7.3.10

Perfect Consideration: Part Three (Future)



Native Sustainability Through Entheogenic Resistance


Introduction:

Unlike citizens of the United States government who enjoy the rights to Freedom their ancestors provided for them centuries ago, Native inhabitants of Turtle Island are consistently denied these same basic luxuries due to the policies of that government. Though these two social systems simultaneously occupy the exact same land area, they are diametrically opposed to one another so that the resulting confrontation resembles nothing less than the eradication of an entire cultural heritage, where “a nation presumably conceived in liberty systematically destroyed the rights, civil and otherwise, of a whole population…making the ‘freedom’ of those who survived a mockery of the word.” (Tebbel pg. 9, 1966)

America, founded on the Enlightenment ideals that challenged Absolute Monarchical power and Church rule, has come full circle in its evolution: its legislative process acts as the primary vehicle of systematic oppression and persecution now used by those who convey the oligarchic tendencies, false visions and corrupt maps and models that presently govern today’s social thought. And whereas the United States has continually propagated a doctrine of Civil Religion since its inception, the Church has been similarly adamant about stamping out all Native spiritualism that purports to worship nature; its views most clearly articulated in the Vatican’s response to a popular film touching upon such themes—

“In a recent World Day of Peace message, the pontiff warned against any notions that equate human person and other living things. He said such notions ‘open the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone.’” (Rizzo 2010)

Yet the Pantheistic ideology Native cultures subscribe to is perhaps most in keeping with recent social movements advocating sustainable practices than any other religion to date. Paul Harrison, founder and President of the World Pantheist Movement writes, “The realization of unity, the achievement of union, is the basis for pantheistic meditation and mysticism…the only requirement is that we take care of it for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren, and for the sake of all the other species for which earth is also home.” (Harrison 1999, pg. 60, 67) In stark contrast to the materialistic mindset that views nature as merely a resource to be appropriated and consumed, Native American models of health emphasize the restoration of balance with the environment through revitalized relationships, since “reciprocity with Being underlies indigenous cures.” (Gray 2004) It should then become apparent why those with vested interests in the “rape of Mother Earth” feel obligated to repress with considerable force this fundamental belief which guides Native opposition to the destruction of the land.

In the face of extreme antinomy, Natives have survived policies of Extermination, Displacement, and Cultural Genocide while retaining their own core beliefs. This paper will attempt to establish Four (4) points of major concern: 1) that Natives have indeed adapted to their forced assimilation while retaining their culture in spite of overwhelming odds; 2) in doing so, their Worldview has informed and influenced the emerging “green” and “sustainable” revolutions, infusing their environment with lasting personal value that provides safe, tolerant and protective spaces to flourish within; 3) by concentrating on key issues of importance to Natives while empowering communities to overcome victimization, a global society can alleviate an array of social obstacles including assumed extinction through interdependent action; and 4) that in reasserting self-control by defining what is Sacred to us each on a personal level, we might reevaluate our own relationship with the world around us to construct new moral guidelines for existing in a world of increasing complexity. With this said, I must stress that these points in no way represent the situation of every Indian; instead they provide a depiction on the state of “Indianness,” as it is conceived of by law. That it is only a representation should not be disparaging as this is in itself of enormous consequence; so it shall be the task of this writing to explain how this positive affair in Indian relations might potentially catalyze the recovery of an entire population.

The structure of this essay will provide the reader with a comprehensive interpretation of the overarching Problem and Solution, while providing a detailed description of change through the examination of a hypothetical mechanism for Implementation. Finally, we will touch upon the Implications of such a reconciliatory process as espoused in the following pages so that a more perfect consideration of how to live and act will definitively expose the current social climate to be a gross perversion of spiritual malfeasance.

Problem:

It is not hard to understand why Natives are more likely to die before any other ethnicity on Turtle Island, or why infant mortality rates have skyrocketed in recent years. (Peterson 2009) Being that there is an inherent reciprocity between the earth and its inhabitants, the general dispossession of an entire continent should likely have devastating effects. Wars of attrition have wiped out food and energy sources (Buffalo, Salmon, Corn), while land and rivers are poisoned by toxic runoff left by irresponsible corporations. While these policies of destruction may have begun hundreds of years ago, their consequences have tremendous impact upon the people of today.

