“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
ONACoA Legal Rights
Paiute Chief – Gary Lee Tom (L), 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
ONACoA 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 and State 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 of Acts 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
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 the Lakota Sioux Rosebud Reservation on July 26, 1924 and Pine Ridge ‘Porcupine’ Reservation on March 20, 1936. Wounded Knee sits between these two Lakota Sioux American Native Communities.
Actions. Laws and Policies during the period from 1876 to 1887 sought to deal with the “Indian Problem”. Two contending philosophies seemed to take turns granting privileges and giving supplies to American Natives and then trying to destroy their culture by restricting or outlawing their traditions, land use and ceremonies and by breaking or rescinding treaties that granted them lands, privileges or citizenship. Some of these Acts made specific reference to the Rosebud Reservation and their approach to spirituality and healing, signifying that Rosebud Reservation Spirituality is interwoven with the mother earth and the gifts she brings to us. The United States Government, in essence, recognized Rosebud Reservation spirituality as a church without it being incorporated. Therefore when the Rosebud Reservation Spirituality incorporated in 1924, this made the Rosebud Reservation Native American Church an unquestionable Earth Based Healing Religion. Subsequent court actions as noted on this page have solidified that model of spiritual activities and ceremonies as protected under the Constitution as is any other recognized religion.
When Leslie Fool Bull, then President of the Native American Church Rosebud of South Dakota, blessed James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney and Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church of Utah Inc. (Oklevueha Native American Church, Incorporated April 11,1997 and Registered with the United States Government as a Native American Church), he included the Oklevueha Native American Church within the Rosebud Reservation Spirituality Free Church status as of March 20, 1998.
Richard ‘He Who Has the Foundation’ Swallow, Nephew of Leslie Fool Bull and the President of the Native American Church Rosebud of South Dakota, confirmed the authenticity of Leslie Fool Bull’s blessing. Richard also Sustained James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney and the Chief Executive Officer of Oklevueha Native American for the remainder of his life, August 19, 2007.
Upon the Incorporation of the first Native American Church (1918), the BIA, with it’s massive influence within the Government Agencies, positioned themselves as the representatives for the Native American Church. When the public became aware of the illegal positioning of this government agency, laws specifically designed to stop this defamation of the Native American Church started with the Indian Civil Rights Act of (ICRA) 1968. Three decades later in 1997, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was subsequently denounced as unconstitutional.
This, in part, came about because the Oregon v. Smith ruling caught the attention of the legal authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the Roman Catholic Church (Catholic Church) and Judaism. These often persecuted religions in the United States and around the world, came to realize if the Native American Church was denied a ‘government compelling interest standard’ to participate in their religious ceremonies within the borders of the United States, it would put their own religions in jeopardy of being denied their civil liberties. Consequently, 10 years later in 2000, the Amendment to RFRA, known as the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUAIPA) was signed into law September 22, 2000.
Now, all references to a specific religion could no longer infer a racial standard and the word Sacrament and/or type of Sacrament was omitted. This means all races…if moved to participate…can become members of Oklevueha Native American Church and what is used as a holy sacrament can no longer be judged or controlled by government interests.
These latest amendments powerfully erode any efforts of the BIA and NARF’s in their attempt to control or deride the Native American Church, especially the ONAC. However, because the BIA and NARF with their massive slanderous political powers, continues to solicit law firms with the same “hidden agenda”. Much of these efforts are to specifically deprive/violate Oklevueha Native American Church of its civil liberties. Through these efforts, many state and federal attorney general offices and US Forestry offices through out the United States continue to accept the intention of the BIA and NARF in their effort to resist the expansion and enhancement of Oklevueha Native American Church. This takes place through intimidation as a judicial policy of “delaying justice in hope of denying justice” thus making it nearly impossible for humble citizens to afford a vigorous defense. This judicial policy has obviously been accepted by federal, state and county attorney office’s as they continue to refuse defendants their constitutional rights to simply file for a motion to dismiss under the RLUAIPA and the 1st Amendment.
With RLUAIPA established, other manipulative and destructive influences within certain government agencies have been diluted. Continued higher court actions ruling unanimously in favor of the defendants have come about. In the most conservative state in the Union, State of Utah Supreme Court (State of Utah v. James Mooney aka James WFE, Linda Mooney and Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church of Utah Inc.) ruled unanimously in favor of the Mooney’s. And the United States Supreme Court (UDV v. United States) ruled unanimously in favor of those defendants out of New Mexico. And as has been already mentioned, other related rulings came in 1990 when the United States Supreme Court eliminated the government’s ‘compelling interest standard’ for the Native American Church (Oregon v. Smith). This ruling came about after the unanimous ruling of Federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals as United States v. Robert Boyll.
In the Mooney’s Federal case, agents of the state prosecuting attorney’s office withheld exculpatory evidence from the Federal state of Utah Grand Jury. This state of Utah, with the advisory support of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), prompted federal indictments that eventually became a failed attempt to discredit James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney’s authenticity as being a bona fide American Native Medicine man. Because of these illegal acts committed by agents of the state of Utah and Federal Government which included; committing perjury in a federal court hearing, submitting tainted interpretations of interviews and withholding exculpatory evidence from the state of Utah Federal Grand Jury, indictments were signed against the Mooney’s. They, Mooney’s were again arrested and jailed with the threat of life imprisonment should they be convicted. After more than six months of investigative efforts (Due Diligence) by Utah Federal Defenders Office, the discoveries of the perjured statements and other illegal activities brought about by state and federal agents were vividly exposed. Because of these criminal acts by the State of Utah and Federal judicial agents, the federal prosecuting attorneys, with the support of the Utah Federal Defenders Office pleaded with federal court judge Ted Stewart to dismiss all indictments, a few days, prior to a scheduled evidential hearing, primarily to keep these facts from entering federal court records. For the first time in the history of the United States judicial system a motion to dismiss was requested and granted prior to a federally scheduled evidential hearing.
Since the judicial clarification of the rights of the Oklevueha Native American Church to receive its constitutional rights (RLUAIPA), to access Indigenous American Native Ceremonial Grounds in worshiping their ancient earth based empowering and healing Ceremonies.
With the declining influence of the BIA and NARF have had on the entire United States Judicial system and other agencies of the United States Government, it is now time that enlightened people gather together, as one immovable force, under the protective umbrella of Oklevueha Native American Church.
All are welcome to become part of Oklevueha Native American Church and its movement to enjoy the freedoms and protections outlined in the 1st. Amendment of the Bill of Rights.