August 9, 1988
Rainbow Legaliason Letter
short hip-story of the "permit process":
1972- near Granby Colorado, upwards of 50,000 people:
this gathering was not "permitted"; in effect the State
of Colorado, U.S. Forest Service brought many measures
against the gathered people: captioned by a "blockade"
and a date in Federal District Court, Colorado: ruling in
the matter was that the World Family Gathering sponsored
by the Rainbow Family Tribe was not a "legal event". Blockade was
"broken" by the Peace Walk of the People.
1973-1976: permit consisted of a District Ranger "somehow" filing
a permit, without any"true" approach to the "Council" :
1976- Montana: our "laision council" was started up, primarily to
deal with the law enforcement, negotiating with local
townspeople, other "diplomatic" scenes. In 1976, this
"crew", with their understanding of the Council's Will,
signed a permit, would not pay the $25.00 fee. Another
person, voluntarily paid the fee, out of his own pocket.
Reasons: to pay a "head Tax" for the "right to peaceably
assemble" would violate our Constitutional First
Amendment Right to Freely Assemble.
(2) monies from the $25.00 fee (or more) go to the
General Fund: onto the Pentagon....Our People "peaceably
assemble" to "petition Peace"--Our Assembly: Gathering: presents
a "lifestyle", an open sharing of values, ideas, manifested in a
variety of ways. Work is a form of Prayer...when a person "works"
in a kitchen at a Gathering, that person (generally speaking)
will be doing that work as a form of "prayer" or "petition".
Either spiritually promoting Peace through sharing work, or
politically expressing a desire for a community of peace through
sharing work. All actions consciously performed in a positive way
at such Gatherings promotes Peace.
Note: there were many persons who strongly objected to the
signing of any permit.
Also, it was suggested by the U.S. Forest Service District
Ranger that a "performance bond" was being considered: this item
proposal was dropped prior to the signing of the "permit".
Reasons given by "laision group" as to the signing was "to
promote Peace". Threats of further harassment by Forest Service
were part of the reasonings. Video surveillance, wearing of
weapons openly, were part of the negotiations: both by Forest
Service and other Law Enforcement and Government personnel.
The Agreement (early Operating Plan) was that Only One Camera,
held and photographed by the District Ranger, No Weapons openly
Our Agreement was to Clean Up the site, Peal with our health
and Sanitation concerns, deal with the social situation: working
with local storekeepers etc....
Both the Forest Service, ather Law Enforcement And Rainbow Family
Kept the Agreement.
1977- New Mexico--1978- Oregon--1979- Arizona: Rainbow Family and Forest Service worked out Operating Plan and signed Permits:
many persons in Family objected to the signing of the permits on
Constitutional Grounds, Individuals in the Family, paid the
permit fee, sometimes.
1980- West Virginia: many things happened that eventually lead to
a "climate of fear" in West Virginia. Two of our Sisters, folks
on their way to the Gathering, were executed by "unknown
A "Permit" was signed Under Strong Protest on the 2nd or 3rd
of July, over the objections of many, many people, This was the
last "Permit" signed by Rainbow Family.
1981- Washington: no "permit" though one was issued by Forest
Service: without Family signing.
1982- Idaho: An Operation Plan Agreement was successfully
negotiated between the U,S. Forest Service, represented by Gene
Reynolds, Supervisor, and the Rainbow Family Tribal Council. This
document was approved by our Tribal Council, signed in "formal"
fashion before our Gathered Council: Originals were exchanged.
Forest Service unilaterally issued Rainbow a "permit". Letter
sent to U.S. Attorneys office by Rainbow Legal Laision concerning
the video surveillance, weapons warn within our parking lots, and
the taking of license plate numbers.
1983- Michigan- good relations between Rainbow People and Forest
Service. Operating Plan is successfully negotiated. Rainbows and
Forest Service keep their word. Dollar Costs of Gathering are
minimal. Previous Costs far years of heavily Enforcement are
very high. Over $180,000 estimate at Washington Gathering.
1984-California: began on unusual note: August 1983 new "reg" is
placed in Federal Register, 36 cfr 251,50 et. seq., 60 day
comment period. This new Regulation was objected to by two groups
of people, Rainbow Family and it is our understanding- the K.K.K.
