SPIRIT HELPERS

SPIRIT HELPERS

With a basic understanding of Comparative Religion, it is easy to see that spiritual traditions are all fundamentally the same. Especially with respect to the major deities. No matter your tradition, you focus upon the center of the universe and the source of all life. All religions and spiritual paths inherently celebrate the same thing really. Aside from the obvious creator/creatrix, there are the spirit helpers, Angels, messengers, immortals (saints) and spiritual intermediaries.logo FSICC,9

A Spiritual Helper can be several things. First and foremost is the idea that one of the major deities of the creation stories is presiding over you and helping you. Secondly, there are the Messengers, those beings who carry our prayers to the Major Deities / Gods and Goddesses so that they might hear them and eventually answer them.

The messengers are Divine beings. Regardless of your tradition and what you think you know, these Divine beings can be many things, Angelic beings (Wakinyan), Fairies (canotila) and Little People (Wiwila). All of these messengers have a few things in common. They were all created to work for the Gods and Goddesses (Collectively known as Wakan Kin), and do not procreate as we do.

Then, lastly, there are the Spirit helpers in the form of Immortals. Immortals are many different beings. These are the saints, or mortals who have attained special power by fortifying their souls. In most Indigenous traditions, these can be humans, animals and other mortal beings that have transcended their limitations. These are the Spirit Helpers that make one tradition different from another. This type of spirit helper is what makes a tradition different than no tradition. and this is what I want to talk about here.

Some descriptions of Native American saints are wrongly labeled as ghosts. What is known as the Ghost Nations, can be more accurately described as Immortals. This concept is not limited to humans and can be an animal, plant or other being that has attained enlightenment. For example, a great bear of the forest may somehow be granted power for some brave selfless act and thereby attain sainthood.

In all of this is the idea that some Immortals are better than others to have as Spiritual Helpers. Immortals are important and unique in that they can tell you things and help you as a friend. The eagle can see where the buffalo are and show you how to find them. The Human immortal can speak and give advice.

In the Lakota language, all of these Spirit helpers, as well as any divine beings, are known as Tunkasila. Roughly translated this means grandfather, but the term is applied in a genderless way. When someone says “Wakan Tanka, Tunkasila”, it can be understood as Creator, Spirit helper. A female Immortal would still be referred to as Tunkasila because the spirit world is somewhat more genderless than the physical realms. Tunkasila are the ancestors, whether they be the gods, Goddesses, gnomes, fairies, stones, trees or whatever.

In Native American traditions people speak of animal totems. This has to do with family ties to the animal nations. It is believed that far in the past most humans and animals could change their species. Humans could transform themselves into animals and animals could become humans. There are still a few individuals that can do this. This is known as shape shifting. As the story goes, humans and animals intermarried creating ancestral inter-species relations.

Ones’ animal totem has to do with an ancestral link with a particular animal. most people can see, when looking at a family, what animal is more prevalent. You can tell which parent past on the animal of their family to their children. The bear is a very prevalent family totem among all humans. This is so because bears came from humans. In the same way that it is believed that humans came from primates, we believe that bears come from people. That is why many tribes won’t eat Bear meat, it is considered cannibalism. Likewise, a medicine woman who works with the buffalo or has a strong family connection to the buffalo, will not eat buffalo meat.

A healer may have an ancestral link to the Elk nation, yet may have a “ghost” Spirit Helper of the mountain lion (for example). Inherently  a totem animal is a spirit helper of sorts, in that there is a connection to another nation, as relatives.

All beings are created in the image and likeness of the creator, on earth as it is in heaven, as above, so below. That’s true for everything and every event we experience. In Lakota philosophy this is known as Gapemini. For every visible/physical thing there is an invisible/ethereal counterpart. Likewise, for the creator to make the trees, it would have first had something like a tree within itself (for example). So, all trees have an over-soul, an angelic being “Tree” after which all trees were modeled.

There then is a messenger or angelic being representing of all forms of life in the universe. In the Lakota belief there are then 405 angels. That is why we make 405 tobacco prayer ties for the Hanbleceya (Vision Quest Ceremony).This is to address them all, perhaps only one or two of them will come to hear our prayers, but they are all invited. It is interesting to note that in European Christian lore, the Angels started to be depicted as humans (and as males), when in the original biblical descriptions, they are combined animal forms and never depicted as people.

Whatever the case may be, there are many types of helpful spirits. what I am wanting to focus on are the spirits that make one altar more effective than another. The reason why ancient traditions are more effective than domestic, contemporary traditions, is because they have more seniority and more validity with the founders of the universe.

People of our modern culture have difficulty understanding this concept. Those who do experiment with different spiritual paths, usually settle for something more tame and comfortable. These times are forging a whole new era of simplified, domestic religious systems. The problem with this is purely metaphysical and has little to do with doctrine or philosophy. It has to do with who you know and what kind of connections you have (spiritually).

Suppose you wanted a job as an executive for a large business. You would have to get credentials, get the right kind of education. The person hiring you would have to actually like you, You couldn’t just act like a jerk and expect to get the job. You would have to show that you have the skills to communicate by communicating in the right way. Suppose you got the job, you would have to learn who is who and fit into the pecking order And it would be of utmost importance to go through the proper channels.

As it is in the spiritual world, Just like anything else, it is all about who you know, the friends you make and your ability to forge and maintain good relations. A medicine man may gain a few Spirit helpers in his lifetime. This is within the context that he has a 26 thousand year old tradition backing him up. A tradition that forms a collective of Spiritual immortals that could not be achieved in any other way.

When someone just starts a new religion it will not have the power that an ancient tradition has. Most people in our culture would never even know the difference. In Indigenous Traditions, miraculous events are commonplace. Contemporary traditions scoff at this, claiming that it is the work of evil spirits. Some of the most powerful traditions of this earth have been massacred under this pretext.

When a ceremony is about to begin some of the The spirit Helpers are signaled by the activity itself, others are called from far away with songs. It is said that we were given intelligence and a voice originally for the communication with spirits. Some how we are so busy talking to ourselves or each other that we barely notice the spirits nowadays. All animals may use their voices to speak to one another, but if you pay close attention, you can catch them in the act of calling out to the very center of the universe, praying.

The Messengers or Angelic Beings are likewise specially attuned to the human voice. They were designed to hear us, to help us, as part of our birthright. An audio recording of Incantations to a spirit will not conjure that spirit, only the true voice will do that. If you have been praying for something and it has not come to pass, perhaps you haven’t spoken your prayer out loud. Many spirits may be able to read your mind, but not necessarily the messengers meant to carry your prayers.

It is interesting to notice, if you pay close attention to a spirit that is listening to a person’s prayer. notice what happens when the normal speech of the prayer breaks into a shaky crying voice. The spirit reacts with great urgency! Perhaps this is why in some spiritual traditions, prayers are recited, purposefully, in a shaky, weeping tone.

 Many spirits recognize any rite as being a ritual, especially by the presence of fire and water,  fire and water are part of what forms a doorway for spiritual beings. Just to make up a ritual one may attract attention but that is not always a good thing.  When a leader of an ancient tradition of any kind presides over a ceremony, he or she calls a group of spirits specific to that tradition.  To lead a made up ceremony may call upon one’s individual spirit or ones own ancestors.  When calling ancestors you should be aware of many things, as an example, when they show up, they may be angered by the breaking of some family taboo.  It may be something long forgotten by you in the present.

For example, if you have family ties to the Deer Nation, and your family was forbidden to eat deer for thousands of years, but somehow lost that ancestral vow, you could be in quite a fix when that spirit shows up. If your ancestors made any agreement with the spirits you would have to remedy that in the present, after all, you are here on behalf of your ancestors and therefore have somewhat of a responsibility to them.

Some spirits of one tradition may not jibe with the spirits of another.  In most all religions and systems of magic, it is understood that whatever you offer you attract. If you offer alcohol, you will attract spirits that like that stuff. Don’t offer Buffalo kidney to a vegetarian Hindu goddess! this represents what we call the mixing of medicines.

In the Voodoo tradition,  for instance, you will notice altars of conflicting deities are kept separate and not crossed. Different and even enemy forces of nature my be honored by one person, yet their altars are not lumped together like some new-age mishmash. These things are subtle to us, but very important to them.

When someone becomes a Medicine Man or Woman it is because they are initiated in a true tradition, regardless of anything else.  Whatever the case, a position like that exists because a group of spirits are assigned to a person by another person according to that tradition.  By merely understanding Native American spirituality by itself one may not  necessarily enlist the help of those spirits. There has to be an unbroken line of tradition making the connection.

As an example, from the Catholic tradition one can see then, the emergence of the Protestant faith. This is an interesting example because the protestants actually cut themselves off from the Catholic saints. Aside from God, the other major deities and the Angels, the protestants basically had to start from scratch. Over time they gained Spirit Helpers.

Keep in mind that there really is no wrong or right way to pray. The creation herself is the body of the goddess. No one goes unheard. We are all inherently connected to the source of all that is. No matter what wrongs we commit we are all inextricably connected to the creator. We are made out of the very substance of god and cannot even escape our divinity if we tried. It is a reality that we, as beings, can offend the spirits in the same way we could offend each other and even ourselves. Part of any Indigenous tradition relies upon the adherence to ancestral vows.

Nevertheless, though beings may take many forms and many bodies, we have one spirit. There is one force fueling all perception and that is the one thing beyond math and comprehension. The fabric of the universe is woven with one thread! Each one of us, and everything, has a direct connection to Wakan Tanka.

What makes a Tradition powerful is it’s collective of spiritual Helpers, particularly the immortals. Spirituality is the same with anything else. There is a structure and order to all things. When we are born, we work hard to learn to move. We learn slowly to stand, walk, Talk and everything else. the same thing goes with the spiritual path. We can’t just walk right after being born. In the spiritual life is no different.

A true spiritual tradition is characterized by it’s saints or Immortals. When a person claims to have spiritual power outside of a traditional context it is actually very rare.  There are many who take up a priest like position alone, like the new-age shaman or the solitary practitioner among neo-paganism.  The problem here lies in the issue that one person cannot enlist the help of enough spirits to form a group of spirits that characterize a true tradition.  The spirits of Native American spirituality in general are a culmination of thousands of lifetimes of spiritual work, sometimes more.

Being a Medicine Man or Woman is not dependent on what you know or how you behave.  Those factors do determine how long you keep that power.  Like many indigenous paths, a two way communication with the spirits is inherent.  This allows everyone to be informed directly rather than from written or oral instruction.  As you can imagine all this could be very dangerous without a traditional connection to a living lineage.

What does enlist the help of spiritual forces regardless of anything are the making of offerings.  A personal sacrifice, changing your behavior, leaving behind your ugly old ways or putting water out for your ancestors.  This is something that anyone can do and is probably the best thing to do to form spiritual alliances.

Native American Church Songs

 

 

 

 

In bloom

What we Believe

PETA WAKANPETA WAKAN

VISION STATEMENT

 TO BE A COMMUNITY WHICH AUTHENTICALLY PROMOTES AND SUSTAINS: TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS AMERICAN RITUALS AND CEREMONIES; AWARENESS OF AND PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD LAND AND WATER STEWARDSHIP; HARMONIOUS LIVING WITH ALL BEINGS AND NATURE THROUGH A SELF-SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY. OUR VISION IS TO SUSTAIN, ADMINISTER, PROTECT, FACILITATE, SPREAD, EDUCATE, EXERCISE AND EXPRESS TO AND FOR ALL PEOPLES THE INDIGENOUS AND ABORIGINAL RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES, WAYS OF SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION, AND WAYS OF LIVING IN HARMONY WITH THE EARTH, EACH OTHER, AND GOD, WAKAN TANKA.

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MISSION STATEMENT

OUR MISSION IS TO PROVIDE AUTHENTIC TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS CEREMONIES AND RITUALS. OUR COMMUNITY WILL BE ORGANIZED FOR THE EXPRESSION OF INDIGENOUS SPIRITUALITY AND TO PROVIDE RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR ALL PEOPLES WILLING TO LIVE IN A SACRED WAY.