“The victims of the crime continue to struggle with laws not of their own making, economics derived from the theft of land and life, and the scars that remain with the victims of horrendous crimes…these issues remain, glaring and connecting each generation to the past in a way that makes it difficult to heal. (LaDuke pg. 92, 2005)

To truly contextualize the effects that link us to the violence and racism of yesteryear, this connection to the past must be confronted so as to better understand the current untenable circumstance we are in at present…

Indians supposedly lost the title to their lands when European colonizers arrived, ordered by Papal Bull termed “Doctrine of Discovery,” which divided all lands in the Western Hemisphere between Spain and Portugal so that “all lands in the Americas belonged to the European nations that discovered, claimed, or conquered them.” (Nies pg. 79, 1996) After the French-Indian War (when France ceded territory to Britain) and the American Revolution (when Britain ceded territory to the colonies), the United States assumed control over territories belonging to Indians by “Right of Conquest.” (Calloway 2007) After committing itself to more than 400 treaties with indigenous tribes, the American Congress declared an appropriations bill in 1871 stating that treaties would no longer be signed with Indian nations or tribes and that all agreements should be made thereafter by Executive Order or Congressional Act.
This shift in power realities manifested as the “Plenary Power Doctrine,” which enabled the United States to eliminate all rights and abrogate all previous treaties, diminishing any reservation land promised to Indian tribes. Traditional lands and resources were taken without due process or compensation; tribal governments were terminated at the whim of the Federal government; and religious and cultural traditions went virtually unprotected. The Supreme Court upheld Congress’ use of Plenary Power in United States v. Kagama (1886) and a year later the Dawes Act (1887) was passed, with later laws attempting to destroy the Native American culture and force the tribes to assimilate into one “superior” culture.

The United States does not recognize Native property rights to lands not specifically defined in treaties either, regarding aboriginal title as a possessory interest rather than one of ownership. Thus the government can take any land or resource for any reason disregarding law or any compensation, as evidenced in the case of Tee-Hit-Ton v. United States (1955); and even when the land has been Congressionally reserved to Natives, as in Karuk Tribe of California, et al. v. United States (2000) because title is not formally recognized by treaty. The Indian “Trust” agreement should be equally unsettling to proponents of Sovereignty as the Federal government assumes unlimited control in managing all lands and affairs of Native communities, a policy motivated by the underlying assumption that Indians are either incompetent in disposing of their natural wealth or pose some threat and therefore should not do so without governmental consent.

Despite assertions from the American government that it supports and respects tribal self-determination, lands and resources are continually taken freely from tribes. The little land that is left to them is fully controlled by the United States, often mismanaged or improperly accounted for by corrupt or inept authorities that provide Indians with little to no compensation. The result is nothing less than a systematized enslavement where Indians are relegated to positions of tenancy in an involuntary, permanent trusteeship. Natives, lagging tremendously in economic and social well being, cannot even look towards their Tribal Governments, relics of the Indian Reorganization Act (1934), for help because U.S. power relations often inhibit them from pursuing economic development. (ILRC 2006)

All in all, one can come to the fairly certain conclusion that the unilateral denial of Rights to Indian tribes has deprived them of any efficient social apparatus that might advance interest in self-sufficiency. As John Mohawk explains,

“The Native peoples of this land are under attack. That fact cannot be ignored, and it cannot be resolved in the courts, because the courts are one of the instruments of the attack.” (Mohawk pg. 180, 1982)

Tribal Governments are thus pressured into accepting corporate contracts developed in collusion with the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs, many of which do little to better the circumstances of those affected by them, yet do much to further communal detriment, destroying the earth, air and water for generations thereafter and turning areas considered Sacred into “National Sacrifice Areas.” (Churchill pg. 239-270, 2005)
Even those places held most cherished and vital to Native spiritual and cultural heritage can be taken under pretense of “Eminent Domain,” the inherent power of the State to seize property with due monetary compensation, though without owner consent. This outright theft of the traditional means to practice one’s culture, added to the historical injustice and outright pathological hostility of Federal policy, has the effect of obliterating tribal identity while reducing many Indians to victims in a perpetual state of social trauma:

“Every society needs these kinds of sacred places because they help to instill a sense of social cohesion in the people and remind them of the passage of generations that have brought them to the present. A society that cannot remember and honor its past is in peril of losing its soul. (Deloria pg. 272, 1994)

At the same time, the Church not only has done practically nothing to prevent this abuse even decades after kidnapping Indian children to retrofit with Christian ideals in Missionary schools, but in fact is actively engaged in dismantling any claim Natives have to hold ceremonies at Sacred places. (Bird and Erdoes pg. 256, 1990) For instance, the Vatican has supported the University of Arizona in its lobbying to secure the first peacetime exemption from all U.S. protection laws so it might build a proposed International Observatory on Mt. Graham, a site central to Native generation myths and home to a diversity of wild life including endangered species. Responding to indigenous indignation, the director of the Vatican Observatory declared,

“It is precisely the failure to make the distinctions [between insignificant nature and spiritual human beings] that has created a kind of environmentalism and a religiosity to which I cannot subscribe and which must be suppressed with all the force we can muster.” (LaDuke pg. 31, 2005)

The spiritual devastation and cultural destruction perpetrated against Indians provides a telling representation of how power relations are conceptualized—mainly that American “prosperity” justified by Church doctrine has propelled the belief in Manifest Destiny to a stature of supreme Authority.

