This is the land that the Grateful Dead helped Rolling Thunder buy so he could build Meta Tantay, outside Carlin, Nevada. It was established as a community where he could help people learn about Native American ways. The mound with the stove pipe sticking out of it is a traditional Native American dwelling, called a Wikiup. The frame is made out of branches and then traditionally covered with matting or brush. In 1976, Rolling Thunder was fortunate enough to have been given thousands of yards of some amazing fabric that was used to make an art project called the “Running Fence” by the artist Cristo. This is what was used to cover the Wikiup’s at Meta Tantay. Off in the distance, you can see a traditional Native American Teepee. This was all part of Rolling Thunder’s plan to create a place where people could learn traditional ways and experience the dwellings of the ancestors. -Jerilyn
On Rolling Thunder’s Land
We were out looking at a ranch property and there were mushrooms all over. Billy said to the owner, “Too bad these things only grow in shit.” The owner of the land said, “Yes, but don’t you know that under every turd there’s a treasure?” This became the name of Billy and Mickey’s project of going up to Rolling Thunder’s land to explore the possibilities of percussion in the wilderness of Nevada. This work evolved eventually into the Rhythm Devils and The Beast. Of course there was no electricity on Rolling Thunder’s land to keep the tape machines running, etc., but Billy jack Productions soon had a generator up there. -Jerilyn
This sign was posted at Rolling Thunder’s house in Carlin, Nevada and at the entrance to Meta Tantay, his land outside of town.
Rolling Thunder’s wife Spotted Fawn as a lovely young woman, no wonder he was so captivated by her. She was a Clan Mother for her people, the Shoshone and an incredibly wise and wonderful person.
Donna Jean Godcheaux and Spotted Fawn taking a walk around Mickey Hart’s ranch on one of Spotted Fawns rare visits to California.
From the left, Billy Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Rolling Thunder and his son Spotted Eagle, standing by the Billy Jack Truck.
This big box movie production truck was given to Rolling Thunder by the movie company as part of his compensation for dancing in the snake bite scenes for the “Billy Jack” movie, where he was actually bitten. As a medicine man, he was able to enter the spirit world and not die, having doctored himself before the dance. While he was there he had a conversation with the snake and asked her why she gave him so much venom. The snake replied, “I have a song to teach you”. Rolling Thunder used the song he learned from the snake in his future healing ceremonies. The truck was a huge help in gathering building materials and supplies for Meta Tantay.
GRANDFATHER SEMU AND FRIENDS
I met Grandfather Semu Huaute (born wise like Owl), a Chumash Medicine Man, in the mid 1960s. He was working as a Road Man for the Native American Church. He liked that I was independent and attentive and didn’t interrupt my elders. We became fast friends and I warriored for him, travelled and sometimes drove him to and from many ceremonies and events over the many decades. He was a great teacher, great mentor, and great fun on the Good Red Road.
Grandfather Semu founded the intertribal Red Wind Medicine Camp that helped many young Indians to find their roots and their place firmly with honor and pride on this Good Mother Earth.
Many good people were willing to help promote Grandfather Semu’s work. One day I hung out with Jerry Garcia when he played a show at the Pismo Beach Theater and I invited him to my home, then drove him and a few of his band mates the 40 miles to the Red Wind Medicine camp to meet Grandfather Semu and check out his needs for the Medicine community. They needed building materials for a school to allow the dozen children to be taught at camp rather than be bussed to a local school 30 miles away. Jerry immediately agreed to help and asked me to contact his secretary, Sue Stevens, to set up a Garcia Band benefit show, which I put together and produced at Robertson Gym in Isla Vista, UC Santa Barbara. The funds helped save the day for the young ones at Redwind as well as for the entire community. When I told Jerry that I believed he was ethnically Native American at some percent, related to his last name Garcia, he said “No Bob, I’m a100% Spanish Gentleman!”
Garcia, his own band, and the Grateful Dead were all supportive monetarily and good friends spiritually to both the thriving Medicine Camps of that time in space: Grandfather Semu Huaute at Red Wind, and Rolling Thunder, Cherokee Medicine Man, at Meta Tantay in Carlin Nevada.
I’d come back home to San Luis Obispo, CA after traveling with Rolling Thunder on part of the Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Review Tour In November 1975; what an honor, what a gas. I met Ronny Blakely at Rolling Thunder’s sunrise ceremony held at a seaside dwelling of Bob Dylan’s chums in Providence, RI. (Zimmy lit the fire with one match!) Ronny was traveling with Hoyt Axton locally so I joined them and later invited them to my home in See Canyon to spend the night. They precariously parked the tour bus on my one lane road. The next day, after Hoyt’s favorite pancake breakfast, we piled into the bus and traveled out to Red Wind to meet Grandfather Semu Huate at Medicine Camp. Hoyt became a fast friend of Grandfather and a great supporter of Red Wind.
This photo is of myself, Bobby Saenz, warrior for peace, Apache Dine and Inca (my mothers A2 Athabaskan DNA); Apache Bob and Fierce Basque Gentleman (my fathers DNA); and my dear good friend Grandfather Semu Huaute, at the Pismo Beach Theater attending my production of Hoyt Axton Red Wind Benefit show in 1976.
Walk in beauty, travel in peace,
Photo Credits: All Photos – Jerilyn Lee Brandelius except Spotted Fawn and Bobby and Grandfather which are unknown