This Rule was Administratively placed in the Federal Registry,
with no Oversight committee viewing it, nor was any social impact
analysis nor economic impact analysis done on the effects of the
Regulation. It was noted that the Regulation would effect only a
few small groups in society, naming the Rainbow as one of them.
June 24, 1984, this Regulation went into effect. The regulation
did two things:
(1) it finally recognized that the)e are such things as
"peaceable assembly on public lands for purposes of expression"
A significant step.
(2) it set up precepts that place the Operating plan agreement
in a minor role bureaucratically, while placing the Authorization
i.e. the political procedures in the ascendant. Hence, the
current situation legally and politically concerning the
Three major Court cases have arisen from this Regulation
alone, with untold costs both to Forest Service and Rainbow
Family Tribal Council.
(1) Gideon Israel/Rainbow in Arizona U.S. Federal Judge
Bilby ruled that the Regulation "is unconstitutional - however
the Judge added no weight to the ruling, by issuing no opinion
With the Judgement. Judge Bilby "bound" the Forest Service and
Regional Rainbow Family Council i.e. Gideon "accepted" a ticket
for the Tribal Council, so that the case could go to Court-to
negotiate some sort of operating agreement, otherwise, he would
not rule in the case.
Forest Service and Regional Rainbow Council negotiated for High
Creek: this site was considered to be acceptable, by Forest
Service standards--however, since it had no drinking water, was a
potential historical archeological site, other reasons, it was
not an acceptable site for such a Gathering, even though the
People Gathered there, protecting the history of the place as
much as possible.
Forest Service did not appeal case. Ruling issued stands.
(2) State of North Carolina -Health Department- vs, Rainbow
Family: 1987, in U.S. Federal District Court Dave Santelle
presiding, This case lead to a Negotiated Agreement between
Rainbow Family Tribal Council and State of North Carolina signed
in Federal Court July 2nd, under strong protest by Rainbow
Council Ratified on July 3rd, under strong protest by Rainbow
Family Tribal Council. A quote from one individual "this is being
done with a gun to our head, ratify it if you want (referring to
Council) but I object".
On July 7, in the early afternoon U.S. Forest Service Law
Enforcement and North Carolina State Troopers crossed over the
bridge into Assembly area, demanded under threat of arrest that
the Welcome Center at that point be "torn down" immediately,
During the entire course of the North Carolina Gathering,
the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement prevented ingress and
egress of our People into the Gathering Area, This caused us
undue hardship, prevented us from gathering materials: bringing
good water on board, even during a time of "health crisis".
On July 8th, an agreement was signed between Rainbow Cleanup
Council and U.S. Forest Service concerning ingress and egress to
the Gathering site. The Forest Service continued to harass,
intimidate etc, our Cleanup Crew, This caused the Cleanup to go
very slowly, however,` even though the Cleanup Crew was harassed,
subsequently "busted", morning of August Ist, reports from our
People were a good cleanup, Some Rainbow People have returned to
site area, saw the cleanup results--only remaining marks are of
some disk work done in main Council areas--reports are the Forest
Service used disks.
(3) Court case in U.S. Federal District Court Justice William
James Justice presiding. Justice Justice judgement is the
regulation even the current updated May 10,1988 version is
During the course of the Texas Gathering, a "health
certification process" with involvement by the State of Texas
Health aid the U.S. Dept of Health. Health standards submitted by
U.S. Health was the U.S. Army Field Training Manual. These
standards were modified to the Gathering situation. Rainbow
Calm/Mash/Temple (our health people) and various Health Dept
worked out these modifications on site.
The Environmental side of the Gathering! was not dealt with by
any U.S. Forest Service personnel until July 8th, when local
District Ranger finally appeared on site.
Environmental damage was done, in many areas, by U.S. Forest
The many costs, problems, situations involving Forest Service
and Rainbow People, or other Persons or Groups who may, in the
future, be assembling on Public Lands, need a solution. We, in
the Rainbow Council know that Solutions become self-evident, if
we all, Forest Service, other Government agencies and Rainbow
People negotiate in a constructive fashion.
Enclosed are various informational pieces concerning the
various Gatherings, situations etc,..
