carolyn coming to expose themselves to the controversy. But: It doesn’t seem that any ideas of compromise have been presented. The Constitution is not a sacred document; it was written by people 227 years ago to attempt to establish a more representative government than existed previously. Our right to Gather isn’t granted by the Constitution; it exists, and the Constitution acknowledges that. The issues we are dealing with have to be dealt with on a policy level; Ann doesn’t have the authority to change the policies she is hired to enforce. This is a long-term issue.

An understanding was expressed that this council cannot represent the Rainbow Family on the land; thus, all we can do here is have a dialog. Question raised: Can the FS post in a Rainbow-frequented public forum, AGR presented as an example, any community outreach events the FS is planning? Also, why the overflights and clandestine surveillance? Also, what is the problem with slit trenches, which are approved for military use? Also, speak more to the self-designated contact and why the regulations cannot be changed to reflect the self-designated contact status.

In the interest of making the Gathering safer, stop jamming the CALM radios, or if you’re not going to, please come up with a new tape to jam the radios with. Also, please stop going into the community with the message that the Rainbow Gathering is a big drug party; it causes problems with the locals coming out looking for a heavy drug event, and behaving in ways which cause problems for the Gathering. Permit issue: Can a person volunteer to be a contact person rather than a representative? Answer: Although a piece of paper can be stapled to the application, the application must still be signed. Problem with letting the government know early where the Gathering will be allows the federal government to do bad PR in the region or local area. Harrassment: No indication from LEOs that harrassment will diminish. Town meetings: Speaker would like the opportunity to address the town meetings first, to inform them of negative issues they may need to address. We (don’t know who the speaker refers to) will give the local media published info from past Gatherings; FS doesn’t need to.

Where can we find the Police Standard of how violations of the permit is supposed to be written up? The whole thing makes me nervous on a constitutional basis. We have the lowest crime rate per capita in a group our size of any organization. Question: If you are out there working with 74 other people working the Gathering, would you sign a permit making you liable for their acts?

Dinner will be served. There is cheese in the sauce; vegans please notify us so we can get you a meal without the sauce.

How do these regulations manage to supersede the Constitution? Ann: The Constitution contains the separation of powers. The people elect Congress to make laws; the executive branch implements the laws; the courts interpret the laws, in particular as to whether they are constitutional. Congress passed a series of laws relating to the Forest Service, including passing on to the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to set up regulations. The Rainbow has taken several regulations to court requesting an interpretation as to constitutionality. The courts, with some specific exceptions in parts of the regulation, have upheld the constitutionality of the regulation. The case is now appealed to the Supreme Court, and it is awaiting certiorari (whether the case will be heard).

What if we don’t go past the proposal stage? Ann: It will still not be an authorized Gathering. The reason for looking at proposed sites is to facilitate getting the permit signed in the first place, to avoid setbacks or denials in getting the permit approved.

I want to see compromise; I feel we’ve been given an ultimatum. It’s going to happen. Speaker will not sign a permit or authorize anyone else to sign a permit.

Speaker has a problem trusting what the FS reps say, because of past actions and actions toward other forest users. If the permit is signed it may mess up cases in process.

If a person signs the permit, and x amount of damage is done, who is liable? Ann: The group of individuals is responsible for any resource damage, but the Forest Service will deal with a specific individual for damage caused by that specific individual. If nobody signs the permit, who is responsible? The individuals who commit the acts. However, the Gathering will not be allowed without a permit.

The question we have to ask ourselves is: Is this permit legal? Thus far the courts have found this permit to be legal. The crux of the problem is with those who make the laws. The solution may require that some of us get elected into the legislative branch that makes the laws.

Has the Forest Service ever considered coming in and building a kitchen, for when they’re not on duty, so they can have fun while they’re there? Ann: One of the frustrations of no permit means the FS folks can’t do more to participate because it’s an illegal event, and the government employees can’t participate in an illegal event.

Although the regulations may be legal, ethically and morally these Gatherings are not illegal.

The dinner was awesome!

Speaker believes that we have a right to be out there. The Constitution gives that right. Everyone is welcome. If you want to be a Rainbow, you can be a Rainbow. Why can the FS reps not sign the permit? Ann: The FS reps are not there to participate, they are there to conduct their official duties.