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PURPOSE STATEMENT

 WE PRESERVE INDIGENOUS CEREMONY AND RITUAL, BECAUSE IT IS AN ENDANGERED SPIRITUAL PRACTICE.  WE WANT TO HELP HUMANKIND BY PROMOTING AND ENSURING THE SANCTITY OF THESE TRADITIONS BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THEY ARE IMPORTANT FOR OURSELVES, FUTURE GENERATIONS, AND FOR THE SPIRIT; FOR THE HEALTH OF HUMANITY AND OUR PLANET. WE PROMOTE ACTIVITIES THAT NOURISH, STIMULATE, AND FURTHER DEVELOP HUMAN CREATIVITY THROUGH SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION, CULTURAL IDENTITY, CULTURAL ART, AND HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS, AS WELL AS TO PROMOTE UNIFICATION OF ALL CULTURAL RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL WORKERS. WE HELP BY TEACHING PRAYER TECHNOLOGIES AND OFFERING WORKSHOPS, CLASSES, RETREATS AND OUTREACH PROGRAMS. WE ARE A LIVING EXAMPLE OF A HARMONIOUS AND SELF-SUSTAINING COMMUNITY.

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STATEMENT OF FAITH

MITAKUYE OYASIN/ALL OUR RELATIONS

 WE BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALL RELATED.  WE ARE ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, REGARDLESS OF RACE, CREED, COLOR, AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION.  WE ARE ALL RELATED TO EACH OTHER AS HUMANS. WE ARE ALL RELATED TO THE ANIMALS, THE TWO LEGGED, FOUR LEGGED, WINGED, AND ALL CREATION. WE ARE ALL IN TURN RELATED TO THE EARTH, SKY, AND ALL THAT THERE IS AND THAT WE COME FROM THE STARS.  AS INTELLIGENT BEINGS, WE ARE OBLIGATED TO ACT RESPONSIBLY AS STEWARDS OF ALL CREATION.

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WAKAN TANKA/GOD

 WE BELIEVE IN THE ONE GOD, THE GREAT MYSTERY, WAKAN TANKA.  AS EVERYTHING HE IS FOUR DIVISIBLE BY FOUR AND AGAIN DIVISIBLE INTO THE SIXTEEN GREAT POWERS OF THE UNIVERSE: CHIEF GOD, GREAT SPIRIT, CREATOR, EXECUTIVE, STONE, EARTH, SKY, SUN, THUNDER BEINGS, BEAUTIFUL ONE, WIND, MOON, BUFFALO, BEAR, FOUR WINDS, AND WHIRLWIND. THE SIXTEEN EACH DIVISIBLE BY FOUR INFINITELY INTO ALL THERE IS, KNOWN, UNKNOWN AND UNKNOWABLE.

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CHANUNPA/SACRED PIPE

 WE BELIEVE IN OUR PRAYERS, IN THE POWER OF THE SACRED PIPE, AND THE WHITE BUFFALO CALF MAIDEN WHO BROUGHT THE PIPE TO THE EARTH FOR ALL IT’S PEOPLE.  WE BELIEVE IN HER TEACHINGS, HER BLESSING POWER AND THE PROMISE OF HER RETURN.

Sweat Lodge

INIPI WAKAN/SWEAT LODGE

 WE BELIEVE IN THE PURIFYING AND CLEANSING POWER OF THE SWEAT LODGE CEREMONY, THE SACRIFICE MADE BY THE STONE NATION, THE TUNKASILA (SPIRITS), AND BY ALL THE PARTICIPANTS. WE BELIEVE IN PRAYING WITHIN THIS MOTHER’S WOMB FOR SOBRIETY, CLARITY, GUIDANCE, AND HEALTH.

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HANBLECEYA/VISION QUEST

 WE BELIEVE THAT THE EVERLASTING WORD OF GOD IS SPOKEN FROM EVERY PART OF DIVINE CREATION, THAT THROUGH NATURE AND THE SACRIFICE OF THE VISION QUEST RITE THE GREAT MYSTERY SPEAKS TO US ALL DIRECTLY WITHOUT EXCEPTIONS, INTERMEDIARIES, OR INTERPRETERS.

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YUWIPI – LOWANPI/NIGHT SING

 WE BELIEVE IN THE NIGHT SING, THE POWER OF INYAN/STONE, THE MIRACULOUS HEALING POWER OF THE ANCESTORS AND THE SACRED SONGS. WE BELIEVE IN THE WIWILA/LITTLE PEOPLE, ANIMAL SPIRITS, AND THE VARIOUS OTHER TUNKASILA/SPIRITS. WE BELIEVE IN THE EMPTINESS OF THE MEDICINE MAN/WOMAN AS A HOLLOW BONE FOR THE SPIRITS’ WORK.

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WIYANG WACIPI/SUN DANCE

 WE BELIEVE IN THE ANNUAL SUNDANCE, THE PIPE, THE SACRIFICE OF THE SACRED COTTONWOOD TREE, THE POWER OF THE SUN, AND THE ETERNAL FLAME.  WE BELIEVE THAT THE SACRIFICES OF THE DANCERS, SINGERS, AND SUPPORTERS BENEFITS AND PURIFIES ALL THE PEOPLE.

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ALL NIGHT PRAYER VIGILS/TIPI MEETINGS 

WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRED FIRE, THE HOLY WATER, THE SACRED INSTRUMENTS, THE HALF MOON ALTAR, AND THEIR BLESSINGS.  WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRAMENTAL USE AND THE HEALING POWER OF THE PLANT NATIONS.  WE BELIEVE THAT OUR PRAYERS ARE HEARD AND ATTENDED TO. WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL BE JUDGED, HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR ACTIONS IN THE AFTERLIFE, AND IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

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CALENDAR

 WE BELIEVE IN THE NATURAL RHYTHMS OF DAY AND NIGHT, THE FLOW OF THE SEASONS, THE MOVEMENT OF THE STARS, AND THE EXULTATION OF THESE OCCASIONS THROUGH ANY INDIGENOUS TRADITION OF THE EARTH.  WE CELEBRATE IN SACRALIZING THE ACT OF SONG, DANCE, RITUAL DRAMA, AND CEREMONIAL EXPRESSION.  WE BELIEVE THAT THE TIMES SHOULD BE KEPT, HONORED, RECKONED, AND OBSERVED.  WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRED HOOP AND THE CONTINUITY OF LIFE.

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TIOSPAYE/SPIRITUAL FAMILY

 WE BELIEVE IN FAMILY, EXTENDED FAMILY, ADOPTED FAMILY, AND OUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY. WE BELIEVE IN HOLDING REGULAR MEETINGS TO GOVERN, REWARD, AND DISCIPLINE OUR GROUP IN A HUMANE ABORIGINAL MANNER. WE RESPECT, HONOR AND ARE OBLIGATED TO CARE FOR OUR ELDERS AS WELL AS OUR MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN NEED. WE HONOR THE DECEASED THROUGH FUNERARY RITES BY MAKING OFFERINGS, PRAYERS AND CARING FOR SOULS.

PETA WAKANPETA WAKAN

CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS

Fuego Sagrdo de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church

(Sacred Fire of Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church)

CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS

Article I

Fuego Sagrdo de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church

(hereby referred to as F.S.I.C.N.A.C.)

VISION STATEMENT

 To be a community which authentically promotes and sustains: traditional Indigenous American rituals and ceremonies; awareness of and practical knowledge of good land and water stewardship; harmonious living with all beings and nature through a self-sustainable community. Our vision is to sustain, administer, protect, facilitate, spread, educate, exercise and express to and for all peoples the indigenous and aboriginal religious ceremonies, ways of spiritual expression, and ways of living in harmony with the earth, each other, and God, Wakan Tanka.

Article II

MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to provide authentic traditional indigenous ceremonies and rituals. Our community will be organized for the expression of indigenous spirituality and to provide religious, spiritual and educational services for all peoples willing to live in a sacred way.

PURPOSE STATEMENT

 We preserve indigenous ceremony and ritual, because it is an endangered spiritual practice.  We want to help humankind by promoting and ensuring the sanctity of these traditions because we believe they are important for ourselves, future generations, and for the spirit; for the health of humanity and our planet. We promote activities that nourish, stimulate, and further develop human creativity through spiritual expression, cultural identity, cultural art, and historical consciousness, as well as to promote unification of all cultural religious and spiritual workers. We help by teaching prayer technologies and offering workshops, classes, retreats and outreach programs. We are a living example of a harmonious, self-sustaining community and

fellowship.Article III

STATEMENT OF FAITH

Mitakuye Oyasin/All Our Relations

 We believe that we are all related.  We are all sons and daughters of God, regardless of race, creed, color, and sexual orientation.  We are all related to each other as humans. We are all related to the animals, the two legged, four legged, winged, and all Creation. We are all in turn related to the earth, sky, and all that there is and that we come from the stars.  As intelligent beings, we are obligated to act responsibly as stewards of all Creation.

Wakan Tanka/God

 We believe in the one God, the Great Mystery, Wakan Tanka.  As everything He is four divisible by four and again divisible into the sixteen great powers of the universe: Chief God, Great Spirit, Creator, Executive, Stone, Earth, Sky, Sun, Thunder Beings, Beautiful One, Wind, Moon, Buffalo, Bear, Four Winds, and Whirlwind. The sixteen each divisible by four infinitely into all there is, known, unknown and unknowable.

Chanunpa/Sacred Pipe

 We believe in our prayers, in the power of the sacred pipe, and the White Buffalo Calf Maiden who brought the pipe to the earth for all it’s people.  We believe in Her teachings, Her blessing power and the promise of Her return.

Inipi Wakan/Sweat Lodge

 We believe in the purifying and cleansing power of the sweat lodge ceremony, the sacrifice made by the Stone Nation, the Tunkasila (spirits), and by all the participants. We believe in praying within this mother’s womb for sobriety, clarity, guidance, and health.

Hanbleceya/Vision Quest

 We believe that the everlasting word of God is spoken from every part of Divine Creation, that through nature and the sacrifice of the Vision Quest Rite the Great Mystery speaks to us all directly without exceptions, intermediaries, or interpreters.

Yuwipi – Lowanpi/Night Sing

 We believe in the night sing, the power of Inyan/Stone, the miraculous healing power of the ancestors and the sacred songs. We believe in the Wiwila/Little People, animal spirits, and the various other Tunkasila/Spirits. We believe in the emptiness of the Medicine Man/Woman as a hollow bone for the spirits’ work.

Wiyang Wacipi/Sun Dance

 We believe in the annual Sundance, the pipe, the sacrifice of the sacred cottonwood tree, the power of the sun, and the eternal flame.  We believe that the sacrifices of the dancers, singers, and supporters benefits and purifies all the people. All Night Prayer Vigils/Tipi Meetings. We believe in the sacred fire, the holy water, the sacred instruments, the half moon altar, and their blessings.  We believe in the sacramental use and the healing power of the plant nations.  We believe that our prayers are heard and attended to. We believe that we will be judged, held accountable for our actions in the afterlife, and in the forgiveness of sins.

Calendar

 We believe in the natural rhythms of day and night, the flow of the seasons, the movement of the stars, and the exultation of these occasions through any indigenous tradition of the earth.  We celebrate in sacralizing the act of song, dance, ritual drama, and ceremonial expression.  We believe that the times should be kept, honored, reckoned, and observed.  We believe in the sacred hoop and the continuity of life.

Tiospaye/Spiritual Family

 We believe in family, extended family, adopted family, and our spiritual family. We believe in holding regular meetings to govern, reward, and discipline our group in a humane aboriginal manner. We respect, honor and are obligated to care for our elders as well as our men, women and children in need. We honor the deceased through funerary rites by making offerings, prayers and caring for souls.

Article IV

COMMUNITY RESIDENT COVENANT

As tiospaye community participants of F.S.I.C.N.A.C.  we are expected to:

  1. Attend regular council meetings.

  2. Participate in prescribed ceremonies and be willing to grow spiritually.

  3. Do our share of work.

  4. Refrain from alcohol, recreational drugs, pornography, foul language, use of firearms, television, or radio on the premises.

  1. Refrain from excessive talking, visitation or inappropriate behavior.

  2. Refrain from inviting others to live on the premises without council approval.

  3. Be an active or honorary member in good standing.

Article V

GROUP COVENANT

As a member of F.S.I.C.N.A.C. I commit myself to The Great Mystery and to the other

members to:

  1. Protect the unity of my church by:

o acting in love toward other members

o refusing to gossip, respecting the statement of faith

  1. Share in the responsibility of my church by:

o praying

o being involved

o doing my share of work

  1. Support the integrity of my church by:

o attending faithfully

o walking the Red Road

o following the Vision Statement and Mission Statement

  1. Reconciliation and Restoration

o Be willing to change and grow spiritually

o Bring any trouble before the Council Meeting

o Be willing to receive counseling and correction

Article VI

MEMBERSHIP

There are four types of membership: Honorary, Beneficiary, Active, and General.  Each

level of membership has its own qualifications and privileges.  Dismissal from any level of membership and restoration of membership or reconciliation are at the discretion of the Directive Council.  Refer to Articles of Incorporation Article 7 Naming of Directive Council.