In asserting its control over the physical and metaphysical characteristics of Native culture (i.e. land, resources, spirituality), the Church and State have completely eliminated and undermined all potential for self-determination so that Indians are potentially, if not literally, deprived of every basic possession of substantive value. Furthermore, whatever minute portion retained is under constant threat from those who seek to appropriate tidbits of cultural tradition to reproduce out of context as “Whiteshamans,” further manipulating and infringing upon the reality of Native life for profit and reflecting the degree to which capitalism pervades the “marketplace of ideas.” (Aldred, 338-340)

“In our society as a whole we conceive of the land in terms of ownership and use. It is a lifeless medium of exchange…and our laws confirm us in this view, for we can buy and sell the land, we can exclude each other from it, and in the context of ownership we can use it as we will. Ownership implies use, and use implies consumption.” (Momaday pg. 28, 1999)

Spirituality is integral to society, providing collective cohesion and solidarity for a particular people; it is the fundamental understanding of the world that grounds all other social practice. Native philosophies in particular do not have separate words for “Religion” or “Nature,” but rather see these concepts as interrelating attitudes and beliefs harmonizing with the natural world and unseen reality. Thus, when human activity destroys environments and ecosystems, it can be assumed that the current zeitgeist in power is unappreciative of Native values; so that in each instance this separation between self and nature is evident we are merely observing a symptom of the greater problem rather than its source:

“Rephrased, this means it would be a fundamental violation of traditional native law to supplant or eradicate another species, whether animal or plant, in order to make way for some greater number of humans or to increase the level of material comfort available to those who already exist. Conversely, it is a fundamental requirement of traditional law that each human accept his or her primary responsibility of maintaining the balance and harmony of the natural order as it is encountered.” (Churchill pg. 391, 2002)

Because today’s policy—the root of social practice from which all action is derived—regarding how we treat the world around us has been found to be unsustainable (meaning the global civilization does not have the current capacity to evolve intelligently and appropriately in the world it presently destroys), a new logic is needed to repair systematic flaws through a communal learning response system so as to avoid collapse. In this way, one can recognize that it will be up to individuals to remake the world, as they would like it to become:

“For what people make of their places is closely connected to what they make of themselves as members of society and inhabitants of the earth, and while the two activities may be separable in principle, they are deeply joined in practice. If place-making is a way of constructing the place, a venerable means of doing human history, it is also a way of constructing social traditions and, in the process, personal and social identities. We are, in a sense, the place-worlds we imagine.” (Basso)

Solution:

In 1918, the Native American Church (NAC) was incorporated as the only organization recognized by the Federal government that articulated the indigenous culture of North and South American Natives, a privilege not even extended to Tribal Governments. Based on the worldview that all is one, it has officially been determined a religion, a structured worldview universally defined as “a system of belief and practice relative to sacred things that unite its devotees into a single moral community called a church.” (Lobo, Talbot pg. 286, 2001) Nature is worshipped as Sacred, so that every fractal piece of nature is Sacred as well, including every human being and plant that causes physiological and psychological effects. Recent studies have reported that these Entheogens (literally, “generating the divine within,”) induce spiritual experiences of mystical unity correlated with ecological mindedness. (Jagel 2007)

One of these Entheogens, peyote, the core Sacrament used in NAC ceremonies, brings about experiences of spiritual connection, enhanced self-esteem, emotional release, a sense of community support for recovery, insight and heightened awareness of a deeper spiritual reality, enhanced environmental sensitivity, sudden cures of diseases or physical ailments and the ability to overcome drug and alcohol addiction due to feelings of connection to Divinity. (Dombrowe 2005) These experiences reveal the Sacred dimensions of reality which act as the source for this religious movement, impressing upon ceremonial participants a state of mind observant of spiritual Oneness in which they can be trained to respect themselves and the world around them:

“Unlike an average Westerner, people in native cultures have regularly experienced holotropic states in their ritual and spiritual life. Their world view includes their insights from these experiences, which unambiguously reveal the existence of the spiritual dimension in the human psyche and in the universal scheme of things.” (Grof pg. 37, 2001)

