Paiute Tribe to Rainbow Gathering: Please respect our ancestral land

FILE--In this June 28, 2016 file photo, members of the Rainbow Family of Living Light gather under a tarp at their campsite in Mount Tabor, Vt. Concern is growing in a conservative, remote corner of Oregon as people start arriving in a national forest for this year's Rainbow Family of Living Light annual gathering, a counter-culture get-together expected to draw thousands. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring, file)

Earlier this month, the Malheur National Forest was announced as this year's location for the annual Rainbow Gathering.

The Forest Service is planning for 10,000 to 30,000 people to flood the area for the event, scheduled to happen around the Fourth of July. The gathering site will be at the Flagtail Meadow off Forest Service Road 24, near John Day in Eastern Oregon.

Burns Paiute Tribal Chairman Joe DeLaRosa called upon Rainbow Gathering organizers to tread lightly on their ancestral land.

"The Rainbow Family's proposed camp site is squarely within our ancestral territory," said Chairman DeLaRosa. "This land is sacred to us, and we hope they respect it."

In addition to the sacred status and cultural importance of the land, there are several importance archaeological resources near the proposed event site.

The land treaty signed by the Burns Paiute Tribe dates back to 1868. Much of the tribe's ancestral land is now managed by the federal government as the Malheur National Forest. Chairman DeLaRosa is also calling upon the federal government to help protect the land's sacred resources.

"The Burns Paiute Tribe is landless, due to the wrongful taking of our ancestral homeland, much of which remains in federal ownership," explained Chairman DeLaRosa. "It is critical that the federal government protects our cultural heritage on federal land,"

Native cultural properties are protected by federal law.

The Associate Press reports that peole are starting to arrive in the Malheur National Forest for the annual counter-culture gathering.

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