Honorary

Qualifications

  -Dedicated life to F.S.I.C.N.A.C.

  -Regular participation in ceremonies

  -Access and use of facilities

  -Actively help with positive growth of F.S.I.C.N.A.C.

    -Demonstrate  leadership

  -Regular spiritual practice

    -Agree  with  Statement  of  Faith

    -18  years  or  older

Privileges

  -Live on the land full or part time

  -Voice on the council

  -Taking care of others

  -Share community food, supplies, and work

    -Serve  on  committees  and  boards

  -Contribute to and receive quarterly newsletter

    -Notification  of  smaller,  private  ceremonies    -Protection  to  attend  ceremonies  and  privilege  to  sponsor  private  ceremonies

  -Have access to our international network

Beneficiary

Qualifications

    -$1,000  or  more  yearly  donation

    -18  years  or  older

Privileges

    -Short  term  stays  on  land

  -Access and use of facilities

  -Voice on council

  -Quarterly newsletter

    -Protection  to  attend  ceremonies  and  privilege  to  sponsor  private  ceremonies

  -Have access to our international network

Active

Qualifications

    -$200  recommended  donation  a  year

    -Be  on  committees

    -Screening  and  interview  process

    -Agree  with  Statement  of  Faith

  -Regular participation at ceremonies

  -Regular spiritual practice

  -Committed to and actively help the spiritual growth of others

    -18  years  or  older

Privileges

  -Live on the land full or part time with a 3 month trial period

  -Access and use of facilities

  -Voice on the council

  -Taking care of others

  -Share community food, supplies and work

    -Serve  on  committees  and  boards

  -Contribute to and receive quarterly newsletter

    -Notification  of  smaller,  private  ceremonies

    -Protection  to  attend  ceremonies  and  privilege  to  sponsor  private  ceremonies

  -Have access to our international network

General

Qualifications

    -$100  recommended  donation  yearly

    -Attend  a  ceremony

    -Donate  at  ceremonies

    -Agree  with  Statement  of  Faith

    -18  years  or  older

Privileges

-Short  term  stays  on  land

  -Access and use of facilities

  -Voice on the council

    -Serve  on  committee

  -Receive quarterly newsletter

    -Protection  to  attend  ceremonies  and  privilege  to  sponsor  private  ceremonies

  -Have access to our international network

Article VII

Community: All participants have a voice although all authority in the community is

vested in the deciding population known as the Governing Council. The following items of

business shall be brought to the Council Meetings.

o Selection of members and community residents

o Budget

o Projects

o Community jobs

o Discipline

o Schedule

o Use of property

  1. Fiscal Year: Fiscal year of F.S.I.C.N.A.C. shall be January 1 through December 31.

  2. Council Meetings: There shall be regular weekly meetings of the community for ceremonies, prayer, teaching, learning, support, inspiration and conducting business. At least annually the Governing Council and all members shall be called together to set major goals.

  1. Emergency Meetings: Emergency meetings may be called at any time by any Governing Council.

  1. Quorum: A quorum of the Governing Council shall be 80%.

  2. Voting: Voting on the selection of Members/Officers, changing the Articles of Incorporation / Bylaws or buying or selling property will be limited to the Directive Council.

Article VIII

SPIRITUAL ADVISORS F.S.I.C.N.A.C. will also have a directive position known as Spiritual Advisor. The Spiritual Advisor’s duties will be to oversee rituals and ceremonies with the upmost highest reverence, integrity, and diligence in accordance with tradition of how they received the altars and authority to conduct said ceremonies. Spiritual Advisors will not be part of (unless they are Officers, members, and or Directive Council) administrative duties, governing, and or day-to-day maintenance of the Corporation. Spiritual advisors are those who fulfill all requirements and prerequisites as laid out below, and are also appointed by the Directive Council and have a good standing with all officers and members as understood below. Spiritual advisors can be members, Officers, and or Directive Council, but being any of the latter does not necessarily mean being a spiritual advisor.

Being a Spiritual Advisor is a privilege and requires strenuous prerequisites and community approval. There will be categories of Spiritual Advisors according to the different requirements and ceremonies listed, also there will be levels within each category which will define how much authority is granted to perform the functions of the spiritual advisor and preside over or within ceremonies.

  1. General Functions, responsibilities, and privileges of Spiritual Advisors.

  2. a) Spiritual leadership and guidance

  3. b) Prophesying

  4. c) Healing and protecting

  5. d) Conducting and facilitating ceremonies

  6. e) Working positions and performing duties within ceremony

  7. f) Being an example of spiritual life and living in a sacred manner

  8. g) Representing F.S.I. C. N.A.C.

  9. General Qualifications and Requirements of Being a spiritual advisor

  10. a) Walking the Red Road in a sacred way: as the Spirits, the white buffalo calf woman, the ceremonies, and the sacred teachings have defined it for us, passed through the ages by medicine people, chiefs, wise ones, and our ancestors.

  1. b) By living and exemplifying the sacred virtues; including the Lakota 4 sacred virtues humility, compassion, humor, and courage, and the 7 arrows of the sacred fire, Faith, Hope, Charity, justice, temperance, prudence, and Fortitude.

  1. c) Carrying a Canupa; which is received in a good way, by vision quest, marriage,

Hunka, inheritance, and or by receiving as a gift from an elder or medicine person.

  1. d) Doing vision quest annually; praying and fasting alone in the woods for the benefit of oneself and more importantly for the benefit of all living beings. To be in connection with tunkasila and the spirits.

  1. e) To be in good standing with the community, members, officers, and directive council. To help the community and to be of service to it. To understand the functioning of ceremonial life and to not over step boundaries, comforts, and roles of leadership within the community and positions of spiritual advisors.

  1. f) Being appointed by the directive council and most importantly being ordained and or officially recognized by the Chief Spiritual advisor and the other spiritual advisors, to have formally offered tobacco or opagi the Chief Spiritual Advisor for those specific purposes.

  1. For a detailed description on categories and Types of Spiritual Advisors see attached appendix to the bylaws.

Article IX

CHURCH OFFICERS

Any two or more offices may be held by the same Person, except the offices of President and Secretary.

  1. President: The president is a servant whose privilege it is to serve F.S.I.C.N.A.C. as a leader.  The President shall:

    -Compile  and  present  the  agenda  for  each  meeting

  -Preside over Council Meeting and other meetings

  -Keep the Spiritual Advisors informed

  -Be responsible for public relations

  1. Term: The President is not limited by a term of office.
  2. Nomination: Nominations for President shall be given to the Directive Council at a

Council Meeting at least a week before the Annual Council Meeting. Any candidate for

President should be an Active/Honorary Member in good standing.

  1. Selection: The President will be selected at the annual meeting by the Directive Council or whenever necessary.

B.Vice President:  The Vice President is a servant whose privilege it is to serve F.S.I.C.N.A.C. by handling the Church’s Organization.

  The  Vice  President  shall:

    -Manage  all  officers  and/or  committees

    -Fill  in  for  the  President  in  his/her  absence

  -Assign tasks to officers and/or committees

  -Deposit all church monies and oversee Treasurer activities

  -Notify Treasurer of amount and designation of each deposit

    -Oversee  the  management  of  property  and/or  residents  of  property

  1. Term: The Vice President is not limited by a term of office
  2. Nomination: Nomination for Vice President shall be given to the Directive Council at a Council Meeting at least a week before the Annual Council Meeting. Any candidate for Vice President should be an Active/Honorary member in good standing. C.  Treasurer:  The Treasurer is a servant whose privilege is to serve F.S.I.C.N.A.C.  by caring for the finances of the church in maintaining the church books.

 The Treasurer shall:

  -Receive all church monies, Count monies, Record monies

    -Pay  the  bills

  -Keep and present an accurate record of transactions

  -Present an annual report

  -Prepare and file reports for Federal, State and County taxes

    -Maintain  given  records

According to state law, the treasurer shall not receive or deposit any church monies.

  1. Term: The Treasurer is not limited by a term of office.
  2. Nomination: Nominations for Treasurer shall be given to the Directive Council at a

Council meeting at least a week before the Annual Council Meeting. Any candidate for Treasurer should be an Honorary/Active Member in good standing.

  1. Selection: The Treasurer will be selected at the Annual Council Meeting by the Directive Council or whenever necessary.
  1. Secretary: Secretary is a servant whose privilege is o serve F.S.I.C.N.A.C by maintaining the church records.

  The  Secretary  shall:

  -Keep minutes of all council meetings

    -Keep  records  of  membership

    -Maintain  historical  records

  1. Term the Secretary is not limited by a term of office
  2. Nomination: Nomination for Secretary shall be given to the Directive Council at a Council Meeting at least a week before the Annual Council Meeting. Any candidate for Secretary should be an Honorary/Active Member in good standing.

Article X

STANDING COMMITTEES

A member of a standing committee must be a member in good standing of F.S.I.C.N.A.C. The chairperson shall be chosen by each standing committee from among its members. Committees may bring decisions to the Governing Council for affirmation or a vote as they deem it necessary. The Standing Committees of F.S.I.C.N.A.C. may include, but not be limited to:

  1. Ceremonial
  2. Communal
  3. Kitchen
  4. Security
  5. Shop
  6. Educational/childcare
  7. Woman’s
  8. Men’s9. Song/Language
  9. Retreat
  10. Fundraising

Article XI

INDEMNIFICATION

The Directive Council shall have and may exercise the power to indemnify any director, officer, employee, fiduciary, or agent or former director, officer, fiduciary, or agent of the Corporations, and the Personal Representatives of all such persons, against expenses actually and necessarily incurred in connection with the defense of any suit, action or proceeding, in which such person is made a party by reason of being or having been such director, officer, employee, fiduciary, or agent. Expenses actually and necessarily incurred shall be deemed to include the costs to such person of reasonable settlement made with the consent of the Corporation. Such indemnification, if approved by the Directive Council, shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which such person may be entitled, under this Constitution, by agreement, by vote of the Directive Council, or otherwise. The extent of the Corporation’s power to indemnify the above-enumerated persons shall be as defined by Section 7-22-101.5 of the Colorado Revised Statues, which incorporates by reference Sections 7-109-101 to 1-109-110 and Section 7-108-402.2 of the Colorado revised Statues.

  Notwithstanding  the  above,  nothing  contained  in  this  article,  or  elsewhere  in  this Constitution, or in the Articles of Incorporation, shall be construed to require the Directive Council to indemnify any director, officer, employee, fiduciary, or agent nor to grant to any such person a right of indemnification.

Article XII

ACQUISITION AND DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY

  1. Real Estate. Any council meeting at which decisions are to be made to buy, sell or encumber the real estate or approve new construction on the property will be announced, and the nature of the business publicized at all regular meetings for two weeks prior to the meeting and the resident members shall be notified of said meeting by e-mail not less than ten (10) days before the meeting. Such decisions regarding the real property shall be approved by a vote of the Directive Council.
  1. Organic Division. Should any unfortunate conditions arise which would bring division in the membership of this church, the property shall belong to the members who abide by this constitution. Should there be a question as to who is abiding by this constitution, a board of arbitration shall be appointed by the Directive Council, the association or convention with which the Church is affiliated at the time of division to determine which party of the division is following the constitution.3. Dissolution and Disposition of Property. In the event of dissolution of the Corporation, the property and assets thereof remaining after providing for all obligations shall be distributed pursuant to the Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act at Article 134.11

Article XIII

AMENDMENTS

These articles or rules or order may be altered, amended or stricken out at any regular council meeting provided that copies of the amendment have been presented in writing to the membership and duly publicized at Church meetings for a period of at least two weeks prior to such meeting, and provided further that such change shall not conflict with the articles of incorporation of the Church.

Article XIV

ORGANIZATIONS

No organization shall be formed or considered a part of church activities until it is approved by the Directive Council/Governing Council. Approved organizations must confer with a designated honorary member or officer from time to time regarding their objectives and plans. No organization shall incur financial obligations for the Church to pay, outside budgeted funds or special organization treasury, without the approval of the Directive Council/Governing Council. Each organization shall prepare a program and financial report of the annual meeting of the Church.