Appreciation expressed for Ann and Carolyn coming to hear what we had to say and listen to the massive disagreement we have with them. That’s a great first step. As to the permit, these permits have been around for a long time. Contact persons have chosen themselves through the years, as self-designated contact persons (not labelled as such, but in practice that’s what they did). All the planning was done in cooperation with the FS when law enforcement didn’t have any regulation to enforce. We are in the end fighting over a symbol, some colored ink on a piece of paper. Some folks, knowing they will incur the hatred of others, have come up with this self-designated contact person concept. The self-designated contact would sign stating that he/she is not signing as a representative of the Rainbow Family, not committing anyone else to any obligation due to the signature, it is just a signature as an individual. We won’t know if we’re wrong until we try.

This regulation appears to be designed specifically to give this group hell. It appears this ultimately will be solved by the courts. I don’t see any letup on the hippie lifestyle because society as a whole just doesn’t get it. There is a conflict between two presentations of the “self-designated signer” rule: Ann appears to have said that the self-designated signer obligates the group to abide by the permit; the previous speaker indicated that the signer only obligates him/herself to be a contact person. If this regulation can be shown before the Supreme Court to be targeted at one group, it shouldn’t have a chance of being upheld.

There keep being comments on how good the relationship with the Forest Service used to be; what happened to change it? Are there any potential areas of compromise? And why does the FS go into areas with an attitude of hysteria? Ann: There has always been an agreement on an operating plan, though it wasn’t signed. The operating plans have always worked pretty well. The Law Enforcement decision didn’t set up the regulations; the regional officers and the Chief of the Forest Service and the line officers pressed for and established the regulations. The reason the regulation was put forward was that the line officers and the Chief said that the old system wasn’t working, and a new method of administration needs to be established. One problem we’ve had in the past was LEOs being harassed by Gatherers, which has gone down in recent years.

When resource personnel were incident commanders, they were satisfied with everything except the law enforcement personnel. Regarding the permit issue, Ann keeps getting around to talking about “you people” agreeing to this person signing the permit, implying that we have designated that person. The person who signs “signs as an agent of the holder” according to the back of the application for permit. No one who signs is an agent of anyone else at this council. When Law Enforcement says that without a signature, folks working toward the Gathering cannot consult with resource personnel, it is to the detriment of the forest. The only thing hindering cooperation is the signature issue. There is no such thing as a designated signee and no one is willing to make such a thing exist.

A proposal for cooperation originally given to a meeting in Santa Fe was read, and a copy offered to Ann and Carolyn.

A brief early history of FS-Rainbow interaction was spoken.

The simple solution to this is to eliminate the requirement for a signature. If the Forest Service wants to issue a permit, that’s fine. There is more to this signature requirement than cooperation, it is about control. The only way the bureaucracy could come after Rainbow was as “the rest of the people”, since we are the people peaceably assembled.

A message was conveyed from “some others” not at Council: Any further communication from the Forest Service to the “family as a whole” should be by way of the Usenet newsgroup alt.gathering.rainbow. Communications with the attorneys should be directed through the U.S. Attorney. Ann asked if the reader was acting as an agent for anyone else. Response was that the reader is conveying information for some other people.

It was requested that people be allowed to communicate with resource personnel to work with the issues where the FS and those working toward a Gathering can usefully cooperate, with the goal of making the Gathering a safe and healthy Gathering. Ann: An oral proposal can be given, and FS can work with whoever would like to work with the FS up until the time a permit would be required. Also, her comment regarding the group agreeing to a designated signer was offered as a compromise, giving some control over who signs, not as a dictate…a person can still just stand up and self-designate as a signer.

What authority must the self-designated signer have? The signer serves in the contact capacity, and was agreed on by the group. As an attempt to reach out to what has been said regarding Rainbow having no representatives, the FS is willing to accept a self-designated signer in full realization that the whole group has not designated them as an authorized representative; that person would be a designated contact person. Can that contact exist without a signature? No.

Thanks to Rainbows who have managed to hang on for this council. Hopefully we can keep working, even if we don’t get what we want out of this council, toward making a successful Gathering happen. The Gathering is a nonheirarchical thing; it will go on with or without the consent or advice of this council. No one can be compelled to sign; no one can be banned from signing. It seems silly that just because some one person has agreed to sign for no one else, the Gathering suddenly is legal. How can we do all that is needed toward making the Gathering happen, and then have it all fall apart 72 hours before the Gathering due to no signature?

Even though this has been a long day, this council meeting was to find out where we all stand, and I think we’ve accomplished that.

There seems to be a problem that if someone signs, it jeopardizes the whole legal and ethical movie. Would it be possible for council to work out a statement representing ourselves as individuals in council?