These Sacraments/objects of worship provide people with cognitive and spiritual tools that aid them in their ability to see through a materially oriented culture using a more existential and cosmologically informed lens that stimulates experiences of the sublime. (Tupper 2002) A feeling of mutual connection and subsequent sense of responsibility to protect and nurture the environment can then be actualized through a system of human development organized towards the revitalization of the world the individual has become a concerned constituent of.
The psychotherapeutic change in consciousness requires a comprehensive model to enact foundations critical for systematic success, one that recreates the depreciated “outside” world into one more attuned to the idealized state “within” so as to more completely exemplify a harmonious state of being that accommodates the complexity of life. The science of Sustainability does just that, remaking a world founded on “otherness” into one that corresponds to nature’s most basic structural arrangements:

“Since all flow systems obey similar laws and exhibit similar patterns, we can use existing measures from natural ecosystems as well as a variety of new techniques from network analysis, nonlinear dynamics, and complexity theory to assess the health and development of any complex web with a surprising degree of precision.” (Goerner, Dyck, Lagerroos pg. 190, 2008)

Contemplative action thus inspires a resurgence of personal relevance concerning one’s place in the world. While an entire cultural understanding might seem destroyed, appalling or flat-out evil, the individual, from whom all else has been thoroughly ripped away, can retreat to the last Sacred state offering sanctuary, namely his or her own mind. This asset then remains as the final characteristic of an otherwise erased identity, acting as a vantage point to distinguish “self” from what is alien to it. In so doing, the impacted individual can reaffirm the obligation to worship a Divine nature by maintaining the place of mind as Sacred, equating freedom of expression with Unitive Consciousness while reconstituting the “horror perceived” as merely a challenge to be overcome:

“Practices incorporating the sacramental use of Entheogens have provided similar deeply engaged understandings of our connection with all of creation. Once we have such an experience, how can we not seek the liberation of all beings…this is the dangerous memory that challenges us and our culture into new ways of being.” (Cairns pg. 169, 2001)

So then, a vanguard with which to oppose a destructive force is retained by means of more socially and ecologically conscious logic, communicated to others through ceremonial practice so as to reaffirm the Sacred identity of nature and potentially undermine all antagonizing power.

Implementation:

Native Americans still exist despite systematic policies of both physical and cultural genocide. These peoples, searching for a way out of their despair after the failure of the Ghost Dance at the Wounded Knee Massacre, found in peyote use a method to accommodate the world of American oppression while instituting their own cultural emancipation: “For many, peyotism allowed the preservation of Native American culture, so followers were able to retain some sense of moral and religious cohesiveness.” (Long pg. 11, 2000) The movement developed into distinct ceremonies that integrated Christian elements, regarding the hallucinatory “button” as the deity who brings Natives into communion with the Great Spirit.

Federal efforts to restrict peyote use were mostly thwarted in courts so that by 1918, in response to Congress holding sessions to determine whether the practice was dangerous or not, peyotists introduced evidence supporting its religious significance. The NAC was finally recognized as a legitimate entity amidst overwhelming resistance (primarily from religious organizations) and developments in the legal system began to offer more precise conceptions of the legitimacy and power afforded to it.

Laws prohibiting the transportation and shipment of peyote soon came into effect through State legislatures, though because jurisdiction did not extend to the reservations in Indian Territory, most were rendered impotent. This understanding was affirmed in Native American Church v. Navajo Tribal Council (1959), where

“Law…is binding upon Indian nations only where it expressly binds them…no provision in the Constitution makes the First Amendment applicable to Indian nations nor is there any law of Congress doing so. It follows that neither, under the Constitution or the laws of Congress, do the Federal courts have jurisdiction of tribal laws or regulations, even though they may have an impact to some extent on forms of religious worship.” (Deloria pg. 77, 1971)

Though the NAC’s case was dismissed, it was done so “for its characterization of the status of an Indian tribe—higher than a state!” (Deloria pg. 75, 1971) Though the Navajo Tribal Council was able to pass a law specifically targeting and suppressing the NAC with the intention of limiting its activities on the reservation, because Tribal Governments predated the Constitution they were exempt from all instances of law in which they had not been specifically referred to. The right to worship was redressed in the Indian Civil Rights Act in 1968.