Article XV

ORDAINING, LICENSING, AND COMMISSIONING

  1. Ordination. The church shall have the authority to ordain a member who has proven himself/herself to the Directive Council/Spiritual Advisors and having formally offered tobacco. The ordination process shall follow the recognized procedures of the

F.S.I.C.N.A.C.

  1. Licensing. The Directive Council shall have the authority to license a member of the Church who has demonstrated prolonged, consistent, and active ceremonial participation and/or having formally offered tobacco to carry out those spiritual functions and duties as approved by the Directive Council/Chief Spiritual Advisor. The license granted by the Directive Council/Spiritual Advisors may be ongoing and may be for a specified term. The Chief Spiritual Advisor may revoke this license at any time with or without cause.
  1. Commissioning. F.S.I.C.N.A.C. will not commission anyone for any work to be done for the Church.

Article XVI

WAVIER OF NOTICE

CONTRACTS F.S.I.C.N.A.C. will not authorize any officer or officers, official or officials, agent or agents of the Church to enter into any contract for the Church. Whenever any notice is required to be given under the provisions of the State of Colorado Nonprofit Corporation Act or under the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation or the Constitution of the Corporation, a wavier thereof in writing signed by the person or persons entitled to such notice, whether before or after the time stated therein, shall be deemed equivalent to the giving of such notice.

May Building Project

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May Building Project

FOR MANY YEARS, WE AS A COMMUNITY HAVE PLANNED TO CREATE A PLACE FOR CEREMONY. MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE AND OUR POTENTIAL IS SO TREMENDOUS. OUR PLAN TO CREATE A FOUNDATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUAL CULTURE AND TRADITIONS HAS EXPERIENCED A LOT OF RESISTANCE THROUGH THE YEARS. WE HAVE BEEN PEACEFULLY PERFORMING CEREMONIES IN THIS AREA FOR TWENTY YEARS AND HAVE FINALLY REACHED THE POINT OF HAVING A HOME FOR OUR WAY OF LIFE. IT IS IRONIC, THAT IN AN AREA KNOWN FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE WORLD’S SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS, THE INDIGENOUS WAYS OF THIS LAND HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY REPRESSED. THE SAN LUIS VALLEY HAS FOR SOME 12 THOUSAND YEARS, BEEN A SAFE HAVEN OF THE VERY CEREMONIES WE AIM TO PROTECT. FROM THE SPANISH OPPRESSION TO THE EARLY SETTLERS AND MINERS A HUNDRED YEARS AGO AND NOW INTO THE PRESENT DAY, THE CULTURE OF THIS LAND HAS BEEN BRUSHED ASIDE TO MAKE ROOM FOR FOREIGN, INVASIVE CULTURES. ONE THING SHOULD REMAIN TRUE AND THAT IS THAT EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO THE FREE EXPRESSION OF THEIR RELIGION. AS A FEDERAL RIGHT.

 

SUNP0048

 

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 WE ARE MEETING WITH THE POA ON THE 20TH ABOUT OUR DENIED BUILDING EXTENSION AND ARE SUBMITTING OUR CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT WITH THE COUNTY THIS MONTH AND ARE HOPING FOR POSITIVE RESULTS.

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OVER THE YEARS WE HAVE MET WITH A LOT OF RESISTANCE AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO PERSEVERE WITH JOY AND FAITH. ONE OF OUR GREATEST CHALLENGES WAS WHEN OUR BUILDING CONTRACTOR, JIM HAULMAN, ABANDONED OUR PROJECT IN NOVEMBER 2013, WHICH COST US SOMEWHERE AROUND $40,000. NO MATTER WHAT, WE WILL ALWAYS PROTECT OUR FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION. WE WILL CONTINUE TO STAND UP FOR OUR RIGHTS AND WE ARE COMMITTED TO PRESERVING AND SPREADING INDIGENOUS AMERICAN SPIRITUAL CULTURE.

teepee we used for the peyote ceremony

WHAT WE ARE PROPOSING TO DO WOULD BE A GREAT BOON TO SAGUACHE COUNTY AS WELL AS BENEFITING LOCAL REALTY AND LAND VALUE. OUR COMMUNITY ATTRACTS PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. LOCAL BUSINESS’S AND PLACES OF LODGING BENEFIT DRAMATICALLY. PROPERTIES ADJACENT TO OURS AND IN THE AREA WILL ALSO HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE, NOT TO MENTION ALL THE OTHER PROPERTIES THAT ARE CURRENTLY OWNED BY OUR CONGREGATION. THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF OUR AREA, THE UTE TRIBE, WILL BENEFIT SIGNIFICANTLY FROM OUR LOCAL POWWOW. MANY LOCAL NATIVE AMERICAN GROUPS WILL BENEFIT FROM OUR GOURD DANCE AS WELL AS FROM ALL OUR OTHER CEREMONIAL EVENTS. HOPEFULLY PREJUDICE AND RACIAL ANIMOSITIES WILL COME TO AN END AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND IDENTITY WILL BE CELEBRATED.

 

Jamestown, America's first Property Owners Association.

Jamestown, America’s first Property Owners Association.

“In a time when the Ocean is being poisoned, radiation is contaminating our earth, food is being genetically altered to be a pesticide and war has become technologically streamlined. People and other animals are dying of cancer for no apparent reason. We live in a place where there is little hope and yet people will try to stamp out our little church, just because they can. like the people before them, destroying the indigenous to make room for the domestic. In times like these you would think people would feel shame for smashing the dreams and hopes of others. You would think people would exercise kindness and act with dignity.

That is our job, to help the aggrieved, to act with kindness and patience. It is for us to pray for the those who need help and forgive those who are filled with spite. While winds of doom blow stronger, we should hold to the dream of a better world.  Despite the wrongs and injustice of others, we can learn to forgive and allow our selves to be shaped by nature, rather than shaping nature. We could stand in this storm and shake our fists in anger at the storm, or we can occupy our time with love, truth and dignity. Never forget the injustices, but also never let them control your heart. As spiritual citizens it is also our job and obligation to uphold Religious freedom for ourselves as well as for the future generations.”

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.

Click here to read about the POA and the FHA

Sorry sir, this part of the forest is not zoned for religious use

Sorry sir, this part of the forest is not zoned for religious use

Click here to read: The Department of Justice Newsletter: Religious Freedom in Focus Newsletters

TO READ THE FAIR HOUSING ACT CLICK HERE!

 

 

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South East Corner of building

South East Corner of building

Well Truck

Well Truck

Well Truck

A view from the arbor

A view from the arbor

Building site 2013

Building site 2013

Planing the well

Building site

Building site

Eastern View from Building site

View from Building site

teepee we used for the peyote ceremony

POA/HOA and the Fair Housing Act

stock-illustration-13883777-american-eagle-early-woodblock-illustrations

 

Federal Law Prohibits Housing Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act prohibits anyone from refusing to sell or rent housing to a possible buyer or tenant based on that person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This act also prohibits housing discrimination based on family status. A seller or landlord cannot refuse to sell or rent to a buyer or renter who is a parent or guardian of a person under the age of 18.

An HOA’s regulations often give the board of directors the right to approve new buyers or renters. Because an HOA must follow the rules of the Fair Housing Act, an HOA board cannot reject a new resident based on the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or familial status.

The federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S. Code §§ 3601-3619, 3631) prohibit landlords from choosing tenants on the basis of a group characteristic such as race, religion, ethnic background, sex, familial status or disablity.

Sorry sir, this part of the forest is not zoned for religious use

Sorry sir, this part of the forest is not zoned for religious use

“It shall be unlawful to discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race,color, religion , sex, familial status, or national origin 42 U.S.C. 3604(b)”

The FHA applies to:
♠ Direct providers of housing;
♠ Entities and associations that set terms and conditions for housing; and
♠ Entities and associations that provide services and facilities in connection with housing

Courts have held that the FHA Applies to Community
Associations — including POA’s HOA’s and Condo Associations.
♠ Community Associations set rules and covenants that apply to homeowners.
♠ Community Associations provide services or facilities in connection with housing.

♠ Thus, Community Associations are “housing providers” under the FHA.

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♥ Block v. Frischholz, 587 F.3d 771 (7thCir 2009)Plaintiff, an orthodox Jew, sued Condominium Association and Board president for religious discrimination because Board refused to allow
him to have a religious display on his exterior door.

♥ The FHA Applies to Community Associations cont.Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. v.
Key Colony No. 4 Condominium Assoc., 510 F. Supp. 2d 1003 (S.D. Fla. 2007)Plaintiff sued HOA and HOA board members under FHA and Florida housing laws claiming that occupancy restrictions and rules for pool and clubhouse discriminated against families with children.

♥ The FHA Applies to Community Associations Savanna Club Worship Service, Inc. v. Savanna Club
Homeowners’ Association, 456 F. Supp. 2d 1223 (S.D. Fla. 2005)Owners of a religious club sued HOA and board members because the HOA prohibited religious services in common areas
Note: The Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s claims because the HOA applied its restrictions in a neutral manner. The Court recognized, however, that HOA’s are governed by the FHA since they control and regulate certain property rights, such as use of common areas and facilities.

Antique-Patriotic-Eagle-Image-GraphicsFairy

Community Associations:
Restrictive Covenants
♠ Courts across the country have allowed lawsuits to proceed based on discriminatory covenant enforcement.
♠ Racially-restrictive covenants were a major reason for the implementation of the FHA in 1968.
♠ Currently, race, religion, and national origin are major areas of enforcement and risk for
Community Associations.

Community Associations:
Restrictive Covenants cont.Tokh v. Water Tower Court Home Owner Association, 327 Fed. Appx. 630 (7
thCir. 2009).In Tokh, a member of an HOA sued his HOA and its Management Company for national origin and race discrimination after being fined for enlarging a patio in violation of the HOA’s covenants.

Jamestown, America's first Property Owners Association.
Jamestown, America’s first Property Owners Association.

Potential FHA violations
♠ HOA allows religious groups to use a community chapel facility but not non-religious groups
♠ Condominium Association waives fee for Boy Scouts of America to use community room for free but charges other groups
♠ Community pool establishes “adult swim” hours
♠ Community Association-controlled golf course restricts men from playing on Tuesday mornings

stock-illustration-15495289-early-american-advertising-antique-woodblock-illustrations

Civil Violations
♦ Civil Penalties include fines of up to $10,000 for a violation of the FHA and up to $74,000 for multiple
violations
♦ Injunctive and equitable relief to stop and change practices and policies that violate the FHA
♦ Payment of Court costs and attorneys’ fees to the Government
♦ Individual penalties and liability for board members and other individuals!!

Criminal Penalties
♦ Violations of the FHA that involve threats, intimidation, or violence can also lead to criminal fines and imprisonment.

stock-illustration-13883965-american-eagle-early-woodblock-illustrations (1)

How can a renter file a discrimination complaint?

A POA-HOA member who thinks that an HOA has broken a federal fair housing law should contact a local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the agency that enforces the Fair Housing Act, or check the HUD website at www.hud.gov. (POA-HOA members must file the complaint within one year of the alleged discriminatory act.)

HUD will provide a complaint form (POA-HOA members can fill the form out online) and will investigate and decide whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the fair housing law has been broken. If the answer is yes, HUD will typically appoint a mediator to negotiate with the HOA and reach a settlement (called a “conciliation”). If a settlement is later broken, HUD will recommend that the Attorney General file a lawsuit.

If the discrimination is a violation of a state fair housing law, the tenant may file a complaint with the state agency in charge of enforcing the law. In California, for example, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing enforces the state’s two fair housing laws.

Also, instead of filing a complaint with HUD or a state agency, tenants may file lawsuits directly in federal or state court. If a state or federal court or housing agency finds that discrimination has taken place, a tenant may be awarded damages, including any higher rent paid as a result of being turned down, an order directing the landlord to offer the rental to the tenant, and compensation for humiliation or emotional distress.

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To read The Fair Housing Act Click here!

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act

Sec. 800. [42 U.S.C. 3601 note] Short Title
This title may be cited as the “Fair Housing Act”.
Sec. 801. [42 U.S.C. 3601] Declaration of Policy
It is the policy of the United States to provide, within constitutional limitations, for fair housing throughout the United States.
Sec. 802. [42 U.S.C. 3602] Definitions
As used in this subchapter–

    (a) “Secretary” means the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

 

    (b) “Dwelling” means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.

 

    (c) “Family” includes a single individual.

 

    (d) “Person” includes one or more individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, labor organizations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint-stock companies, trusts, unincorporated organizations, trustees, trustees in cases under title 11 [of the United States Code], receivers, and fiduciaries.

