Burning Man Ravers Get a Talking To

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Neo-pagans might want to come up with new gods instead of aping the old ones.

    A party for a group of Burning Man festival devotees in Oakland billed as a "fundraiser for the Native American Church touched off tensions among Native Americans.

    The "Go Native" party was scheduled for Saturday night at the Bordello, and a discount was initially offered to attendees who arrived "in Native costume."

    Instead, it become a lesson in cultural sensitivity as actual natives lectured the partygoers for hours, leaving some in tears.

    The annual Burning Man festival, which draws tens of thousands of artists, revelers and new age spiritualists, is held in Nevada's Black Rock desert near land reserved by the government for the Paiute tribe.

    Organizers of the Visionary Village camp had sponsored the party, but after Native Americans discovered the party listing on Tribe.net, a war of words began.

    Eventually, organizers met with local tribal leaders and promised to cancel the party.

    Still, a few revellers showed up, only to be confronted by angry detractors.

    "If you want to be spiritual — go be a Druid or something," a Hopi woman vented at a hipster who asked for native help on Burning Man projects.

    Jackson West figures that the real story here is to conflate mescaline use with cultural or spiritual understanding.