In 1964, People v. Woody found that the State could persecute an Indian if it could demonstrate compelling interest outweighing the defendant’s interest in religious freedom, which it could not. The case demonstrated that off-reservation American Indians were protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment but that unobstructed freedom was still under threat, leading to passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) in 1978, which granted access to sites; use and possession of sacred objects; and the right to worship through ceremonial rites. AIRFA lost most of its power when the courts realized that enforcing the Act would border on the establishment of religion and ruled that since the United States was founded on religious Freedom, prohibiting Americans from breaking tribal customs and desecrating Indian Sacred places, even in their ignorance, would be considered Unconstitutional based on its secular principles. This argument eventually led to the question of whether non-Indians, often adopted into tribal customs, could participate in Native ceremonies since the misnomer “Indian” had always referred to a political entity rather than a racial one:

“The question is whether they have been admitted to practice to the degree that their practice of a ceremony, absent Indians participating in and directing the ceremony, is protected by law. Can non-Indians, even with the most sincere motives and devotional attitudes, be protected by the American Indian Religious Freedom Resolution if they are discovered with a bag of peyote?” (Deloria, Lytle pg. 238, 1983)

After Employment Division, Oregon Department of Human Resources v. Smith (1990) established that States had the power to accommodate otherwise illegal acts done for religious reasons though they were not required to, Oregon’s state legislature provided religious exemption to State drug laws.

In 1991, United States vs. Robert Boyll held that permitting Indian nondrug use of peyote in “bona fide” religious ceremonies while prohibiting non-Indians would violate the Free Exercise and Equal Protection clause, much in the way that AIRFA had been considered: just as the establishment of religion at the expense of race was determined to be Unconstitutional (benefitting American citizens), so too was the persecution of a race that participated in religion (again, benefitting American citizens). The ruling statement elaborated,

“There is a genius to our Constitution. Its genius is that it speaks to the freedoms of the individual…this matter concerns a freedom that was a natural idea whose genesis was in the Plymouth Charter, and finds its present form in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution—the freedom of religion.” (Burciara 1991)

President Clinton amended AIRFA to exempt peyote from Federal drug laws and signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law in 1993, though the Supreme Court ruled two years later the Act violated the principle of Federalism and rescinded States’ rights to regulate their own drug laws. (Long 2000) US Attorney General vs. Centro Espiritual Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal (2005) and Church of the Holy Light of the Queen v. Mukasey (2009) have since then ruled in favor of the Brazilian-based Santo Daime Church members who may freely import, distribute and possess hallucinogenic tea called Ayahuasca, an Entheogenic brew containing the psychoactive dimethyltryptamine (DMT); and the president of the Navajo Nation signed the Peyote Bill into law (2005), making it legal for members to possess and transport peyote for ceremonial purposes.

After thousands of years of ceremonial practice, hundreds of which were documented by Spanish Conquistadors and missionaries who invaded in the 1500s, it took a little less than 100 years for the American court system to determine the place of the Native American Church’s use of peyote in its legal framework, though just like when it was first conceived, the NAC still allows anyone to worship in ceremonies regardless of race. Since its inception, the Church had challenged the Tribal Court system to establish itself as a legitimate religion; the State found no compelling evidence to prohibit the bona fide use of peyote, exempting the Sacrament from State drug laws; and the Federal government expressly stated that the religious use of peyote should similarly remain exempt from Federal drug policies through AIRFA and RFRA, while extending the law to other Entheogenic substances and permitting their use, distribution and importation. In this respect, it has clearly and consistently been affirmed that the Native American Church is indeed a legitimate religion with all of the Tribal, State, and Federal protections afforded to it in its right to pursue its mission.

While this could perhaps be passed off as an insignificant note in a short chapter on the American Empire, it should be pointed out that this is indeed a most enlightening insight into the evolution of America’s hegemonic character. No longer are the most cherished cultural traditions repressed in favor of assimilation into a predominantly Christianized society (at least in the eyes of the law), so that Indians have become accepted as actual human beings with inherent dignity, capable of holding deep spiritual beliefs typically reserved for a minority. From here, the intrinsic worldview characterized by the NAC has only to find a viable distribution mechanism so as to effectively convey its sense of Sacredness (and all that would entail) to a public in desperate need of an alternative to a world in peril.

