ONAC Member Legal Rights

Oklevueha Member Legal Rights

 On Bench – Paiute Chief – Gary Lee Tom (L), Chief Richard Swallow (C), James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney (R)

The Unique Legal Status of Oklevueha Native American Church is substantiated by the following United States Government Agencies opinions and statutes; FIRST by the United States Attorney General Office Memorandum – “Our research has identified no religious organizations, other than the NAC, which would qualify for the exemption under these or similar procedural and substantive requirements and SECOND by the DEA Code of Regulations -Exemptions from federal and state Drug Laws.

ONAC Membership Card Holders are guaranteed United States Constitutional Rights  and Protections as the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states and as the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 outlines these rights and protections in detail, even if one is NOT of American Native Heritage, See United States v. Boyll, May 10, 1990 – Federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Unanimous Ruling andState of Utah Supreme Court Unanimous Ruling.

Government Agencies have no legal authority to legislate what Earth Based Substance; plant, cacti, vine and/or herb that a Oklevueha Native American Church member chooses to utilize as their Sacrament, See United States Supreme Court Unanimous Ruling.

The Attempt to Outlaw the Entire Indigenous American Native Religious Culture

“The Indian plays much the same role in our American society that the Jews played in Germany.  Like the miner’s canary, the Indian marks the shifts from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere: and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall in our democratic faith. ”  –  Felix Cohen

From the moment the Indigenous Native American Religious Culture (Native American Church) was first incorporated, (1918) elements of our society that gain ideological stature (churches) and commerce (primarily but not limited to land and land resource speculators) have spent billions of dollars in tax revenues and resources to limit and/or suppress the ability of the Native American Church to enjoy their constitutional rights of worship. The honoring and participation in earth based healing and transformation ceremonies, wherein the entire Earth is our holy temple and sanctuary and all things have Great Spirits’ Presence within them are central to our culture and beliefs.

The leading culprits of this conspiracy to deny the Native American Church of its constitutional rights and religious freedoms (civil liberties) are the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) by influencing other government agencies and other private entities, such as the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) since 1973. Additionally, many cultural, religious and governmental entities have conspired to deny the Native American Church of its civil liberties
since 1824.

The primary objective, from 1824 to December 30, 1890, was to ‘exterminate’ the entire Indigenous Native American Religious Culture “The Only Good Indian is a Dead Indian”  is a phrase which many believed and acted upon. The phrase was based on General Philip Sherman’s widely reported statement that  “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” from 1869. The last United States Government sanctioned murdering of American Native spiritual leaders (Sitting Bull, December 15, 1890 and Big Foot/Spotted Elk, December 30, 1890) and their followers is known as the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Because of public outrage of the slaughtering of American Native Spiritual Leaders, innocent elders, women, and children at the Wounded Knee Massacre, the primary objective was changed to arresting and incarcerating anyone practicing American Native Culture (Ceremonies). They chose instead to reinvigorate the primary intent of the ‘Civilization Fund Act’ of 1819, by expanding Native American boarding schools, taking Indian children from their families, and placing them in these boarding schools. The authorities of these schools insisted that the children drop their Indian names, forbade the speaking of native languages, and cut off their long hair. “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man” took the form of a policy that was instituted and continued until the last Indian school was closed in 1973. A book detailing this cultural genocide is Kill the Indian, Save the Man: The Genocidal Impact of American Indian Residential Schools, 2004, by Ward Churchill.

It became obvious that participating in Native American Church ceremonies on Indian Reservations was not safe so “gatherings” started to be held outside the Indian reservations. In 1918, the BIA petitioned congress to outlaw the entire indigenous American Native Culture. This bill passed through the House of Representatives but was defeated in the Senate. Subsequently in 1918, the Oklahoma American Native Medicine People were successful in the incorporation of their American Native Culture and Ceremonies as the Native American Church. Now their culture would be protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, just like all other religions in America are…or so they thought.

To insure the legality of the Native American Church, a number of Counties of South Dakota incorporated their Native American Churches including   To continue to page two, click here.


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