Dear Burning Man…

This video highlights the cultural appropriation issues, showing how some Burners really just don’t give a shit if some First Nations people are deeply offended by their antics.

Read the comments at Facebook…people are pretty upset about this. I’m not sure BMorg can take their usual approach of issuing a statement saying “we’ve listened to all of your concerns and we take them seriously”, then proceeding to do nothing whatsoever.

See also:

We Will Shut Down The Roads To Burning Man – Alarm at Cultural Appropriation

Dear White People, Standing Rock Is Not Burning Man

Standing Rock Coming To Black Rock

“We Will Shut Down The Roads To Burning Man” – Alarm at Cultural Appropriation

BMorg were very proud that Standing Rock Water Protectors were attending this year, staying at the Red Lightning Camp. There was a big vision to unite the world’s tribes in the world’s biggest drum circle.

From Standing Rock to Black Rock – Unite with us as One Global Family for what may become the world’s largest synchronized drum circle. Hundreds of locations will Unify and tune into a live drum circle prayer broadcast from Red Lighting located at the heart of the Burning Man playa and amplified by the Mayan Warrior. Indigenous Wisdom Keepers will be at the center of this prayer leading the drum circle and uniting the world into one global heartbeat.

The idea may have backfired, with reports that some of the Water Protectors (indigenous leaders) were deeply offended by the drug abuse and cultural appropriation they witnessed: so much so that they have threatened to shut Burning Man down.

[Source: Facebook]

Here’s the link for the interview. There is quite a bit more discussion in the Burning Man Update at Digital Smoke Signals

This is the video (Part 1, Part 2) where Myron Dewey of Digital Smoke Signals first shared his overall impressions of Burning Man, saying that people should not bring children there and that the experience was perhaps similar to what his ancestors felt going to Washington DC for the first time.

BMorg has previously asked people not to wear headdresses and war bonnets, but they are not banned as they are at many festivals.

 

Powwows.com has more specifics:

People across Indian country found themselves raising their eyebrows and scratching their heads as a viral Facebook video began making its way through pow wow circles everywhere.

Image: powwows.com

Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard that there was a “powwow” held at the Burning Man festival hosted by none other than Standing Rock’s own attorney Chase Iron Eyes and his drum group…

In the video, Chase begins to explain his intentions with a comment that didn’t sit well with some Natives.

“We are all Indigenous, we need to transcend, and one way to do that is through the drum.”

Here’s that Facebook post. Apparently there is a satire video of this going around, anyone got a link for it?

Chase Iron Eyes explained himself

He spoke in his defense:

“Couple few things about Burning Man:

  1. I was not paid to go to Burning Man
  2. No one sold ceremony. [Please. BMorg sold Radical Ritual ceremony for up to $1200 a ticket- Ed.]
  3. I don’t do drugs or alcohol.
  4. We didn’t sing “going to a powwow.” That was a clever edit. Indigenous people came to share in good faith.
  5. I, along with others, went there to share the message of Water Protectors, to elevate this struggle, their current criminalization, into other platforms, and to share our truths.

 

Some facts and now some thoughts I hope you share with your network about my statements that “all are Indigenous.”

Everyone is Indigenous. All descend from the sacred waters, the land, the cosmos. Everyone has been subjected to the same forces of separation, abstraction, division. Spirit separated from mind, heart from intellect, being separated from relationships with food source, from relations with the waters, the star nations, from covenants with the sacred sites. All anyone has to do is go back far enough and there is a time when you were connected to the sacred.

Colonial forces asserted “dominion” over Mother Earth, over the older beings, the animals, the winged, and so forth. These forces declared themselves “superior”, instituted currency, the logic & institutions of capital, private property, the nation state, extraction. They are the purveyors of patriarchy, pop culture, of cool, of fashion, of beauty, of advertising and so forth. They are now the sources of this separation, fear, hate & division, from which we seek a liberation.

To liberate the spirit, to transcend the limits of body, language & perceived differences of race, religion is to take part in a great awakening, one which is evolving, which will compel us to civilize ourselves with divine order, to unite ourselves with the universe. Then our institutions of law, economy, energy, media, education and so for can reflect humanity’s pursuit of liberation and that of Mother Earth’s, more importantly because we will be morally and spiritually authorized to create that reality. We won’t let vampires destroy our planet.