 

    (e) “To rent” includes to lease, to sublease, to let and otherwise to grant for a consideration the right to occupy premises not owned by the occupant.

 

    (f) “Discriminatory housing practice” means an act that is unlawful under section 804, 805, 806, or 818 of this title.

 

    (g) “State” means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any of the territories and possessions of the United States.

 

    (h) “Handicap” means, with respect to a person–

 

    (1) a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities,

 

    (2) a record of having such an impairment, or

 

    (3) being regarded as having such an impairment, but such term does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)).

 

    (i) “Aggrieved person” includes any person who–

 

    (1) claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice; or

 

    (2) believes that such person will be injured by a discriminatory housing practice that is about to occur.

 

    (j) “Complainant” means the person (including the Secretary) who files a complaint under section 810.

 

    (k) “Familial status” means one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with–

 

    (1) a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals; or

 

    (2) the designee of such parent or other person having such custody, with the written permission of such parent or other person.

 

    The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of familial status shall apply to any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.

 

    (l) “Conciliation” means the attempted resolution of issues raised by a complaint, or by the investigation of such complaint, through informal negotiations involving the aggrieved person, the respondent, and the Secretary.

 

    (m) “Conciliation agreement” means a written agreement setting forth the resolution of the issues in conciliation.

 

    (n) “Respondent” means–

 

    (1) the person or other entity accused in a complaint of an unfair housing practice; and

 

    (2) any other person or entity identified in the course of investigation and notified as required with respect to respondents so identified under section 810(a).

 

    (o) “Prevailing party” has the same meaning as such term has in section 722 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1988).

[42 U.S.C. 3602 note] Neither the term “individual with handicaps” nor the term “handicap” shall apply to an individual solely because that individual is a transvestite.
Sec. 803. [42 U.S.C. 3603] Effective dates of certain prohibitions

    (a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section and section 807 of this title, the prohibitions against discrimination in the sale or rental of housing set forth in section 804 of this title shall apply:

 

    (1) Upon enactment of this subchapter, to–

 

    (A) dwellings owned or operated by the Federal Government;

 

    (B) dwellings provided in whole or in part with the aid of loans, advances, grants, or contributions made by the Federal Government, under agreements entered into after November 20, 1962, unless payment due thereon has been made in full prior to April 11, 1968;

 

    (C) dwellings provided in whole or in part by loans insured, guaranteed, or otherwise secured by the credit of the Federal Government, under agreements entered into after November 20, 1962, unless payment thereon has been made in full prior to April 11, 1968:

Provided

    , That nothing contained in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this subsection shall be applicable to dwellings solely by virtue of the fact that they are subject to mortgages held by an FDIC or FSLIC institution; and

 

    (D) dwellings provided by the development or the redevelopment of real property purchased, rented, or otherwise obtained from a State or local public agency receiving Federal financial assistance for slum clearance or urban renewal with respect to such real property under loan or grant contracts entered into after November 20, 1962.

 

    (2) After December 31, 1968, to all dwellings covered by paragraph (1) and to all other dwellings except as exempted by subsection (b) of this section.

 

    (b)Nothing in section 804 of this title (other than subsection (c)) shall apply to–

 

    (1) any

single-family house

    sold or rented by an owner:

Provided

    , That such private individual owner does not own more than three such single-family houses at any one time:

Provided further

    , That in the case of the sale of any such single-family house by a private individual owner not residing in such house at the time of such sale or who was not the most recent resident of such house prior to such sale, the exemption granted by this subsection shall apply only with respect to one such sale within any twenty-four month period:

Provided further

    , That such bona fide private individual owner does not own any interest in, nor is there owned or reserved on his behalf, under any express or voluntary agreement, title to or any right to all or a portion of the proceeds from the sale or rental of, more than three such single-family houses at any one time:

Provided further

    , That after December 31, 1969, the sale or rental of any such single-family house shall be excepted from the application of this subchapter only if such house is sold or rented (A) without the use in any manner of the sales or rental facilities or the sales or rental services of any real estate broker, agent, or salesman, or of such facilities or services of any person in the business of selling or renting dwellings, or of any employee or agent of any such broker, agent, salesman, or person and (B) without the publication, posting or mailing, after notice, of any advertisement or written notice in violation of section 804(c) of this title; but nothing in this proviso shall prohibit the use of attorneys, escrow agents, abstractors, title companies, and other such professional assistance as necessary to perfect or transfer the title, or

 

    (2)

rooms or units

    in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his residence.

 

    (c)For the purposes of subsection (b) of this section, a person shall be deemed to be in the business of selling or renting dwellings if–

 

    (1) he has, within the preceding twelve months, participated as principal in three or more transactions involving the sale or rental of any dwelling or any interest therein, or

 

    (2) he has, within the preceding twelve months, participated as agent, other than in the sale of his own personal residence in providing sales or rental facilities or sales or rental services in two or more transactions involving the sale or rental of any dwelling or any interest therein, or

 

    (3) he is the owner of any dwelling designed or intended for occupancy by, or occupied by, five or more families.

Sec. 804. [42 U.S.C. 3604] Discrimination in sale or rental of housing and other prohibited practices
As made applicable by section 803 of this title and except as exempted by sections 803(b) and 807 of this title, it shall be unlawful–

    (a) To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.

 

    (b) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.

 

    (c) To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.

 

    (d) To represent to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available.

 

    (e) For profit, to induce or attempt to induce any person to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

 

    (f)
    (1) To discriminate in the sale or rental, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any buyer or renter because of a handicap of–

 

    (A) that buyer or renter,

 

    (B) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or

 

    (C) any person associated with that buyer or renter.

 

    (2) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with such dwelling, because of a handicap of–

 

    (A) that person; or

 

    (B) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or

 

    (C) any person associated with that person.

 

    (3) For purposes of this subsection, discrimination includes–

 

    (A) a refusal to permit, at the expense of the handicapped person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises, except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may where it is reasonable to do so condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted.

 

    (B) a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; or

 

    (C) in connection with the design and construction of covered multifamily dwellings for first occupancy after the date that is 30 months after the date of enactment of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, a failure to design and construct those dwelling in such a manner that–

 

    (i) the public use and common use portions of such dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons;

 

    (ii) all the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises within such dwellings are sufficiently wide to allow passage by handicapped persons in wheelchairs; and

 

    (iii) all premises within such dwellings contain the following features of adaptive design:

 

    (I) an accessible route into and through the dwelling;

 

    (II) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations;

 

    (III) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and

 

    (IV) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

 

    (4) Compliance with the appropriate requirements of the American National Standard for buildings and facilities providing accessibility and usability for physically handicapped people (commonly cited as “ANSI A117.1″) suffices to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (3)(C)(iii).

 

    (5)

 

    (A) If a State or unit of general local government has incorporated into its laws the requirements set forth in paragraph (3)(C), compliance with such laws shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of that paragraph.

 

    (B) A State or unit of general local government may review and approve newly constructed covered multifamily dwellings for the purpose of making determinations as to whether the design and construction requirements of paragraph (3)(C) are met.

 

    (C) The Secretary shall encourage, but may not require, States and units of local government to include in their existing procedures for the review and approval of newly constructed covered multifamily dwellings, determinations as to whether the design and construction of such dwellings are consistent with paragraph (3)(C), and shall provide technical assistance to States and units of local government and other persons to implement the requirements of paragraph (3)(C).

 

    (D) Nothing in this title shall be construed to require the Secretary to review or approve the plans, designs or construction of all covered multifamily dwellings, to determine whether the design and construction of such dwellings are consistent with the requirements of paragraph 3(C).

 

    (6)

 

    (A) Nothing in paragraph (5) shall be construed to affect the authority and responsibility of the Secretary or a State or local public agency certified pursuant to section 810(f)(3) of this Act to receive and process complaints or otherwise engage in enforcement activities under this title.

 

    (B) Determinations by a State or a unit of general local government under paragraphs (5)(A) and (B) shall not be conclusive in enforcement proceedings under this title.

 

    (7) As used in this subsection, the term “covered multifamily dwellings” means–

 

    (A) buildings consisting of 4 or more units if such buildings have one or more elevators; and

 

    (B) ground floor units in other buildings consisting of 4 or more units.

 

    (8) Nothing in this title shall be construed to invalidate or limit any law of a State or political subdivision of a State, or other jurisdiction in which this title shall be effective, that requires dwellings to be designed and constructed in a manner that affords handicapped persons greater access than is required by this title.

 

    (9) Nothing in this subsection requires that a dwelling be made available to an individual whose tenancy would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others.

Sec. 805. [42 U.S.C. 3605] Discrimination in Residential Real Estate-Related Transactions

    (a) In General.–It shall be unlawful for any person or other entity whose business includes engaging in residential real estate-related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

 

    (b) Definition.–As used in this section, the term “residential real estate-related transaction” means any of the following:

 

    (1) The making or purchasing of loans or providing other financial assistance–

 

    (A) for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling; or

 

    (B) secured by residential real estate.

 

    (2) The selling, brokering, or appraising of residential real property.

 

    (c) Appraisal Exemption.–Nothing in this title prohibits a person engaged in the business of furnishing appraisals of real property to take into consideration factors other than race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status.

Sec. 806. [42 U.S.C. 3606] Discrimination in provision of brokerage services
After December 31, 1968, it shall be unlawful to deny any person access to or membership or participation in any multiple-listing service, real estate brokers’ organization or other service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings, or to discriminate against him in the terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation, on account of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
Sec. 807. [42 U.S.C. 3607] Religious organization or privateclub exemption

    (a) Nothing in this subchapter shall prohibit a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, from limiting the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion, or from giving preference to such persons, unless membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, or national origin. Nor shall anything in this subchapter prohibit a private club not in fact open to the public, which as an incident to its primary purpose or purposes provides lodgings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose, from limiting the rental or occupancy of such lodgings to its members or from giving preference to its members.

 

    (b)
    (1) Nothing in this title limits the applicability of any reasonable local, State, or Federal restrictions regarding the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling. Nor does any provision in this title regarding familial status apply with respect to housing for older persons.

 

    (2) As used in this section “

housing

    for older persons” means housing –

 

    (A) provided under any State or Federal program that the Secretary determines is specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons (as defined in the State or Federal program); or

 

    (B) intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years of age or older; or

 

    (C) intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older, and–

 

    (i) at least 80 percent of the occupied units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older;

 

    (ii) the housing facility or community publishes and adheres to policies and procedures that demonstrate the intent required under this subparagraph; and

 

    (iii) the housing facility or community complies with rules issued by the Secretary for

verification

    of occupancy, which shall–

 

    (I) provide for verification by reliable surveys and affidavits; and

 

    (II) include examples of the types of policies and procedures relevant to a determination of compliance with the requirement of clause (ii). Such surveys and affidavits shall be admissible in administrative and judicial proceedings for the purposes of such verification.

 

    (3) Housing shall not fail to meet the requirements for housing for older persons by reason of:

 

    (A) persons residing in such housing as of the date of enactment of this Act who do not meet the age requirements of subsections (2)(B) or (C):

Provided

    , That new occupants of such housing meet the age requirements of sections (2)(B) or (C); or

 

    (B) unoccupied units:

Provided

    , That such units are reserved for occupancy by persons who meet the age requirements of subsections (2)(B) or (C).

 

    (4) Nothing in this title prohibits conduct against a person because such person has been convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802).

 

    (5)
    (A) A person shall not be held personally liable for monetary damages for a violation of this title if such person reasonably relied, in good faith, on the application of the exemption under this subsection relating to housing for older persons.

 

    (B) For the purposes of this paragraph, a person may only show good faith reliance on the application of the exemption by showing that–

 

    (i) such person has no actual knowledge that the facility or community is not, or will not be, eligible for such exemption; and

 

    (ii) the facility or community has stated formally, in writing, that the facility or community complies with the requirements for such exemption.

Sec. 808. [42 U.S.C. 3608] Administration

    (a) Authority and responsibility

 

    The authority and responsibility for administering this Act shall be in the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

 

    (b) Assistant Secretary

 

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development shall be provided an additional Assistant Secretary.

