Peyote Ceremony | Ancient Whiteagle Wisdom

The most notable court case involving peyote use was Employment Division v. Smith (494 U.S. 872), which was decided by the U.S Supreme Court in 1990. Two Native American Church members were fired from their jobs as drug rehabilitation counselors for their use of peyote. They filed claims for unemployment compensation, but were turned down because they had been dismissed for “misconduct.” Dozens of religious organizations supported their claim that their free exercise of religion should allow their religious use of peyote, despite the fact that for their jobs they were required to remain drug-free. The case was finally decided against the peyotists; the Supreme Court held that they had no right to free exercise of religion that transcended otherwise valid laws. The Congress responded by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993, which sought to extend free-exercise rights, but that was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1997 on grounds similar to those originally cited in the Smith case.

Posts about Peyote Ceremony written by Michael J. Melville

Aberle, F. David. 1966. The Peyote Religion among the Navajo. Chicago, IL: Aldine.

Peyote, Wine and the First Amendment – Religion Online

Various conservative religious groups raise concerns overdiminishing the special place religion has historically played inconstitutional law by treating religious freedom the same as every other kindof speech or discrimination claim.


Thistreatment allows religious schools to participate in a generally availablevoucher program, allows states to provide computers to both religious andpublic schools, and allows states to provide reading teachers to low-performingstudents, even if they attend a religious school.

Rambles: Omer C. Stewart, Peyote Religion: A History

This constitutional framework reflects thedeep concern that the founders of The American nation had about therelationship between church and state, and about the right of individuals topractice their religion freely.

Many who stray away from the peyote religion return to ..

Although the pattern of the dispersion of peyote religion was complex and remains not fully documented, several individuals and tribes are generally acknowledged as crucial to the process. Especially important was Quanah Parker, a Comanche chief who is said to have first taken peyote in Mexico in the 1880s as medicine for a difficult illness, or perhaps a serious injury. Quanah (as he is usually referred to), whose mother was white and who was a leading advocate of white-Indian cooperation, became a leading advocate of peyote and was instrumental in turning back laws that would have forbidden its use. By the time of his death in 1911, peyote was being used by several tribes in Oklahoma. Second only to Quanah in influence was John Wilson, a Caddo Indian by affiliation (actually of mixed Caddo, Delaware, and French blood). In 1880 Wilson became a peyote roadman, as the ceremonial leader is known, and began to attract a substantial following. His version of the Peyote ceremony had more explicitly Christian elements than Quanah’s, reflecting, probably, Wilson’s own Catholicism. However, both versions reflect a thorough mixing of traditional Indian and Christian themes.

The Native American Church: Recollections of the Peyote Road ..

Therefore, situations involvingsuch things as graduation prayers, religious signs on government property,religion in the curriculum, etc., will usually be examined in light of thistest.

Apr 16, 1997 · Military Will Allow Religious Peyote ..

The central and distinctive practice of the Native American Church is the ceremonial and sacramental use of peyote, a psychoactive or entheogenic cactus (lophophora williamsii), and that practice among the Huichol and other tribes goes back thousands of years in Mexico. Peyote use was first documented among the Aztecs some 400 years ago, and reports of it were made by many early Christian missionaries in Mexico. Its history in the United States beyond its native range (restricted to the Rio Grande valley), however, is much more recent.

nature-peyote - Texas Beyond History

American Peyote religion as an organized, relatively formal phenomenon can be traced to western Oklahoma circa 1880. By then such Southern Plains tribes as the Comanche and Kiowa had been placed on reservations, where once free Indians had to live under burdensome restrictions in conditions of poverty. Under such conditions new religious movements that addressed the terrible decline in fortune Indians had suffered and that promised relief from oppression spread quickly throughout Indian America. One such movement was the Ghost Dance, which had its most prominent phase in 1890 but largely collapsed with the Wounded Knee Massacre at the end of that year. Peyote religion, on the other hand, spread rapidly far beyond the area to which the plant is indigenous, eventually finding adherents in hundreds of tribes.