Thanks to Ann and Carolyn for coming, and to everyone else, for subjecting themselves for all this. It is disappointing that the Forest Service came to the council with no intention of compromise.

Your (FS) Chief in Washington is clearly a very powerful Chief, but clearly he is not a wise one, because he does not see that any signature will be given under duress.

The people who Gather are not poor powerless people; we have shown power in court cases, in standing up to the Army, in refusing to be rolled over. All respect for the Government is lost with this bogus meeting where the Government comes and says that if you sign, we’re going to target you selectively, and if you don’t sign, we’re going to cite you selectively. We have a lot of power. There are two ways to get rid of power: they can slit our throats, or they can convince us to slit our own throats. Don’t hang onto the big Rainbow Gathering for dear life; the Great Spirit will dictate how all is resolved.

Have you come to the conclusion yourselves that there is no way that a valid signature can be put on a permit? The Family council will not assent to a representative who signs a permit, thus in the eyes of those of us in this council that signature will be invalid. There are several groups, or tribes, which claim the name of Rainbow Family. If one of those tribes consensed to sign a permit for the Annual Gathering, how would that be binding on the other tribes? The answer Ann has been told is that it is obvious that the group that exists on the land at that time is more than that tribe, and the only permit the FS can issue is for that whole group.

Rainbow is made of many tribes; it is not a single tribe. To classify it as a single entity minimizes the differences.

Consensus was proposed that the brother who says he will sign a permit as a “self-designated contact person” represents us as a council as a permit signee. Consensus was blocked by numerous individuals. Consensus was proposed that anyone be allowed to represent us. Consensus was again blocked by numerous individuals. It was noted that we have no authority to ban that brother or anyone else from signing a permit as an individual, but that we pointedly do not authorize his signature be on our behalf. Appreciation expressed again that Ann and Carolyn were willing to come and share information with us. Acknowledgement that they are here to convey information to us about a stupid regulation, that they did not make up the stupid regulation.

This group is an anarchist group. We are all totally responsible for our own actions, and only our own actions. When we deal with the Forest Service, we are dealing with a very complex and powerful organization, the U.S. Government. The signature is the one thing that is required. No legal basis has been shown how the signatures affect any individual responsibilities. An analogy could be drawn to the Government’s treatment of Native tribes, where the Government obtained signatures on treaties, and then broke every one of those treaties. When we sign a permit with the U.S. Government, we are by nature setting up some sort of representative organization. Signing such a permit damages the very basis of what Rainbow is. Signing a permit would be not only signing away the concept of freedom, but signing away our freedom itself.

Given the experience historically with the US Government keeping its promises, the record is not good. At this juncture, I have severe reservations about this permit issue, but I think it is an issue that has to be dealt with at a policy level.

This whole permit thing has been over-focused-on. An issue is raised regarding potential site selection. Would the Forest Service have some suggestions regarding where a suitable site with meadows, parking, and water would be? The feeling was expressed that the issue has not been focused on enough.

Ann requests that we look at the same criteria the FS looks at in determining an appropriate site, as delineated in the handout she passed around. She expressed thanks for sharing our feelings with her in a respectful way. She apologizes to those let down because they thought she was coming with proposals for compromise on the regulation issue. She also apologizes to those who feel she and Carolyn just came here to deliver an ultimatum. She was trying to be up front, complete, and accurate, and to present the situation in the Forest Service openly so that those who work toward a Gathering have the information they need as they move forward. Contact information will be provided. Keep in mind that Ann and Malcolm and Carolyn are working together as part of the Noncommercial Group Use Committee, so any communication with any one of them will be shared. Contact information for the two folks involved with the the “self-designated contact person” signature will also be provided.

Question raised regarding why, if the Idaho site, as indicated by Ranger Walt, was the least impactable site in Idaho, was the permit denied? Ann: First, it was represented to the FS that the site was just Spring Council. The question was then raised whether it was better to move the group or let them remain where they were, and the FS decided to have them stay where they were.

Fragments from Sunday, November 25, 2001

The following items have been submitted regarding Sunday at the council.

Consensus: The notes shall be posted on the Web, but with names other than Forest Service representatives omitted.

Rob (I presume this means Rob Savoye, who is Webmaster of WelcomeHome.org) has volunteered to do a Web page for the Annual Gathering 2002.


(.pdf format: will require Acrobat Reader)

Ann Melle’s Notes on the Notes

Links to documents handed out as part of Ann Melle’s presentation

Permit Application and Permit
Group Use Regulation
denial letter for a 2001 permit
summary of FS/Rainbow court cases