Interview:

We should most likely consider the dominant social paradigm of our global community to be a systematic breakdown of the perpetual slavery and war that fuel a politicized economy. Through the institutionalization of plutocratic perspectives, wealth is transferred to coercive monopolies whose abusive power is legitimized by “Divine Right” to maintain an unsustainable status quo, usually ending in social collapse:

“Oligarchic hierarchies are inherently dysfunctional because they are fixated on domination, exploitation, militarism, and elite control. In essence, a small segment of the population uses hierarchy’s power to mobilize large groups and to concentrate wealth, information, and power for its own benefit and often at the expense of the larger whole.” (Goerner, Dyck, Lagerroos Pg. 102, 2008)

Because this powerful economic machine has at it’s core the basic motivating outlook that the world can be possessed, therefore providing a means of control over land, resources, time and energy through property, it exerts a powerful pull over broader social and environmental systems so that the welfare of each is drained to compensate. This is reflected on a fractal level, where living systems are individually affected by the pervasiveness of corruption essential to the mechanistic overthrow of organicity. For example, as American capitalism continues to foster the naturally devastating social tendencies of corporations asserting control over resources (or the equivalent—money), more instances of clashing worldviews will provide detailed spectacles to analyze and conciliate. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the case of State of Utah v. James W. Mooney and Oklevueha Native American Church. (2004)

After taking close to a hundred heroin addicts off the streets along with families who could not get assistance any other way, James Mooney (a Seminole medicine man who goes by the name Flaming Eagle)’s Church was raided by Federal agents, slammed with racketeering charges for distributing peyote, cut off from all funding and public support and later sent into bankruptcy. Being in a State predominantly controlled by the Mormon Church, Mooney and his wife were arrested for operating a “criminal enterprise,” and in a recent interview explained that it was primarily the Church that had motivated this illegal case brought against him.

“Can you imagine a State raiding a Catholic or Mormon Church, arresting the leaders of the Church with the intent to put them in prison for the rest of their lives? That is a totally illegal act in the United States of America. And the only reason the State of Utah got away with it was because the Mormon Church supported it. The State of Utah is the only State in the history of our Nation that tried to outlaw a Church. They lied to the State legislators, predominantly Mormons, then got their Attorney General, another Mormon, to lie to the U.S. government saying I was a fraud and left out exculpatory evidence [favorable evidence that would most likely clear the Defendant] to another Mormon Federal judge, underneath the Patriot Act for only hearsay—no facts, just someone has to say you did something—and got an indictment that would have put us in jail for the rest of our lives, all based on lies. And then the Attorney General lied to the legislators and the citizenship saying that the decision of the Utah Supreme Court exposed a loophole in Utah State law that enabled the misuse of Peyote, so they made a Bill of Attainder, which means to make a law specifically against an individual preventing them from receiving their civil rights, another big-time illegal act. After 3 or 4 months, my Attorneys showed the prosecuting U.S. Attorney that the State of Utah had lied, avoided exculpatory evidence, and conducted everything in an illegal fashion and then, for the first time in the history of our Nation, the Federal government dropped all charges before an evidential hearing, so that these illegal procedures would not become part of court documents.” (Mooney 2010)

Flaming Eagle’s Church is still considering taking legal action since many of the neighboring churches in the State are now worried about practicing their religion, especially with law being drawn up against them. (Shurtleff 2006)

Yet to an extent, there is something beautiful in the entire fiasco. Prior to 1918 when the NAC was incorporated, ceremonial practices were restricted to tribal grounds while Tribal Governments, often operated by Christian Churches, outlawed the use of Peyote over and over until the Federal Government stepped in to prevent it. 86 years later, the process seems identical: after both cases, “Freedom” has prevailed while the door again remains open for ALL peoples, not just Indians, to worship in this religion; this is because the fundamental principle of the Constitution is that no one can legislate spirituality by race or religion and the government does not have the authority to tell a Church how to conduct itself, let alone who can participate in a service or ceremony.

While the Bill of Attainder (Utah House Bill 60) still is technically in effect, if it serves any purpose, it proves, shows and reminds everyone of the long list of atrocities perpetrated by the State of Utah’s legislative corruption against Indians. Mormons, occupying the highest levels of State authority, have crusaded against Natives since first entering into the valley when they took over the water sources and enacted policy to kill Indians so as to possess the land. “Even today, Paiute, Shoshone and Ute Elders have pictures of wagons of decapitated heads in front of the Mormon Church, selling for two dollar gold pieces.” In these instances, the propaganda the Church maintains has set them up as guardians of the sole truth, justifying their horrendous actions from past up to present.

For example, Mormon doctrine holds ceremonies where participants give up 10% of their yearly income to even be allowed to go into the temple. Marriage is for life and all eternity, though one has to be in good standing and participate in ceremonies where property is turned over to the Church. If these rules are not followed, the Church has the ability to excommunicate the individual, keeping them from their family for all eternity. This fundamental religious belief seems relevant, as when a temple-going Federal Judge ruled in favor of the Mormon Church over a property dispute between the City and the Church, though the decision was overturned and the Judge was chastised for not excluding himself since he might have been excommunicated if he didn’t rule in favor of the Church.