What we, Rainbow Legal Laision Persons, would like to propose:
(note: all our efforts must subsequently be brought before
Rainbow Family Tribal Council, July Ist, 1989, Nevada, for
Proposal:Special Operations Agreement
Special Operations Agreement
This proposal covers the Various problems encountered by
Forest Service and Rainbow Council:
(1) In the first Paragraph of this agreement we would like
to see covered the First Amendment Freedom Issues:
A statement Similar to this:
Rights of the People to Peaceably Assemble on
Public Lands (National Forest Lands)are recognized by the
U.S. Forest Service. Forest Service duties and obligations
as regards these events are to insure that all citizens' and
participants' rights and liberties are protected.
Specifically, the Rights of Association, Assembly,
Expression, Petition, Religious Freedom. These Rights are
"Of subject to conditions of authorization or non-
authorization, It is the Constitutional duty of every Forest
Service or other Government Personage to uphold and protect
these Rights and Privileges.
(This statement is very similar to the oath of office of
all Government employees, so this should be an easy in to
(2) In the second part of this Regulation the Environmental,
Health, Sanitation and Social Concerns will be dealt with:
(A) Forest Service, represented by the District Ranger,
would work in cooperation With Rainbow (or other groups) to
insure environmental protection, good clean-up, protection
Of wildlife etc.: in previous Years, at Gatherings like
Oregon ('78), Michigan '83) Missouri ('85), others, the
relationship between Forest Service and Rainbow has been
good. Our record for "great" clean-ups was superb. In 13
Years of Gathering, only North Carolina '87) was deemed, by
the Forest Service not to be up to our usual good clean-ups.
We have spent many long hours consulting with Forest
Service, in Federal Courts as previously noted) and in
long discussions among our own people as to why, after all
these years, that a Clean-up was "Of considered great.
Rainbows' conclusion is the degree of harassment,
intimidation etc. by the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement,
denying us ingress and egress to the the Gathering Site, prior to
the Gathering, during the Gathering and after the Gathering,
throughout the entire clean-up, was the chief cause of there
being such a long, slow clean-up. Rainbow states, for the record,
that our people did a good clean-up, even through a "bust" The
land has been viewed by our people and it has since recovered
nicely. Our conclusion is that the Regional Policy of Seeing our
Gathering as a Law Enforcement problem rather than as an Assembly
of responsible people exercising our basic freedoms, was the
A similar situation shaped up in Texas ('88), however, the
federal Justice Justices' Order, with its accompanying
"certication process" for health, sanitation seemed to cause the
Forest Service Law Enforcement to "back-off" to to a degree, once
the blockade of our Gates was "lifted".
Forest Service Law Enforcement continued to harass,
intimidate, do active video surveillance, wear weapons openly,
drive their vehicles in and through the Main areas of the
Gathering: doing extensive environmental damage and inhibiting
the free exercise of the people's rights as citizens to enjoy
their freedom of expression. It is extremely difficult to stand
up to express your opinion of Government Policies, that you may
disagree with, when a government Camera is Recording all that you
do or say.
Environmentally-oriented Forest Service personnel who know
the territory i.e. District rangers are the key to the solution
to the environmental problems.
(B) Health and sanitation: over the years Rainbow has worked
with State (recently, Texas-Federal Health officials) maintaining
a good working relationship (exception was North Carolina, '87).
Generally speaking, our Rainbow standards are better, stronger,
more suited to the natural environment. Example: in Texas (88)
Federal health wanted us to correspond to U.S. Army Field
Training Manual, while State health officials simply wanted to
insure a healthy, sanitary Gathering. Field manual wanted us to
install urinals (in the woods?) while leaving our latrines
uncovered. Rainbow standard is a covered latrine, with flip-top
covers (anyone who is in the woods at night who steps in a
latrine (shitter) finds not only an unpleasant situation but an
Rainbow is more than willing to work out consistent,
workable health, sanitation policies (standards): our
Calm/Mash/Temple crew, among others, are currently;y working on a
Gathering Field Manual to include these standards.
(C) Social Concerns: Rainbow, and we are sure, other groups,
are willing to deal with the local populace ourselves.
Traditionally, we do so anyway. Oftentimes, even when the Forest
Service Law is "Controlling" our Front Gates, local trouble-types
have been allowed in while local good folks have been prevented
from entering the Gathering. When Rainbow people Operate our
gates, we have immediate contact with the folks who are on their
way in to meet us. We can avert any problems up-front. This year
in Texas many local people who wanted to attend the gathering did
so in the face of harassment by Forest Service Law, while in one
incident, a jeep with two "drinking" local trouble-types were
allowed easy access to the Gathering, subsequently, one of our
people was hurt...No Guns.
