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For Native American Church, peyote is sacred

 
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Tafari
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister


Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Wisconsin & California

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:56 am    Post subject: For Native American Church, peyote is sacred Reply with quote

We should have the same right as Cannabis is our sacrament.

Tafari

=====================================

For Native American Church, peyote is sacred
http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/dec99/michel19121799.asp
By Karen Lincoln Michel

Last Updated: Dec. 17, 1999
All his life, Tommy Billy has faced ridicule for practicing a religious belief as old as the red canyon rocks near his home on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona.

He is a follower of an ancient religion that uses the peyote cactus - classified as a hallucinogenic drug in this country - in the manner that Catholics use sacramental wine.

He has come to accept that mainstream America misunderstands his way of worship, the Native American Church, which claims about 250,000 members, 30,000 among the Navajo. But there is another kind of disregard toward his belief that worries him. This time, it is the people on his own reservation who are the perpetrators.

Non-believers, mainly Navajo teens, reportedly have been using peyote in the way some people take recreational drugs. The active ingredient in the cactus is mescaline, a mind-altering stimulant that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has placed in the same category as heroin and LSD. A federal law, however, exempts church members from prosecution when peyote is used in religious ceremonies.

The Navajo Nation government is holding public hearings around the reservation to discuss stricter tribal laws that will crack down on illegal use of peyote without obstructing the religious freedom of bona fide church members.

Billy, who is a chapter board member of the Native American Church of Navajoland, says there is a proposal to remove peyote from the tribe's controlled-substances law. A new ordinance would authorize the use, possession, sale, trade and delivery of peyote by an American Indian for bona fide religious use.

It hurts Billy that his own people would abuse something he considers a holy medicine. And it hurts me, too.

Just like Billy, I have been chided, criticized and looked upon with suspicion because of my standing as a Native American Church member.

I was born into the church and baptized in the Half-Moon Fireplace of the Native American Church of Wisconsin. The principles of the Wisconsin chapter are built on the belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We sit on the ground and worship the triune God in all-night prayer services. We listen to sermons, sing praises to the Creator, offer prayers and foster fellowship among the congregation.

We also partake of the sacrament, a sacred rite that opens our souls and senses to fully receive the Creator. That's the part non-believers have difficulty understanding.

There are people outside the church, however, who accept and support our beliefs. A Catholic priest once told me that many Christians hear the word of God, but few allow the Holy Spirit to enter and connect on a divine spiritual plane. After hearing me talk about my religious beliefs, the priest said it sounded as though sacramental use of peyote was a conduit to reaching that spiritual level. Well put.

Now if only Navajo teens abusing peyote could grasp that concept, we would be making progress.

Ironically, these teens are following in the footsteps of the hippie culture of the 1960s, whose abuse of peyote prompted the government to add it to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. It's unfortunate that the "psychedelic '60s" had such a dramatic impact on a way of worship that scientists and archaeologists have traced back 10,000 years.

Most Americans believe the First Amendment has protected the right of all organized religions to practice their faith. But after the federal government listed peyote as a hallucinogen nearly 30 years ago, the cactus was outlawed in 22 states. It wasn't until the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was amended in 1994 that religious use of peyote by Native American Church members was legalized nationwide.

Billy blames himself, other church leaders and their followers for failing to educate their own people about the significance of peyote as a holy medicine and the struggles the church has endured to protect it.

Billy doesn't have much faith in the media helping to educate the public about this issue. He criticized a recent Associated Press article that said seeing "visions" is part of the spiritual experience when peyote is ingested. He said that's how misconceptions get formed about his way of worship.

I agree. It's hard to understand beliefs of another culture when society views them through Euro-centric and Judeo-Christian eyes.

The Navajo teens abusing peyote will, I hope, grow out of their ignorance. I hope the rest of society will, too.


Karen Lincoln Michel, past president of the Native-American Journalists Association, is co-owner of News from Indian Country.
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Lilli
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Joined: 12 Dec 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I lived on the indian reservation in the imperial valley in southern california, The Indian Chief had a opium sacrement card and was an still is allowed to purchase carry and distribute to other tribesmen an women the opium at their religious ceremonies. Yes we do deserve the same right and i am so thankful for the enlightenment and guidance God has given Roger to pursue and introduce bills into legislature. I tell you in all seriousness Roger has the same spirit as our forfathers did when they founded this country.
"If the Founding Fathers were alive today, they would never stand for
the War on Drugs. Thomas Jefferson would immediately convene a war crimes
commission to investigate and punish those responsible for the jailing of more
than 700,000 Americans. Ben Franklin would be building homemade Patriot missiles. George Washington and his men would be using those Patriot missiles to blow DEA choppers out of the sky. Sam Adams would be preaching revolution on college campuses. Ethan Allen would be burning U.S. Customs boats.
Thomas Paine would be writing books like this, and Paul Revere would ride up
and down the Northern California coast, warning marijuana growers that,
'The Feds are coming, the Feds are coming!"
I have said it before and I'll say it again... they all may be gone now but we have cultural revolutionist like Roger and we are all blessed by it. I wish Missouri was a medical marijuana state and we could all stand up without fear and be as LOUD!!
peace everyone. God bless you Roger
~Lilli~
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Urbanhog
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel for Tommy Billy being ridiculed and his feelings about youths abusing peyotes.

Peyotes are a powerful cacti..... they are very....spiritual, I just can't find the right word to explain the experience I go thru when I consume peyotes, yes I admit I consume peyotes, only like once or twice a year, I really can't image myself "abusing them".... the effects is just way too overwhelming for me.....

Peyotes needs to be respected.... they are special.... they do show you who is the boss if you abuse them too much.
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Rev. Chazman
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister


Joined: 15 Nov 2003
Posts: 1407
Location: Illinois - USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is truly a very special sacramental plant. Thanks for the post Tafari, ive seen many problems the native americans have had over the years because of their peyote use... But this is a new angle I wasnt aware of. I certainly hope they are able to correct this problem without destroying part of a way of life centuries old....

Peace Smile
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Tafari
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister


Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Wisconsin & California

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good friend of my is a Potowatomi Indian and they are the biggest consumers of peyote in North America. Their reservation is in Northern Wisconsin.

The only reason I posted that article was to give us THC-Ministry members a different perspective on Sacramental use.

The spiritual use of Cannabis is there we just need to shed the light on the subject so everyone will see it a little more clearly. When Indians use peyote "most" people know it is sacramental/spiritual because society has been molded to this concept through books, movies, general education, ect.

Peace; Tafari
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Ferre
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Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Posts: 3777
Location: Amsterdam

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:26 am    Post subject: Re: For Native American Church, peyote is sacred Reply with quote

Tafari wrote:
We should have the same right as Cannabis is our sacrament.

Tafari


As far as I know brother Tafari, we sure have that right.
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