Cultural appropriation is wrong, yes. Original Nations have survived genocide, slavery, holocaust, and an ongoing genocide, an ongoing deliberate attempt to undermine our dignity, liberation & self determination. For foreigners to prance around in a headdress is wrong. I have lived my life confronting objectification when I first learned of it at 19 years old from the Association of American Indian Psychology. I will continue to confront it and I thank those who fight that fight. Natives confronted people at Burning Man in teachable moments.

[Source]

Whimn.com.au had some other examples of cultural appropriation by supermodels and fashion designers:

The tribal elders want these ladies banned from Burning Man. YMMV.
Huffington Post had some further thoughts.

Upon leaving the playa where there is no cell service, we arrived back in civilization to see social media on fire with the conversation about cultural appropriation. There was much ugliness and ridicule, as is common on social media, but for those genuinely interested in understanding what happened the information is available. Yes the issue of cultural appropriation was with us at Burning Man as it is with us outside of Burning Man. It is being addressed and all the conversations are part of that healing when people conduct themselves with respect.

Many have entitled themselves to say what is a “real Indian”, what is a “real ceremony”, what is a “real prayer”, what is a “real culture”, and each is welcome to their opinions. We all have a choice to be guided by a desire for healing and come from a place of love, or allow ourselves to fall into the division, anger, and hatred that is also part of humanity’s cultural heritage. Burning Man is a microcosm of humanity. It is important to remember that there is a deep wound and the anger about cultural appropriation needs to be heard if it is to be healed. Any path forward to unity will have to account for and include letting go of the wounds of the past. How do we reconcile?

It’s not just cultural appropriation; apparently there is a problem with gender dynamics and too many beautiful people as well.

Paris Hilton made an effort to be culturally appropriate while looking fabulous

So Indian head-dresses are a cultural faux pas…what about Viking Horns?

Image: NY Post

I Heart The Eye In The Sky

we be jammin'!

we be jammin’!

Traffic is one of the biggest nightmares at Burning Man. When you finally arrive at the tiny town of Gerlach, Nevada – your last place to stock up on gas and supplies before you hit the Playa – you still have a wait of many hours ahead of you before you get into the event. You will sit in a long line of vehicles in a single lane heading to the event, there is no need to overtake because you’re all going to be waiting for a long time once you get there. Once you turn off the blacktop and onto the dust, you are still miles and hours away from Burning Man. There is a separate area for Will Call, I suggest you keep right if you need to go there but you don’t have to. You have to make it past the inspection checkpoint (people boarding your vehicle and searching it, they won’t search for your drugs, but there are police with drug sniffer dogs walking outside vehicles parked in the line), past the greeters (people making newbies ring a bell and roll in the dust), slowly drive along the access road to the city, then find your camp. Pro tip: the higher the letter of the road, the longer it takes to drive along it. So if you’re camped at 10 & D, it will be faster to drive to A, drive along that to 10, then drive back up to D, than it would be to drive along the outer road of L or M. Speed is limited to 10 MPH on the Gate Road, then 5 MPH for all vehicles in Black Rock City, for dust reasons as well as for safety.

photo credit: Michael Holden

photo credit: Michael Holden

People have been asking us when is the best time to arrive to minimize the hours in the queue. The rules have changed so that the gates open at 10am Sunday now, so there is no historical data to use for this decision. Your guess is as good as mine! Please report back to us with your experiences. We’re @burnersdotme on Twitter, #burners.

This year, BMOrg are making more of an effort to keep the community informed about traffic conditions. Their official radio station, BMIR 94.5, will be broadcasting updates at the top of each hour. You can get the signal before you are near the event from iHeart.com, you can download the iHeartRadio app to your smartphone. You can also follow the traffic on Twitter @BManTraffic.

As well as Burning Man’s own rideshare board, BMOrg have teamed up with commercial ride-sharing companies Zimride and Amovens to facilitate trips. You can also arrive by bus or plane.

From JRS:

customsWant to know what the traffic situation is on Highway 447 or the wait time at the Gate? Beginning Sunday, August 24, we will begin broadcasting hourly traffic reports on BMIR 94.5 at the top of the hour. We’re aggregating real-time traffic information from Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Department of Transportation and our eye in the sky (ok, an IP traffic-cam on Poito Peak) to give you up-to-the-minute details on the drive to the event.

BMIR will be streaming via iHeartRadio again this year. You can download the app and tune in on your mobile device before entering the communications dead zones north of Wadsworth and south of Cedarville for a no-snark traffic update. Long wait time? Consider sitting tight until the back up lessens.

Wait? You want more? We’ll also be providing real-time traffic updates via Twitter. Just follow @BManTraffic.

