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Kitra_rainbow01

5 August 2010

Author : jeanne-salome-rochat

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST, NEW MEXICO – JULY 4:
Sal, a key member of the vaudeville-inspired music collective, The Twelve Shades of Schwilly Silly, belts out, ÒWeÕre gonna be reincarnated as birdsÓ, on July 4, 2009, at the National Rainbow Gathering in the Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico, as young travelling nomads congregate to share guitar riffs and rats at the ÒDirty Kids CornerÓ.

In the center is Grace, a philosophy-inspired 19 year old, whose rejection of hard drugs has cost her her relationship with her parents, extended family and friends, all of whom are either addicted to or use heroine and other drugs and as such can no longer relate to her or her predominantly drug-free lifestyle. Ã’Everyone I know does heroine. I got hooked when I was 13Ó she says, Ã’but gave it all up after reading Rilke and after this girl I knew overdosed. We were just getting to know each other, and then she died. IÕve watched people die. Again and again. If there’s one thing I hate itÕs heroine. I hate it viscerally.”

Every summer hundreds of vagabond teenagers and nomadic youth make their way to the National Rainbow Gathering, an annual festival which takes place during the weeks surrounding the 4th of July weekend in a different national park in America. In 2009 the Rainbow Gathering was held in New Mexico. Most of the youth known at the gathering as “The Dirty Kids”, travel around the country, individually or in groups during the remainder of the year. They have been described as ‘wonderers’, individuals traveling via train-hopping or mobile home, living in utopian communities, gathering at outdoor festivals, dwelling in communal housing projects and forming fellowships over brief and extended periods of time.

(Photo by Kitra Cahana/ Reportage by Getty Images)



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