 

    (c) Delegation of authority; appointment of administrative law judges; location of conciliation meetings; administrative review

 

    The Secretary may delegate any of his functions, duties and power to employees of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or to boards of such employees, including functions, duties, and powers with respect to investigating, conciliating, hearing, determining, ordering, certifying, reporting, or otherwise acting as to any work, business, or matter under this subchapter. The person to whom such delegations are made with respect to hearing functions, duties, and powers shall be appointed and shall serve in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in compliance with sections 3105, 3344, 5372, and 7521 of title 5 [of the United States Code]. Insofar as possible, conciliation meetings shall be held in the cities or other localities where the discriminatory housing practices allegedly occurred. The Secretary shall by rule prescribe such rights of appeal from the decisions of his administrative law judges to other administrative law judges or to other officers in the Department, to boards of officers or to himself, as shall be appropriate and in accordance with law.

 

    (d) Cooperation of Secretary and executive departments and agencies in administration of housing and urban development programs and activities to further fair housing purposes

 

    All executive departments and agencies shall administer their programs and activities relating to housing and urban development (including any Federal agency having regulatory or supervisory authority over financial institutions) in a manner affirmatively to further the purposes of this subchapter and shall cooperate with the Secretary to further such purposes.

 

    (e) Functions of Secretary

 

    The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall–

 

    (1) make studies with respect to the nature and extent of discriminatory housing practices in representative communities, urban, suburban, and rural, throughout the United States;

 

    (2) publish and disseminate reports, recommendations, and information derived from such studies, including an annual report to the Congress–

 

    (A) specifying the nature and extent of progress made nationally in eliminating discriminatory housing practices and furthering the purposes of this title, obstacles remaining to achieving equal housing opportunity, and recommendations for further legislative or executive action; and

 

    (B) containing tabulations of the number of instances (and the reasons therefor) in the preceding year in which–

 

    (i) investigations are not completed as required by section 810(a)(1)(B);

 

    (ii) determinations are not made within the time specified in section 810(g); and

 

    (iii) hearings are not commenced or findings and conclusions are not made as required by section 812(g);

 

    (3) cooperate with and render technical assistance to Federal, State, local, and other public or private agencies, organizations, and institutions which are formulating or carrying on programs to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices;

 

    (4) cooperate with and render such technical and other assistance to the Community Relations Service as may be appropriate to further its activities in preventing or eliminating discriminatory housing practices;

 

    (5) administer the programs and activities relating to housing and urban development in a manner affirmatively to further the policies of this subchapter; and

 

    (6) annually report to the Congress, and make available to the public, data on the race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, and family characteristics of persons and households who are applicants for, participants in, or beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries of, programs administered by the Department to the extent such characteristics are within the coverage of the provisions of law and Executive orders referred to in subsection (f) which apply to such programs (and in order to develop the data to be included and made available to the public under this subsection, the Secretary shall, without regard to any other provision of law, collect such information relating to those characteristics as the Secretary determines to be necessary or appropriate).

 

    (f) The provisions of law and Executive orders to which subsection (e)(6) applies are–

 

    (1) title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;

 

    (2) title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968;

 

    (3) section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;

 

    (4) the Age Discrimination Act of 1975;

 

    (5) the Equal Credit Opportunity Act;

 

    (6) section 1978 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1982);

 

    (7) section 8(a) of the Small Business Act;

 

    (8) section 527 of the National Housing Act;

 

    (9) section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974;

 

    (10) section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968;

 

    (11) Executive Orders 11063, 11246, 11625, 12250, 12259, and 12432; and

 

    (12) any other provision of law which the Secretary specifies by publication in the Federal Register for the purpose of this subsection.

Sec. 808a. [42 U.S.C. 3608a] Collection of certain data

    (a) In general

 

    To assess the extent of compliance with Federal fair housing requirements (including the requirements established under title VI of Public Law 88-352 [42 U.S.C.A. {2000d et seq.] and title VIII of Public Law 90-284 [42 U.S.C.A. {3601 et seq.]), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Secretary of Agriculture shall each collect, not less than annually, data on the racial and ethnic characteristics of persons eligible for, assisted, or otherwise benefiting under each community development, housing assistance, and mortgage and loan insurance and guarantee program administered by such Secretary. Such data shall be collected on a building by building basis if the Secretary involved determines such collection to be appropriate.

 

    (b) Reports to Congress

 

    The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Secretary of Agriculture shall each include in the annual report of such Secretary to the Congress a summary and evaluation of the data collected by such Secretary under subsection (a) of this section during the preceding year.

Sec. 809. [42 U.S.C. 3609] Education and conciliation; conferences and consultations; reports
Immediately after April 11, 1968, the Secretary shall commence such educational and conciliatory activities as in his judgment will further the purposes of this subchapter. He shall call conferences of persons in the housing industry and other interested parties to acquaint them with the provisions of this subchapter and his suggested means of implementing it, and shall endeavor with their advice to work out programs of voluntary compliance and of enforcement. He may pay per diem, travel, and transportation expenses for persons attending such conferences as provided in section 5703 of Title 5. He shall consult with State and local officials and other interested parties to learn the extent, if any, to which housing discrimination exists in their State or locality, and whether and how State or local enforcement programs might be utilized to combat such discrimination in connection with or in place of, the Secretary’s enforcement of this subchapter. The Secretary shall issue reports on such conferences and consultations as he deems appropriate.
Sec. 810. [42 U.S.C. 3610] Administrative Enforcement; Preliminary Matters

    (a) Complaints and Answers. –
    (1)
    (A)

 

    (i) An aggrieved person may, not later than

one year

    after an alleged discriminatory housing practice has occurred or terminated, file a complaint with the Secretary alleging such discriminatory housing practice. The Secretary, on the Secretary’s own initiative, may also file such a complaint.

 

    (ii) Such complaints shall be in writing and shall contain such information and be in such form as the Secretary requires.

 

    (iii) The Secretary may also investigate housing practices to determine whether a complaint should be brought under this section.

 

    (B) Upon the filing of such a complaint–

 

    (i) the Secretary shall serve notice upon the aggrieved person acknowledging such filing and advising the aggrieved person of the time limits and choice of forums provided under this title;

 

    (ii) the Secretary shall, not later than 10 days after such filing or the identification of an additional respondent under paragraph (2), serve on the respondent a notice identifying the alleged discriminatory housing practice and advising such respondent of the procedural rights and obligations of respondents under this title, together with a copy of the original complaint;

 

    (iii) each respondent may file, not later than 10 days after receipt of notice from the Secretary, an answer to such complaint; and

 

    (iv) the Secretary shall make an investigation of the alleged discriminatory housing practice and complete such investigation within

100 days

    after the filing of the complaint (or, when the Secretary takes further action under subsection (f)(2) with respect to a complaint, within 100 days after the commencement of such further action), unless it is impracticable to do so.

 

    (C) If the Secretary is unable to complete the investigation within 100 days after the filing of the complaint (or, when the Secretary takes further action under subsection (f)(2) with respect to a complaint, within 100 days after the commencement of such further action), the Secretary shall notify the complainant and respondent in writing of the reasons for not doing so.

 

    (D) Complaints and answers shall be under oath or affirmation, and may be reasonably and fairly amended at any time.

 

    (2)
    (A) A person who is not named as a respondent in a complaint, but who is identified as a respondent in the course of investigation, may be joined as an additional or substitute respondent upon written notice, under paragraph (1), to such person, from the Secretary.

 

    (B) Such notice, in addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (1), shall explain the basis for the Secretary’s belief that the person to whom the notice is addressed is properly joined as a respondent.

 

    (b) Investigative Report and Conciliation. –
    (1) During the period beginning with the filing of such complaint and ending with the filing of a charge or a dismissal by the Secretary, the Secretary shall, to the extent feasible, engage in conciliation with respect to such complaint.

 

    (2) A conciliation agreement arising out of such conciliation shall be an agreement between the respondent and the complainant, and shall be subject to approval by the Secretary.

 

    (3) A conciliation agreement may provide for binding arbitration of the dispute arising from the complaint. Any such arbitration that results from a conciliation agreement may award appropriate relief, including monetary relief.

 

    (4) Each conciliation agreement shall be made public unless the complainant and respondent otherwise agree and the Secretary determines that disclosure is not required to further the purposes of this title.

 

    (5)
    (A) At the end of each investigation under this section, the Secretary shall prepare a final investigative report containing–

 

    (i) the names and dates of contacts with witnesses;

 

    (ii) a summary and the dates of correspondence and other contacts with the aggrieved person and the respondent;

 

    (iii) a summary description of other pertinent records;

 

    (iv) a summary of witness statements; and

 

    (v) answers to interrogatories.

 

    (B) A final report under this paragraph may be amended if additional evidence is later discovered.

 

    (c) Failure to Comply With Conciliation Agreement. — Whenever the Secretary has reasonable cause to believe that a respondent has

breach

    ed a conciliation agreement, the Secretary shall refer the matter to the Attorney General with a recommendation that a civil action be filed under section 814 for the enforcement of such agreement.

 

    (d) Prohibitions and Requirements With Respect to

Disclosure

    of Information. –
    (1) Nothing said or done in the course of conciliation under this title may be made public or used as evidence in a subsequent proceeding under this title without the written consent of the persons concerned.

 

    (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary shall make available to the aggrieved person and the respondent, at any time, upon request following completion of the Secretary’s investigation, information derived from an investigation and any final investigative report relating to that investigation.

 

    (e)

Prompt Judicial Action

    . –
    (1) If the Secretary concludes at any time following the filing of a complaint that prompt judicial action is necessary to carry out the purposes of this title, the Secretary may authorize a civil action for appropriate temporary or preliminary relief pending final disposition of the complaint under this section. Upon receipt of such authorization, the Attorney General shall promptly commence and maintain such an action. Any temporary restraining order or other order granting preliminary or temporary relief shall be issued in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The commencement of a civil action under this subsection does not affect the initiation or continuation of administrative proceedings under this section and section 812 of this title.

 

    (2) Whenever the Secretary has reason to believe that a basis may exist for the commencement of proceedings against any respondent under section 814(a) and 814(c) or for proceedings by any governmental licensing or supervisory authorities, the Secretary shall transmit the information upon which such belief is based to the Attorney General, or to such authorities, as the case may be.

 

    (f) Referral for State or Local Proceedings. –
    (1) Whenever a complaint alleges a discriminatory housing practice–

 

    (A) within the jurisdiction of a State or local public agency; and

 

    (B) as to which such agency has been certified by the Secretary under this subsection; the Secretary shall refer such complaint to that certified agency before taking any action with respect to such complaint.

 

    (2) Except with the consent of such certified agency, the Secretary, after that referral is made, shall take no further action with respect to such complaint unless–

 

    (A) the certified agency has failed to commence proceedings with respect to the complaint before the end of the 30th day after the date of such referral;

 

    (B) the certified agency, having so commenced such proceedings, fails to carry forward such proceedings with reasonable promptness; or

 

    (C) the Secretary determines that the certified agency no longer qualifies for certification under this subsection with respect to the relevant jurisdiction.

 

    (3)
    (A) The Secretary may certify an agency under this subsection only if the Secretary determines that–

 

    (i) the substantive rights protected by such agency in the jurisdiction with respect to which certification is to be made;

 

    (ii) the procedures followed by such agency;

 

    (iii) the remedies available to such agency; and

 

    (iv) the availability of judicial review of such agency’s action;

 

    are substantially equivalent to those created by and under this title.

 

    (B) Before making such certification, the Secretary shall take into account the current practices and past performance, if any, of such agency.

 

    (4) During the period which begins on the date of the enactment of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and ends 40 months after such date, each agency certified (including an agency certified for interim referrals pursuant to 24 CFR 115.11, unless such agency is subsequently denied recognition under 24 CFR 115.7) for the purposes of this title on the day before such date shall for the purposes of this subsection be considered certified under this subsection with respect to those matters for which such agency was certified on that date. If the Secretary determines in an individual case that an agency has not been able to meet the certification requirements within this 40-month period due to exceptional circumstances, such as the infrequency of legislative sessions in that jurisdiction, the Secretary may extend such period by not more than 8 months.

 

    (5) Not less frequently than every 5 years, the Secretary shall determine whether each agency certified under this subsection continues to qualify for certification. The Secretary shall take appropriate action with respect to any agency not so qualifying.

 

    (g) Reasonable Cause Determination and Effect. –

 

    (1) The Secretary shall, within 100 days after the filing of the complaint (or, when the Secretary takes further action under subsection (f)(2) with respect to a complaint, within 100 days after the commencement of such further action), determine based on the facts whether reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, unless it is impracticable to do so, or unless the Secretary has approved a conciliation agreement with respect to the complaint. If the Secretary is unable to make the determination within 100 days after the filing of the complaint (or, when the Secretary takes further action under subsection (f)(2) with respect to a complaint, within 100 days after the commencement of such further action), the Secretary shall notify the complainant and respondent in writing of the reasons for not doing so.