Because every bona fide Mormon businessman has the exact same commitment, the Church can be characterized as quite a formidable entity. If businesses like Energy Solutions, which “handles more than 95 percent of all commercial low-level radioactive waste produced in the United States,” (Lee, O’Donoghue 2010) store chemicals and toxic waste in the ground and give 10% of their earnings to the Church, while Mormons controlling Utah’s State Legislature make sure the State has more nuclear waste than any other in the Union, then it makes sense why the Mormon Church has done everything in its power to prevent the Native American Church from understanding the extent of its Constitutional Rights (and why Utah is the only State in the Nation that ever tried to outlaw a Church):

The NAC is the only Federally recognized religion signed into law by the Senate, House of Representatives and President—not even the Catholic or Mormon Church is granted this distinction. In this Earth-based healing religion representing the spirituality of every indigenous tribe in the Americas, Nature is completely ingrained in the Sacred identity defined by Indians. Thus, the entire world can be construed as a temple for the Native American Church so that “all that is required to stop a harmful project is proving to the court that the practice is a desecration to their temple and it will stop”—the major motivating reason for the historic campaign against this central belief in which everyone is welcome to share this worldview. (Mooney 2010)

In the late 1940s, the Mormon attorney Ernest L. Wilkinson went to the Shoshones and asked to represent them to the U.S. government to address grievances for millions of acres of stolen land. He won the multi-million dollar lawsuit and took 80% of the winnings, using it to build Brigham Young University (the 20% was never recovered by the Indians, who only wanted the land) of which he then became President. By 1973, the major objective of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), operated by Mormon Indian Attorneys and (thus) owned by the Mormon Church, was to represent all the Native American Tribes. Historically, these Tribes have been the biggest obstacles to Native American Spirituality and have done everything in their power to outlaw the NAC, even pawning themselves off as the Native American Church of North America (NACNA) to propagate the concept that only Federally-recognized Indians should be allowed access to the NAC. Larry Echohawk, a Mormon Attorney-General who sponsored an “Unconstitutional Bill” in Idaho that suppressed Native religion, became Professor of Law at BYU before moving to the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Obama Administration. His brother is the President of NARF.

Because one of the largest industries in the American economy today is the War on Drugs, with drug use responsible for the majority of the workload in the prison and legal systems, if the Native American Church were to be fully honored, an enormous amount of “productivity” would effectively be ended. The Pharmaceutical industry, the Toxic Waste industry, the War on Drugs industry, the American Medical Association etc… therefore all have enormous interest in making sure this Earth-based healing religion does not understand the extent of its Constitutional Freedoms—since the entire economy of the United States has virtually blossomed by suppressing the Native American Church.

A report written by the U.S. Attorney’s office requested the advice about the NAC Rights to peyote, asking if it was actually possible to exempt only American Indian peyotists to the exclusion of other religious users of the Entheogen. (DEA Memo 1981) The answer was that it would Unconstitutional to do so.

“So the DEA knows it cannot set up a law or policy that legislates a religion on race or political affiliation. The Mormon Church just doesn’t want this to happen so they send NARF to the DEA and they make up an agreement saying ‘we’re representatives of Indians and if you will arrest and attempt to prosecute any person that isn’t a Federally recognized Native American, then we will support you in the Court system to keep a lid on getting this religion from blossoming.’ They made an agreement with the DEA that whenever NARF found out someone was using peyote not part of a Federally recognized Tribe, they would report them to the DEA and violate the Constitution to prosecute these people…there has been a cover-up since day one in these prosecutions…I used to be Vice-President of the North American Native American Church and they wanted me, because my Great-Grandfather was James Mooney, who argued on behalf of the Native American Church becoming a Church so it could be recognized as a legitimate religion with protection under the First and 14th Amendments—they wanted me as a political figure and sent me a letter saying I had to arrest every non-Native doing peyote, so I told them to cram it and opened up my own Church.” (Mooney 2010)

Implications:

The next step is simply to get the word out that there is a protected place to worship that has no set ideology, but that respects people’s differences while considering everyone and everything to be beautiful manifestations of God. Getting people to stand up and live by the principles of the Constitution is necessary. The court regards peyote only as peyote when it is the ground. Once it is picked it becomes a controlled substance. Once it is in the hand of a Native American Church member, it becomes a Sacrament, regardless of race.

