From Michael Donnelly at Counterpunch: ‘Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80’, May 30 (h/t Mr. wd). I had no idea that Wavy was such a major counter-culture figure allied with AIM, nor did I know of his charitable work. Some long excerpts:
I first met Wavy thru early Rainbow Gatherings. I was on the planning team and Wavy was co-MC with Fantuzzi of the annual Peace Pole Pageant. The pageant has representatives from all the various groups giving a five-minute presentation that the entire crowd joins in on. The Hari Krishna’s get five (everyone sings along); the Love Family gets five; the folks who believe the spaceships are about to land get five (“Sure would blow my mind.” ~ Wavy)…and Wavy made it all work.
Later on in the 80s, Wavy would come to Breitenbush Hot Springs, our intentional community/retreat center, with Ram Dass for some ten-day retreats with 170 people. We were in the midst of trying to end the liquidation of the Ancient Forest surrounding the springs. Ram Dass set aside one day of each retreat for a silent hike in the forest. Even after Ram Dass’ stroke, he’d still have the hike when he came. He would have a group of Breitenbushers drive him to a car-accessible trail access point a mile out and when the long, silent line of hikers came around a corner, there would be Ram Dass sitting bundled up in his wheel chair in silence, a Goshawk feather that dropped in his lap woven into his hair.” [snip]
““Peace, Love and Granola” and Native Rights
Wavy has been there since the beginning of the Counterculture. He famously was MC at Woodstock (and the two follow-up Woodstocks). He is still a communard – an integral part of the Hog Farm Commune. A veteran, Wavy was, as mentioned, a fixture at Peace Gatherings.
(Personal note: In 1968 the Hog Farm came to Boulder, and they were for some wild reason allowed to set up in the Commons just across from my dorm, Libby Hall. I went over, and was quite interested in meeting the single traveling hog they’d brought with them. Somehow it managed to poke it’s snout through the pen, and promptly bit me in the left ankle it hurt like holy hell. How’s that for some weird karma? Of course I missed the rest of the Farm activities…)
“Wavy and the Hog Farmers were early supporters of the American Indian Movement (AIM). They colluded in the takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) HQ in DC back in November of 1972. While there, they discovered plans to “Terminate” the tribes – a land grab disguised as “Assimilation.” The Klamath Nation had already been Terminated (the test case) and others were in the line of fire. The discovery led to massive publicity and the end of the Termination scheme. The Klamath Nation was “Restored.”
”Wavy and his AIM buddy John Trudell then joined in on a number of environmental causes. They again shared a cell with their pal and John’s roommate Jackson Browne and 1900 others at the huge 1981 protest against the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
Flower Geezer extraordinaire: “In 20 years, I’ll be 100!”
John Trudell used to talk about how “White people seem to have few Elders. They have a lot of Oldsters, instead.” But, John saw Wavy as an Elder; as do many Natives and other peace-loving, planetary citizens
On May 22nd, about three thousand gathered to celebrate all things Wavy for his 80th Birthday. Wavy, as always, had set it up as a benefit for the SEVA Foundation, a fabulous group he, Ram Dass, Dr. Larry Brilliant, Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy and others co-founded. SEVA has carried out over 3.5 million operations curing blindness around the planet, primarily in Nepal. Wavy also got SEVA to initiate forest planting/stewardship projects on five continents, including one on Lakota land here in the Midwest.
So, colorful folks gathered near Santa Rosa, CA for the festivities….”
Wavy acted as emcee for the lineup of musicians, and links to some of the videos recorded at the party. The sound quality is always iffy, no mixing to speak of, but it’s kinda fun watching some of the old Bluegrass Geezers, as well as a couple young ‘uns. If Quiltman and T’s honor song is up, I couldn’t find it.
“First up: Quiltman and T traveled from the Warm Springs Nation in Eastern Oregon to do an honor song for Wavy on the occasion. Typical of Wavy, he asked instead for an Honor/Remembrance song for “my good friend, the great John Trudell; who is now roaming the cosmos, representing Indigenous people everywhere.” [snip]
“I had a wonderful time. It was a diverse crowd – in age and ethnicity. I had many great random conversations with people, many I had never met until then. Often, we talked about the bad rap the Counterculture got from mainstream media right from the beginning. We all reject the media notion that Charles Manson-like creeps represented us, instead of a saint like Wavy.
We’re gonna reclaim our “Peace, Love and Granola” history. This gathering was an important part of it. SEVA, AIM, communes, Eco-Defense, Woodstock, Rainbow…all are components. Wavy Gravy has been an integral part of all.”
Steve Earle did a solo set at the party, as were many assorted rainbow clowns from Wavy’s ‘beloved Camp WinnaRainbow’ (ish, clowns give me the shivers). Tie dye everywhere! Buy a shirt, make yer own! Boogie! ;-) Donnelly reckons that Earle’s Jerusalem may be one of the most hopeful-for-Peace songs ever written.
Don’t ya love the Subterranean-esque kid flippin’ lyrics cards?
But as Wavy did, I’d like to honor John Trudell, his life-long activism in AIM, as an eco-warrior, and for so spectacularly turning poison into medicine after the FBI burned down his house in Nevada. His wife, Tina, three children, and mother-in-law were killed in the fire twelve hours after he’d burned an Amerikan flag (some versions dispute that) on the steps of the FBI building in DeeCee in 1979 following the march he led for justice for Native Americans.
On any given day I might choose a different favorite of his, but this would always be toward the top of the list. It grabs your guts, shakes your heart, and chokes your throat.
Bless you, John Trudell, and a million thank yous for all you did for us.