 

    (2)

 

    (A) If the Secretary determines that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the Secretary shall, except as provided in subparagraph (C), immediately issue a charge on behalf of the aggrieved person, for further proceedings under section 812.

 

    (B) Such charge–

 

    (i) shall consist of a short and plain statement of the facts upon which the Secretary has found reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur;

 

    (ii) shall be based on the final investigative report; and

 

    (iii) need not be limited to the facts or grounds alleged in the complaint filed under section 810(a).

 

    (C) If the Secretary determines that the matter involves the legality of any State or local

zoning

    or other land use law or ordinance, the Secretary shall immediately refer the matter to the Attorney General for appropriate action under section 814, instead of issuing such charge.

 

    (3) If the Secretary determines that no reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the Secretary shall promptly dismiss the complaint. The Secretary shall make public disclosure of each such dismissal.

 

    (4) The Secretary may

not issue a charge

    under this section regarding an alleged discriminatory housing practice after the beginning of the trial of a civil action commenced by the aggrieved party under an Act of Congress or a State law, seeking relief with respect to that discriminatory housing practice.

 

    (h) Service of Copies of Charge. — After the Secretary issues a charge under this section, the Secretary shall cause a copy thereof, together with information as to how to make an election under section 812(a) and the effect of such an election, to be served–

 

    (1) on each respondent named in such charge, together with a notice of opportunity for a hearing at a time and place specified in the notice, unless that election is made; and

 

    (2) on each aggrieved person on whose behalf the complaint was filed.

Sec. 811. [42 U.S.C. 3611] Subpoenas; Giving of Evidence

    (a) In General. — The Secretary may, in accordance with this subsection, issue subpoenas and order discovery in aid of investigations and hearings under this title. Such subpoenas and discovery may be ordered to the same extent and subject to the same limitations as would apply if the subpoenas or discovery were ordered or served in aid of a civil action in the United States district court for the district in which the investigation is taking place.

 

    (b) Witness Fees. — Witnesses summoned by a subpoena under this title shall be entitled to same witness and mileage fees as witnesses in proceedings in United States district courts. Fees payable to a witness summoned by a subpoena issued at the request of a party shall be paid by that party or, where a party is unable to pay the fees, by the Secretary.

 

    (c) Criminal Penalties. –

 

    (1) Any person who willfully fails or neglects to attend and testify or to answer any lawful inquiry or to produce records, documents, or other evidence, if it is in such person’s power to do so, in obedience to the subpoena or other lawful order under subsection (a), shall be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

 

    (2) Any person who, with intent thereby to mislead another person in any proceeding under this title–

 

    (A) makes or causes to be made any false entry or statement of fact in any report, account, record, or other document produced pursuant to subpoena or other lawful order under subsection (a);

 

    (B) willfully neglects or fails to make or to cause to be made full, true, and correct entries in such reports, accounts, records, or other documents; or

 

    (C) willfully mutilates, alters, or by any other means falsifies any documentary evidence;

 

    shall be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Sec. 812. [42 U.S.C. 3612] Enforcement by Secretary

    (a)

Election

    of Judicial Determination. — When a charge is filed under section 810, a complainant, a respondent, or an aggrieved person on whose behalf the complaint was filed, may elect to have the claims asserted in that charge decided in a civil action under subsection (o) in lieu of a hearing under subsection (b). The election must be made not later than 20 days after the receipt by the electing person of service under section 810(h) or, in the case of the Secretary, not later than 20 days after such service. The person making such election shall give notice of doing so to the Secretary and to all other complainants and respondents to whom the charge relates.

 

    (b) Administrative Law Judge Hearing in Absence of Election. — If an election is not made under subsection (a) with respect to a charge filed under section 810, the Secretary shall provide an opportunity for a hearing on the record with respect to a charge issued under section 810. The Secretary shall delegate the conduct of a hearing under this section to an administrative law judge appointed under section 3105 of title 5, United States Code. The administrative law judge shall conduct the hearing at a place in the vicinity in which the discriminatory housing practice is alleged to have occurred or to be about to occur.

 

    (c) Rights of Parties. — At a hearing under this section, each party may appear in person, be represented by counsel, present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and obtain the issuance of subpoenas under section 811. Any aggrieved person may intervene as a party in the proceeding. The Federal Rules of Evidence apply to the presentation of evidence in such hearing as they would in a civil action in a United States district court.

 

    (d) Expedited Discovery and Hearing. –

 

    (1) Discovery in administrative proceedings under this section shall be conducted as expeditiously and inexpensively as possible, consistent with the need of all parties to obtain relevant evidence.

 

    (2) A hearing under this section shall be conducted as expeditiously and inexpensively as possible, consistent with the needs and rights of the parties to obtain a fair hearing and a complete record.

 

    (3) The Secretary shall, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, issue rules to implement this subsection.

 

    (e) Resolution of Charge. — Any resolution of a charge before a final order under this section shall require the consent of the aggrieved person on whose behalf the charge is issued.

 

    (f) Effect of

Trial

    of Civil Action on Administrative Proceedings. — An administrative law judge may not continue administrative proceedings under this section regarding any alleged discriminatory housing practice after the beginning of the trial of a civil action commenced by the aggrieved party under an Act of Congress or a State law, seeking relief with respect to that discriminatory housing practice.

 

    (g) Hearings, Findings and Conclusions, and Order. — (

 

    (1) The administrative law judge shall commence the hearing under this section no later than 120 days following the issuance of the charge, unless it is impracticable to do so. If the administrative law judge is unable to commence the hearing within 120 days after the issuance of the charge, the administrative law judge shall notify the Secretary, the aggrieved person on whose behalf the charge was filed, and the respondent, in writing of the reasons for not doing so.

 

    (2) The administrative law judge shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law within 60 days after the end of the hearing under this section, unless it is impracticable to do so. If the administrative law judge is unable to make findings of fact and conclusions of law within such period, or any succeeding 60-day period thereafter, the administrative law judge shall notify the Secretary, the aggrieved person on whose behalf the charge was filed, and the respondent, in writing of the reasons for not doing so.

 

    (3) If the administrative law judge finds that a respondent has engaged or is about to engage in a discriminatory housing practice, such administrative law judge shall promptly issue an order for such relief as may be appropriate, which may include actual damages suffered by the aggrieved person and injunctive or other equitable relief. Such order may, to vindicate the public interest, assess a

civil penalty

    against the respondent–

 

    (A) in an amount not exceeding $11,000 if the respondent has not been adjudged to have committed any prior discriminatory housing practice;

 

    (B) in an amount not exceeding $27,500 if the respondent has been adjudged to have committed one other discriminatory housing practice during the 5-year period ending on the date of the filing of this charge; and

 

    (C) in an amount not exceeding $55,000 if the respondent has been adjudged to have committed 2 or more discriminatory housing practices during the 7-year period ending on the date of the filing of this charge;

 

    except that if the acts constituting the discriminatory housing practice that is the object of the charge are committed by the same natural person who has been previously adjudged to have committed acts constituting a discriminatory housing practice, then the civil penalties set forth in subparagraphs (B) and (C) may be imposed without regard to the period of time within which any subsequent discriminatory housing practice occurred.

 

    (4) No such order shall affect any contract, sale, encumbrance, or lease consummated before the issuance of such order and involving a

bona fide purchaser

    , encumbrancer, or tenant without actual notice of the charge filed under this title.

 

    (5) In the case of an order with respect to a discriminatory housing practice that occurred in the course of a business subject to a licensing or regulation by a governmental agency, the Secretary shall, not later than 30 days after the date of the issuance of such order (or, if such order is judicially reviewed, 30 days after such order is in substance affirmed upon such review)–

 

    (A) send copies of the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the order, to that governmental agency; and

 

    (B) recommend to that governmental agency appropriate disciplinary action (including, where appropriate, the suspension or revocation of the license of the respondent).

 

    (6) In the case of an order against a respondent against whom another order was issued within the preceding 5 years under this section, the Secretary shall send a copy of each such order to the Attorney General.

 

    (7) If the administrative law judge finds that the respondent has not engaged or is not about to engage in a discriminatory housing practice, as the case may be, such administrative law judge shall enter an order dismissing the charge. The Secretary shall make public disclosure of each such dismissal.

 

    (h) Review by Secretary; Service of Final Order. –

 

    (1) The Secretary may review any finding, conclusion, or order issued under subsection (g). Such review shall be completed not later than 30 days after the finding, conclusion, or order is so issued; otherwise the finding, conclusion, or order becomes final.

 

    (2) The Secretary shall cause the findings of fact and conclusions of law made with respect to any final order for relief under this section, together with a copy of such order, to be served on each aggrieved person and each respondent in the proceeding.

 

    (i) Judicial Review. –

 

    (1) Any party aggrieved by a final order for relief under this section granting or denying in whole or in part the relief sought may obtain a review of such order under chapter 158 of title 28, United States Code.

 

    (2) Notwithstanding such chapter, venue of the proceeding shall be in the judicial circuit in which the discriminatory housing practice is alleged to have occurred, and filing of the petition for review shall be not later than 30 days after the order is entered.

 

    (j) Court

Enforcement of Administrative Order

    Upon Petition by Secretary. –

 

    (1) The Secretary may petition any United States court of appeals for the circuit in which the discriminatory housing practice is alleged to have occurred or in which any respondent resides or transacts business for the enforcement of the order of the administrative law judge and for appropriate temporary relief or restraining order, by filing in such court a written petition praying that such order be enforced and for appropriate temporary relief or restraining order.

 

    (2) The Secretary shall file in court with the petition the record in the proceeding. A copy of such petition shall be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of the court to the parties to the proceeding before the administrative law judge.

 

    (k) Relief Which May Be Granted. –

 

    (1) Upon the filing of a petition under subsection (i) or (j), the court may–

 

    (A) grant to the petitioner, or any other party, such temporary relief, restraining order, or other order as the court deems just and proper;

 

    (B) affirm, modify, or set aside, in whole or in part, the order, or remand the order for further proceedings; and

 

    (C) enforce such order to the extent that such order is affirmed or modified.

 

    (2) Any party to the proceeding before the administrative law judge may intervene in the court of appeals.

 

    (3) No objection not made before the administrative law judge shall be considered by the court, unless the failure or neglect to urge such objection is excused because of extraordinary circumstances.

 

    (l) Enforcement Decree in Absence of Petition for Review. — If no petition for review is filed under subsection (i) before the expiration of 45 days after the date the administrative law judge’s order is entered, the administrative law judge’s findings of fact and order shall be conclusive in connection with any petition for enforcement–

 

    (1) which is filed by the Secretary under subsection (j) after the end of such day; or

 

    (2) under subsection (m).

 

    (m) Court Enforcement of Administrative Order Upon Petition of Any Person Entitled to Relief. — If before the expiration of 60 days after the date the administrative law judge’s order is entered, no petition for review has been filed under subsection (i), and the Secretary has not sought enforcement of the order under subsection (j), any person entitled to relief under the order may petition for a decree enforcing the order in the United States court of appeals for the circuit in which the discriminatory housing practice is alleged to have occurred.

 

    (n) Entry of Decree. — The clerk of the court of appeals in which a petition for enforcement is filed under subsection (1) or (m) shall forthwith enter a decree enforcing the order and shall transmit a copy of such decree to the Secretary, the respondent named in the petition, and to any other parties to the proceeding before the administrative law judge.

 

    (o) Civil Action for Enforcement When Election Is Made for Such Civil Action. –

 

    (1) If an election is made under subsection (a), the Secretary shall authorize, and not later than 30 days after the election is made the Attorney General shall commence and maintain, a civil action on behalf of the aggrieved person in a United States district court seeking relief under this subsection. Venue for such civil action shall be determined under chapter 87 of title 28, United States Code.

 

    (2)

Any

    aggrieved person with respect to the issues to be determined in a civil action under this subsection may intervene as of right in that civil action.

 

    (3) In a civil action under this subsection, if the court finds that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the court may grant as relief any relief which a court could grant with respect to such discriminatory housing practice in a civil action under section 813. Any relief so granted that would accrue to an aggrieved person in a civil action commenced by that aggrieved person under section 813 shall also accrue to that aggrieved person in a civil action under this subsection. If monetary relief is sought for the benefit of an aggrieved person who does not intervene in the civil action, the court shall not award such relief if that aggrieved person has not complied with discovery orders entered by the court.