The government cannot legislate anything regarding Church practice. Any kind of control, manipulation, or dominance therefore ends at the Native American Church because everything that is grown is a Sacrament. This is a nightmare for many, because to realize that everything is Sacred is to recognize that there is no entrenched restraint concerning the “right way” to take peyote, or Entheogens in general for that matter. This undeniable fact that everything belongs to an interconnected whole (made up of pieces no less Sacred than the larger system) then forces us to reevaluate the entirety of our living processes.

The teleological journey an interdependent species makes in evolving into something “better” must rigorously consider its constituent steps: the passage of time is measured by instances, each one unendingly important. If our communal “being” is found to be distressing, we should reconsider and redress it. In doing so, points of contention can be identified and treated, i.e. the personal prejudice underlying every monumental decision. So as to prevent and address the associated fears of a malevolent esoteric oligarchy, Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule suggest
“If government can dispel such theories, it should do so…by rebutting more rather than fewer theories, by enlisting independent groups to supply rebuttals, and by cognitive infiltration designed to break up the crippled epistemology of conspiracy-minded groups and informationally isolated social networks.” (Sunstein, Vermeule 2008)

Methods and models are certainly necessary to confront our greatest challenges, though perhaps even more basic should be the fundamental requirement of actually caring about the State we are in at present. Whether it will be Entheogens that catalyze the universal empathy needed to sustain us through our recovery process is beside the point. Despite the truth in such a statement, orienting the intentionality of a generational connect towards some shared benefit is even more crucial because the relationships to our selves, what is often mistaken as “other,” and our Self alone provide insight into how best to “be.”

Whereas corporations are considered “legal persons” in the eyes of the law, it should be found necessary to instill a unilateral commitment to the welfare of our human societies through illustrations that reconsider their actions in light of the natural world. If these most influential entities are allowed to destroy the psycho-spiritual life orientations we are provided with by a genuine commitment to embody the spirit of the Sacred cosmos, then the unusual creativity it will take to conform the destruction of our most precious resources to a place of utmost reverence will vanish, leaving us fragmented in our quest for a holistic value system. We must therefore sanction the revitalization of natural conditions through our own determinations of what is Sacred, prompting through unique engagement a cherishing of what each have been given by the power inherent in us all.

“The more mature the self, the wider the web of life in which we feel our membership. As our way of belonging to the world becomes more particular, our sense of community becomes less particular. We fall in love, outwardly and progressively, with the universe.” (Plotkin pg. 70, 2008)

If then, a single person (or corporation) were to embody this widespread social embrace, balancing nature and culture together in an imaginative demonstration of global redesign, a subsequent transformation in consciousness acting through her, him or it would secure a radically altered and self-reflexive construct of the perceived world. With this idealization for how appropriately to reconsider our intentions and obligations concerning personal intuitions, we can apply this ethic to any historical injustice through redeterminations of Sovereignty, effectively closing forever the defective loopholes that torment our civil relations.

“If such a phenomenon fails to emerge, those transmissions designed to maintain and reinforce existing inequitable social arrangements and attending precepts will continue to flourish.” (Meade 2010)

Conclusion:

The thesis of this essay has clearly portrayed Entheogens as providing the spiritual capacity to effectively combat the instigated destruction of “Self.” Through analyzing conceptual frameworks instituted by language (i.e. laws, decisions, impressions…) we have covered the United States of America’s precarious relationship to those it has consistently targeted as enemies, while identifying the potential catastrophe of social collapse to be based primarily along racially and spiritually biased assumptions. However, while a climate of intolerance has certainly permeated the social arena for centuries, a committed force geared towards pacifying its effect has evolved to virtually end a historical controversy. (Hummel 2004)

The surrounding cultural milieu does much to contextualize our relationship with nature—our connection to it over time. Whereas so often the government is blamed as the source for much of our distress, truly it is nothing more that an outcrop of our own social consciousness. As such, it should be utilized to its maximum effect to incorporate our own personal ambitions, though in light of incomplete insight into the oneness of the cosmos (and the healing powers accorded to it) we should be held accountable to a prevailing mechanism of distributable justice, conceived of through our own determinations of goodness. In this way, we will more aptly fulfill the potential of our souls in a verifiable way.

Despite accusations to the contrary, the taking of an Entheogenic Sacrament is itself the ritual, denoting Freedom of action and Freedom of mind for the individual. This Sacred procedure intends a state of purpose that is at peace with the larger world and, if empowered and communicated, can inform our sense of self in a way that demonstrates its own continuation through the development in close knit communities of feelings of spiritual apotheosis.

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