BMIR will also begin reporting Exodus wait times and highway traffic reports onSaturday, Sept. 1 through Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Communication dead zones is an interesting concept. When I went to Juplaya a couple of years ago there was full signal on the Playa, and none of the 6 people in our group noticed any dead zones on the journey from Reno. Not that we were really looking, but it was strange when the same phones and carriers no longer got signal on the Playa later in the year at Burning Man. Do They use that spectrum for different purposes during the event?

black_rock_gerlachThis year the Jackedrabbit recommends Burners get their gas before you get to Gerlach or Empire, to improve traffic for everyone.

The only good solution is for people to gas up in Reno, Fernley, Nixon, Wadsworth or Cedarville. So please, do that.

Love’s Travel Stop in Fernley are open 24 hours and have RV dumping. Not sure about propane though.

The local Paiute Indian tribe have invited us to pass through their Pyramid Lake reservation, and have asked all Burners to please be respectful:

Pyramid Lake Nevada picturesThe Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe would like to invite all Burning Man travelers to its native and sovereign lands. The Tribe would also like to advise all travelers to SLOW DOWN AND KEEP YOUR DISTANCE while traveling through the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation. All of the State Routes on the reservation are two lane roads and the Tribe would like motorists to turn on their headlights during the day and night, and be aware of the dangers associated with high speeds on two lane highways.

Due to the number vehicles traveling to and from the Burning Man Festival, motorists are advised to be extra cautious while traveling on any of the State Routes that run through the reservation. The entire Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation is an open range area for livestock; motorists are to be cautious of livestock that may be on the highways. While passing though the Tribal communities of Wadsworth and Nixon, the Tribe requests that motorists be cautious of children and courteous to Tribal Members that may attempt to cross the highway, or that are accessing their homes, businesses, or Tribal Services. For more important Burning Man travel information please visit this page.

 

Burning Man Fashion 2013: Manish Arora’s Indian Burn

by Whatsblem the Pro

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

A major five-day fashion show in India last week featured a much-ballyhooed grand finale: designer Manish Arora’s latest line, inspired by his visit to Burning Man.

From the Times of India:

Arora, whose new collection was a beautiful amalgamation of Indian and Western outfits with multicolored embroideries, explained the inspiration behind the theme of the show.

“Last year I went to a festival called Burning Man which happens in a desert of America. I got inspired by the place, I always wanted to go that place and I went on my 40th Birthday last year so the collection is based on that,” he said.

No doubt this will inspire mixed feelings in a lot of burner hearts. This is the world of high-dollar (OK, high-rupee) haute couture, blatantly capitalizing on the Burning Man trademark. On the other hand, maybe there shouldn’t be a Burning Man trademark. . . and perhaps this penetration of our culture into so exotic and faraway a milieu as Indian high fashion should encourage us and even flatter us a little.

No matter what you think about it, it’s impressive that Manish Arora’s burn-inspired line wasn’t just included in the show; it was the grand finale, and was apparently hyped half to death. Asian Age covered the event, and had this to say:

For those who were waiting for it to happen with bated breath, it did. Yes, the grand finale of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 2013 at Pragati Maidan happened without any glitch. And grand it was.

The show area reserved for designer Manish Arora’s show took almost a day to prepare. In fact it was cordoned off for the entire day and the junta wasn’t allowed to be seen near it.

The show finally started after the expected delay and the guests were greeted with a wide runway — black and glossy, open-air opera like setting and an international band waiting to blow our minds with their insane music.

Manish’s experiences at the Burning Man festival in Nevada resulted in the making of this astounding collection.

The show was divided into two segments.

The first one kicked off with geometric motifs and borders along with lustrous holographic stones, dull gold and beads were put together to create illusions of the Burning Man. Indigo, black, pink and green were used as the base to let metallic gold stand out.

Sequined, embroidered peplum and balloon dresses, fitted pants, sweatshirts and pencil skirts were noticed along with over-sized tops, coats, knitted dresses.

While the second part saw models wearing leather turbans with long, distressed hair peeping out, leather trench coats, jackets with Chinese collars, long and short dresses, shifts, shorts, overcoats and interesting knitwear. Neon embellishments shone bright on cuffs, collars and corset belts.

Breaking the tradition of a Bollywood celebrity closing the show for the finale designer, model Bhawna Sharma sashayed down the ramp in the showstopper outfit and bid adieu to the week.

This is what Manish Arora looks like:

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

. . .and this is what Manish Arora thinks we look like, as translated through the mirror of his subcontinental big-money fashion sense:

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Photo: Ramesh Sharma