Our gatherings are open and free to all, however we are a
private Gathering open to the public on public land.
Usually, excepting North Carolina and Texas, Forest Service
has issued road closures leading into our main gathering sites.
Standard Forest Service Policy.
As justice Justice pointed out in his Order (civil order no.
L-88-68-Ca) Forest Service has many ways to enforce environmental
laws and regulations, other than cfr 351, 261, etc. With the
Special Operations Agreement: with the rights and liberties
protected and the Health, Sanitation, and social Environmental
concerns dealt with, the only things that would need to be worked
out would be the "on site" specifics.
Obviously, Rainbow Family Tribal Council, represented by the
Rainbow Legaliason Group desires to reach a peaceful agreement
with the U.S. Forest Service, which uis why we initiated this
Get-together. We have genuine concerns, and we know Forest
Service has concerns also.
Our willingness to negotiate is evidenced by our presence.
There are certain specific points we would like to repeat:
(1) Rights and Freedoms of the People to Peaceably Assemble
on Public Lands for the purpose of Expression to be
(2) Healthy, Safe, Positive Gatherings with good
environmental relationship happen when cooperation on all sides
is in evidence.
(3) No guns, no weapons, No vehicles, No Video (or other
types) Surveillance, No taking License Plate numbers.
(4) Open, free ingress and egress of our people and our
invited guests, family, friends, folks. We Operate Our Own Gates.
(5) Forest Service environmental personnel, perhaps one
Forest Service Law, with additional back-up from local law is
sufficient to insure a peaceful, secure event. This year, when an
arrest was made of one Kim Ramsey, for Eagle Feathers, Neosho,
aka Kim, was handled roughly. This type of handling was of the
same nature as the arrest of Jim x Lynch C.O. in North Carolina
'87, obstruction: neither arrest needed rough handling. Our
people are peaceful. Better ways of dealing with these
situations, It must be noted that Billy Ball, Forest Service
Law, released Neosho into the custody of Barry Plunker, Rainbow
Custody Shanti Sena (Peace Scenes group). If we have trouble
beyond our means to deal with, we call in the law: this is a
long-standing agreement, through many gatherings.
(6) We will not sign any Permit, now or int he future, but
we will, as we have in the past, work out and carry through with
an Operation Plan Agreement.
(7) This option: Special Operations Agreement is something
our people, this legaliason group feels, will agree to.
(8) This Rainbow Legaliason Group, formerly established at
the Texas '88 Gathering is composed of Volunteers. Some of theses
Volunteers, and other Volunteers will, through the course of the
next several years, continue to establish negotiations, peaceful
relationships. All negotiations or agreements reached by the
Legaliason Group are subject to Consensus Approval by Rainbow
Family Tribal Council in session July 1, 1989- Nevada
(9) Rainbow Legalison people will maintain contact with the
Forest Service throughout the year and during the gathering. The
names and faces may change but the flow of information will be
(10) What is wanted and needed is a Consistent Forest
Service Policy that deals with the various concerns and protects
our Rights and Freedoms.
Gatherings like those sponsored by the Rainbow People are
the Crest of the Wave of the Future of Public Land Use. The Day
of the Individual Camping out in many forests is already drawing
to a close. Large group camping, encampments, peaceable
assemblies is the next logical step. We realize that this meeting
would not have happened unless the time had come for Forest
Service and Rainbow People to begin active peace talks. Many
times in the past we have met Forest Service People who treated
us with respect. It must be noted that these gatherings cost less
in all ways, Forest Service and Rainbow. We like the positive
Thank you for time and patience,
for Rainbow Family Tribal Council
Good Working Relationships:
Dennis Martin, Gordon Rhinehart Oregon ('78)
Gene Reynolds, Idaho ('82)
Mickey Hall, Joseph Zylinksi, Michigan ('83)
Mike Lee, California ('84)
Bruce Platt, Missouri ('85)
Jon Serfass, Bob Burton, Pennsylvania ('86)
and a host of other Forest Service People who have worked good
with us through the years, thank you.
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