Tribal Map (Eastern U.S.)

Tribal Map (Eastern U.S.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

American Indian Church Sues Federal Government Over Peyote Use

From The Utah Valley Daily Herald and Alliance Defense Fund:

American Indian church sues feds over peyote use

American Indian church sues feds over peyote use
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An American Indian church is suing state and federal police and prosecutors over the right of its members to use peyote in religious ceremonies, even if they aren't of Indian ancestry.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Utah's U.S. District Court on behalf of the Oklevueha Native American Church. It contends that federal laws that protect peyote use by American Indians should apply to anyone who belongs to the church.
The lawsuit seeks to block state and federal law enforcement from arresting or bringing criminal charges against church members who "fear reprisal from both state and federal governments for openly practicing their religion," court papers state.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and the Utah attorney general's office. Messages left with the federal agencies were not immediately returned on Thursday.
Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Utah attorney general said the office could not comment until after it had seen the lawsuit.
A plant with hallucinogenic properties, peyote is considered a sacred medicine by Indians. Court papers say it has been used by indigenous populations for thousands of years. Although considered a controlled substance, federal law allows for the use of peyote by Indians for religious reasons.
The Oklevueha church is a federally recognized American Indian church with roots in the Native American Church founded in 1918. Court documents say the faith has practicing members on many reservations and across 29 states, Canada, Mexico and Peru.
The lawsuit was filed in Utah because since 1999, church members here say they have been harassed, arrested and prosecuted for using peyote, court papers say.
Those cases include the 2000 prosecution of medicine man James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney on multiple felony charges, including drug possession and distribution for giving peyote to church members and others during religious ceremonies.
Mooney's conviction was thrown out by the Utah Supreme Court on appeal. The ruling from justices said an exemption in federal law that allows for peyote use should include all church members regardless of the aribitrary "blood quantum" standard _ the primary basis for determining who is a protected American Indian religious practitioner, the lawsuit states.
"It is time that such a basis be abolished in favor of extending full religious freedom and protection to the NAC as a broader based, American religious choice," attorneys for the Oklevueha wrote in court papers.
Lawyers argue in court papers that interest in American Indian religious practices has spread far beyond the boundaries of those with tribal ancestry. They also contend that proving the "blood quantum" standard is also increasingly difficult as "American Indians continue integrating with the broader American population."
Denying the exemption prohibits church members from practicing their religion, court papers say.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

An Indian Fighter Seeks His Destiny

From Vision To America:

An Indian Fighter Seeks His Destiny

By Gary DeMar
Published: September 3, 2010

In today’s publicity-seeking world, George Armstrong Custer would have felt right at home. Much of his reputation was formed by the media. Correspondents, who joined Custer on his military campaigns, helped establish his reputation with their positive reporting. With long blonde curls sprinkled with cinnamon oil, flamboyant dress, and large ego, Custer understood good public relations. His bravery, daring, and leadership skills helped the West Point graduate rise in the ranks during the Civil War. Appointed to the Seventh Calvary, Custer became the most famous Indian fighter in American history. But his boldness and daring would lead to the foolish attack at the Little Big Horn, where 2,000 Indians swept down upon Custer and his men. His final stand would bring him the glory that had eluded him throughout his short life

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

New York Residents Oppose Taxes On Native American Tobacco Products

From Personal Liberty Digest:

New York Residents Oppose Taxes On Native American Tobacco Products

September 2, 2010 by Personal Liberty News Desk

The Seneca Nation of Indians has filed a suit asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to block the state from taxing tobacco sales on the Nation’s lands.

In its quest, the community is supported by most New Yorkers, as a new Zogby International poll found that more than 68 percent believe State and Federal governments should honor Indian treaties that bar state taxation of their businesses.

"Once again the people of New York State have voiced their support of our rights as a sovereign nation," said Seneca Nation of Indians president Barry E. Snyder, Sr.

This is not the only outcry against New York state plans to ramp up taxes. For example, bagel sellers also expressed criticism over plans to enforce a sales tax for sliced or prepared bagels, according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

"Instead of thinking what can be done to encourage small business owners, they are wasting their time and taxpayer money, harassing job creators to fund the state budget," said Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at The Cato Institute, quoted by CNN.