Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 26, 2009

Obscene Racist Event: Burning Man's 'Go Native'

From Mark Anquoe, AIM West
Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday I was informed about an obscene racist event that will be hosted by a Burning Man crew. On Saturday, March 28th, an organization calling itself "Visionary Village" will put on a dance party called "Go Native" where participants are being asked to come in "native costume". They advertise that the event will raise funds for "neurofeedback research" in Native American Church members. THIS IS A LIE. Real NAC members would never consent to being "studied" during our most sacred ceremonies! Furthermore, their "theme rooms", as scheduled, will make a mockery of Native cultures, including the Anasazi and "Pueblo" cultures (as if there was a single, generic "Pueblo" culture).

In addition, they proudly advertise that their dance party will be held "in a bordello complex" built on top of an ancient Ohlone site! Adding desecration to this insult is outrageous!

The event organizers have been contacted by *many* people in the community, and in addition to being completely insensitive to the Native people who have contacted them, they have also been unable to establish any connection between their "fundraising event" and *any* Native American Church group or individual.

The text from their advertising appears below. Read all of these details for yourself. Part of the flyer is also attached as an image.

The American Indian Movement WILL BE ORGANIZING AN ACTION AGAINST THIS EVENT. More details to follow.

For the moment, please write to the organizers and tell them how you feel about their event. Please write to the DJs and performers and tell them that real life Indians are insulted and furious about this event. Also, please forward this information on to any Burning Man people you know. Its important that these people know that their own community does not support this kind of racism! Tell all the Burning Man people you know to NOT ATTEND THIS EVENT! It is especially important that NAC members, Pueblo people, and Ohlone people make their voices heard on this issue.

Performers (partial list, more to come):


Pi said...

Proud member of the Lost Cherokee of Arkansas and Missouri here.

This is not a "Burning Man" event. This is a "Burner" event. "Burning Man" is the organization which puts on the annual festival. "Burners" are denizens of Black Rock City with theme camps. Often burners hold fundraisers for their theme camps (those things are expensive).

If a bunch of burners are holding an event claiming they are helping out Native causes when, in fact, they are not, I will be ALL OVER THIS. Bringing a bunch of white people to an event on sacred ground in faux-injun-gear is akin to holding an event in East Oakland in blackface. I'm now researching this and will find out what is going on.

Anonymous said...

I am simply appalled and will send this to all my AIM and other Native friends as well as those non-natives that are aware and can help spread the word.

LizM said...

Hi Folks,
I consider my self 'a burner' and have been participating for 10 years or so. I find this appalling and will put the word out through what networks I have to let folks know how offensive this is to many many people.

I will say, that the 'community' is huge with very little that ties them together besides what they call the 10 Principles...and those are interpreted very inconsistently.
Not a defense at all. Just a head's up.

I am not a representative of the organization. You might want to contact the organization directly as I imagine, the folks that have the power to speak to everyone - will likely be helpful is getting the event changed...

You can reach the organizers at

Take care,

Unknown said...

This is spreading quickly... thanks for the 411. I'm sending text messages out to people I know that wanted to attend.

Anonymous said...

Greetings! I believe its a matter of mis communication. In my eyes the visionary village could be trying to remember the people. Not in a negative way, in the only way they know how these days. These events are our way of connecting. however i do see your point about the financial and that should be cleared up... i will call my people..