National Council Does Not Condone Faux Native American Churches or Marijuana Use

Courtesy Native American Church of North America Native American Church of North America officers are, from left: Sheila White Eagle, Secretary; James Tso, Treasurer; Sandor Iron Rope, President (who signed this letter); Leo Dayish, Vice-President; and Sarah Fanman, Editor In Chief.

National Council Does Not Condone Faux Native American Churches or Marijuana Use

There is a growing trend in the United States, of organizations adopting the name “Native American Church” as a means of trying to obtain the protection of federal law, which was established by the government to recognize and protect the legitimate indigenous religions that have prospered on the North American continent since long before European settlers arrived.

In the case of the Peyote Religion, archaeological and ethnographic evidence demonstrates its presence in North America for more than 10,000 years. However, organizations and individuals claiming protection under the umbrella of these organizations want to capitalize on this ancient practice despite having no connection to it whatsoever.

Some of these illegitimate organizations, comprised of non-Native people, are now claiming that marijuana, ayahuasca and other substances are part of Native American Church theology and practice. Nothing could be further from the truth. We, the National Council of Native American Churches are now stepping forward to advise the public that we do not condone the activities of these illegitimate organizations.

The National Council of Native American Churches consists of legitimate, indigenous member organizations that include the Native American Church of North America, the Azzee’ Bee Nahaga of Diné Nation, the Native American Church of the State of Oklahoma, the Native American Church of the State of South Dakota, and invited Leaders of the Consejo Regional Wixarika of Mexico. We member organizations of the National Council speak for all of our chapters and the individual members of the chapters on this matter of national importance.

Federal laws protecting legitimate, indigenous Native American Churches have a long and purposeful history. Back in our history, there was a time when our spiritual beliefs were outlawed. People were jailed, put in insane asylums and killed for participating in the Sun Dance and other ceremonies. This, too, includes taking peyote as our sacrament. Federal laws enacted first in the late 1970s were intended to protect our right to practice our religion. We oppose the attempts of non-Natives to come in and misuse government protection of traditional Native American religion to conduct illegal activity that has nothing to do with our traditional ways.

We do not recognize, condone, or allow the use of marijuana, or any other substance other than peyote, in any of our religious services. To the contrary, the only plant that serves as a sacrament is peyote, and without peyote, our ceremonies cannot take place. We reject and condemn any claim by these illegitimate organizations that marijuana or any other plant serves or has ever served as a sacrament in addition to peyote in indigenous Native American Church ceremonies.

To the extent that the claims of any of these organizations rest on allegations or inferences of an affiliation with traditional Native American Church organizations or with any legitimate chapter of the Native American Church, such claims should be rejected. The mere use of the term Native American Church does not entitle any of these illicit organizations to any legal protection under federal law.

We know who we are, and we know where we come from. We know the atrocities visited upon us. We reject the attempts to grasp onto our indigenous ways and deceive the public by claiming them as their own for their own personal enjoyment or for profit.

Comments (7)
No. 1-6
Toltec aztec
Toltec aztec

Did the writer mention this church use of payote only is faux. I come from a long line of toltec and Aztec ancestry who USED CANNABIS for ceremonies and rituals since 400 AD. Even the DEA referenced Aztec cannabis in Nautl language known as Mallihuan in newspapers across the United States in 1930. Hey hey your facts straight before you speak for all native Americans and native American churches.

Toltec aztec
Toltec aztec

Nahuatl language

White heathen
White heathen

You imply I am not allowed to believe in a certain belief because I am Caucasian. It is acceptable to relate to blacks as”part NA but for Caucasian it is unacceptable. A religious belief is just that, it is not contingent on ancestry archaeology anthropology or permissions from a government. The words are freedom of religion not FOR as dictated by the government. Reverse prejudice abounds this is not the nineteenth century I did not hold slaves or massacre the red man but a lot of blacks and NA did. It is TIME to move on!

White heathen
White heathen

The same people are seeking approval and asylum from the same organization i.e. the United States federal government, that planned and executed the attempted genocide on those very same peoples. There’s not even a word for that

FriWalker
FriWalker

From the beginning, you speak of "the protection of federal law, which was established by the government {to recognize and protect the legitimate indigenous religions that have prospered on the North American continent since long before European settlers arrived}, which had nothing to do with the reason the first amendment was worded the way it was, declaring religions/churches free of government oversight, i.e., "Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free expression thereof." If you believe that it is your right to exercise the freedom the Creator has given you to follow the dictates of religion according to how you feel directed by the Spirit and that Natural Medicine is a part of your established freedom to practice your Religion, why would you even want to deny that to others?



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