 

    (p) Attorney’s Fees. — In any administrative proceeding brought under this section, or any court proceeding arising therefrom, or any civil action under section 812, the administrative law judge or the court, as the case may be, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs. The United States shall be liable for such fees and costs to the extent provided by section 504 of title 5, United States Code, or by section 2412 of title 28, United States Code.

Sec. 813. [42 U.S.C. 3613] Enforcement by Private Persons

    (a) Civil Action. –

 

    (1)

 

    (A) An aggrieved person may commence a civil action in an appropriate United States district court or State court not later than

2 years

    after the occurrence or the termination of an alleged discriminatory housing practice, or the breach of a conciliation agreement entered into under this title, whichever occurs last, to obtain appropriate relief with respect to such discriminatory housing practice or breach.

(B)

    The computation of such 2-year period shall not include any time during which an administrative proceeding under this title was pending with respect to a complaint or charge under this title based upon such discriminatory housing practice. This subparagraph does not apply to actions arising from a breach of a conciliation agreement.

 

    (2) An aggrieved person may commence a civil action under this subsection whether or not a complaint has been filed under section 810(a) and without regard to the status of any such complaint, but if the Secretary or a State or local agency has obtained a conciliation agreement with the consent of an aggrieved person, no action may be filed under this subsection by such aggrieved person with respect to the alleged discriminatory housing practice which forms the basis for such complaint except for the purpose of enforcing the terms of such an agreement.

 

    (3) An aggrieved person

may not commence

    a civil action under this subsection with respect to an alleged discriminatory housing practice which forms the basis of a charge issued by the Secretary if an administrative law judge has commenced a hearing on the record under this title with respect to such charge.

 

    (b) Appointment of Attorney by Court. — Upon application by a person alleging a discriminatory housing practice or a person against whom such a practice is alleged, the court may–

 

    (1) appoint an attorney for such person; or

 

    (2) authorize the commencement or continuation of a civil action under subsection (a) without the payment of fees, costs, or security, if in the opinion of the court such person is financially unable to bear the costs of such action.

 

    (c) Relief Which May Be Granted. –

 

    (1) In a civil action under subsection (a), if the court finds that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the court may award to the plaintiff actual and punitive damages, and subject to subsection (d), may grant as relief, as the court deems appropriate, any permanent or temporary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other order (including an order enjoining the defendant from engaging in such practice or ordering such affirmative action as may be appropriate).

 

    (2) In a civil action under subsection (a), the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs. The United States shall be liable for such fees and costs to the same extent as a private person.

 

    (d) Effect on Certain Sales, Encumbrances, and Rentals. — Relief granted under this section shall not affect any contract, sale, encumbrance, or lease consummated before the granting of such relief and involving a

bona fide purchaser

    , encumbrancer, or tenant, without actual notice of the filing of a complaint with the Secretary or civil action under this title.

 

    (e)

Intervention

    by Attorney General. — Upon timely application, the Attorney General may intervene in such civil action, if the Attorney General certifies that the case is of general public importance. Upon such intervention the Attorney General may obtain such relief as would be available to the Attorney General under section 814(e) in a civil action to which such section applies.

Sec. 814. [42 U.S.C. 3614] Enforcement by the Attorney General

    (a) Pattern or Practice Cases. — Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of any of the rights granted by this title, or that any group of persons has been denied any of the rights granted by this title and such denial raises an issue of general public importance, the Attorney General may commence a civil action in any appropriate United States district court.

 

    (b) On Referral of Discriminatory Housing Practice or Conciliation Agreement for Enforcement. –

 

    (1)

 

    (A) The Attorney General may commence a civil action in any appropriate United States district court for appropriate relief with respect to a discriminatory housing practice referred to the Attorney General by the Secretary under section 810(g).

 

    (B) A civil action under this paragraph may be commenced not later than the expiration of

18 months

    after the date of the occurrence or the termination of the alleged discriminatory housing practice.

 

    (2)

 

    (A) The Attorney General may commence a civil action in any appropriate United States district court for appropriate relief with respect to

breach

    of a conciliation agreement referred to the Attorney General by the Secretary under section 810(c).

 

    (B) A civil action may be commenced under this paragraph not later than the expiration of 90 days after the referral of the alleged breach under section 810(c).

 

    (c) Enforcement of Subpoenas. — The Attorney General, on behalf of the Secretary, or other party at whose request a subpoena is issued, under this title, may enforce such subpoena in appropriate proceedings in the United States district court for the district in which the person to whom the subpoena was addressed resides, was served, or transacts business.

 

    (d) Relief Which May Be Granted in Civil Actions Under Subsections (a) and (b). –

 

    (1) In a civil action under subsection (a) or (b), the court–

 

    (A) may award such preventive relief, including a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order against the person responsible for a violation of this title as is necessary to assure the full enjoyment of the rights granted by this title;

 

    (B) may award such other relief as the court deems appropriate, including monetary damages to persons aggrieved; and

 

    (C) may, to vindicate the public interest, assess a

civil penalty

    against the respondent–

 

    (i) in an amount not exceeding $55,000, for a first violation; and

 

    (ii) in an amount not exceeding $110,000, for any subsequent violation.

 

    (2) In a civil action under this section, the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs. The United States shall be liable for such fees and costs to the extent provided by section 2412 of title 28, United States Code.

 

    (e)

Intervention

    in Civil Actions. — Upon timely application, any person may intervene in a civil action commenced by the Attorney General under subsection (a) or (b) which involves an alleged discriminatory housing practice with respect to which such person is an aggrieved person or a conciliation agreement to which such person is a party. The court may grant such appropriate relief to any such intervening party as is authorized to be granted to a plaintiff in a civil action under section 813.

Sec. 814a. Incentives for Self-Testing and Self-Correction

    (a) Privileged Information. –

 

    (1) Conditions For Privilege. — A report or result of a self-test (as that term is defined by regulation of the Secretary) shall be considered to be privileged under paragraph (2) if any person-

 

    (A) conducts, or authorizes an independent third party to conduct, a self- test of any aspect of a residential real estate related lending transaction of that person, or any part of that transaction, in order to determine the level or effectiveness of compliance with this title by that person; and

 

    (B) has identified any possible violation of this title by that person and has taken, or is taking, appropriate corrective action to address any such possible violation.

 

    (2) Privileged Self-Test. — If a person meets the conditions specified in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) with respect to a self-test described in that paragraph, any report or results of that self-test-

 

    (A) shall be privileged; and

 

    (B) may not be obtained or used by any applicant, department, or agency in any –

 

    (i) proceeding or civil action in which one or more violations of this title are alleged; or

 

    (ii) examination or investigation relating to compliance with this title.

 

    (b) Results of Self-Testing. –

 

    (1) In General. — No provision of this section may be construed to prevent an aggrieved person, complainant, department, or agency from obtaining or using a report or results of any self-test in any proceeding or civil action in which a violation of this title is alleged, or in any examination or investigation of compliance with this title if –

 

    (A) the person to whom the self-test relates or any person with lawful access to the report or the results –

 

    (i) voluntarily releases or discloses all, or any part of, the report or results to the aggrieved person, complainant, department, or agency, or to the general public; or

 

    (ii) refers to or describes the report or results as a defense to charges of violations of this title against the person to whom the self-test relates; or

 

    (B) the report or results are sought in conjunction with an adjudication or admission of a violation of this title for the sole purpose of determining an appropriate penalty or remedy.

 

    (2) Disclosure for Determination of Penalty or Remedy. — Any report or results of a self-test that are disclosed for the purpose specified in paragraph (1)(B) –

 

    (A) shall be used only for the particular proceeding in which the adjudication or admission referred to in paragraph (1)(B) is made; and

 

    (B) may not be used in any other action or proceeding.

 

    (c) Adjudication. — An aggrieved person, complainant, department, or agency that challenges a privilege asserted under this section may seek a determination of the existence and application of that privilege in –

 

    (1) a court of competent jurisdiction; or

 

    (2) an administrative law proceeding with appropriate jurisdiction.

 

    (2) Regulations. –

 

    (A) In General. — Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, in consultation with the Board and after providing notice and an opportunity for public comment, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall prescribe final regulations to implement section 814A of the Fair Housing Act, as added by this section.

 

    (B) Self-Test. –

 

    (i) Definition. — The regulations prescribed by the Secretary under subparagraph (A) shall include a definition of the term “self-test” for purposes of section 814A of the Fair Housing Act, as added by this section.

 

    (ii) Requirement for Self-Test. — The regulations prescribed by the Secretary under subparagraph (A) shall specify that a self-test shall be sufficiently extensive to constitute a determination of the level and effectiveness of the compliance by a person engaged in residential real estate related lending activities with the Fair Housing Act.

 

    (iii) Substantial Similarity to Certain Equal Credit Opportunity Act Regulations. — The regulations prescribed under subparagraph (A) shall be substantially similar to the regulations prescribed by the Board to carry out section 704A of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, as added by this section.

 

    (C) Applicability. –

 

    (1) In General. — Except as provided in paragraph (2), the privilege provided for in section 704a of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act or section 814a of the Fair Housing Act (as those sections are added by this section) shall apply to a self-test (as that term is defined pursuant to the regulations prescribed under subsection (a)(2) or (b)(2) of this section, as appropriate) conducted before, on, or after the effective date of the regulations prescribed under subsection (a)(2) or (b)(2), as appropriate.

 

    (2) Exception. — The privilege referred to in paragraph (1) does not apply to such a self-test conducted before the effective date of the regulations prescribed under subsection (a) or (b), as appropriate, if –

 

    (A) before that effective date, a complaint against the creditor or person engaged in residential real estate related lending activities (as the case may be) was –

 

    (i) formally filed in any court of competent jurisdiction; or

 

    (ii) the subject of an ongoing administrative law proceeding;

 

    (B) in the case of section 704a of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the creditor has waived the privilege pursuant to subsection (b)(1)(A)(i) of that section; or

 

    (C) in the case of section 814a of the Fair Housing Act, the person engaged in residential real estate related lending activities has waived the privilege pursuant to subsection (b)(1)(A)(i) of that section.

Sec. 815. [42 U.S.C. 3614a] Rules to Implement Title
The Secretary may make rules (including rules for the collection, maintenance, and analysis of appropriate data) to carry out this title. The Secretary shall give public notice and opportunity for comment with respect to all rules made under this section.
Sec. 816. [42 U.S.C. 3615] Effect on State laws
Nothing in this subchapter shall be constructed to invalidate or limit any law of a State or political subdivision of a State, or of any other jurisdiction in which this subchapter shall be effective, that grants, guarantees, or protects the same rights as are granted by this subchapter; but any law of a State, a political subdivision, or other such jurisdiction that purports to require or permit any action that would be a discriminatory housing practice under this subchapter shall to that extent be invalid.
Sec. 817. [42 U.S.C. 3616] Cooperation with State and local agencies administering fair housing laws; utilization of services and personnel; reimbursement; written agreements; publication in
Federal Register
The Secretary may cooperate with State and local agencies charged with the administration of State and local fair housing laws and, with the consent of such agencies, utilize the services of such agencies and their employees and, notwithstanding any other provision of law, may reimburse such agencies and their employees for services rendered to assist him in carrying out this subchapter. In furtherance of such cooperative efforts, the Secretary may enter into written agreements with such State or local agencies. All agreements and terminations thereof shall be published in the Federal Register.
Sec. 818. [42 U.S.C. 3617] Interference, coercion, or intimidation; enforcement by civil action
It shall be unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by section 803, 804, 805, or 806 of this title.
Sec. 819. [42 U.S.C. 3618] Authorization of appropriations
There are hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.
Sec. 820. [42 U.S.C. 3619] Separability of provisions
If any provision of this subchapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the subchapter and the application of the provision to other persons not similarly situated or to other circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
(Sec. 12 of 1988 Act). [42 U.S.C. 3601 note] Disclaimer of Preemptive Effect on Other Acts
Nothing in the Fair Housing Act as amended by this Act limits any right, procedure, or remedy available under the Constitution or any other Act of the Congress not so amended.
(Sec. 13 of 1988 Act). [42 U.S.C. 3601 note] Effective Date and Initial Rulemaking

    (a) Effective Date. — This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the 180th day beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

 

    (b) Initial Rulemaking. — In consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies, the Secretary shall, not later than the 180th day after the date of the enactment of this Act, issue rules to implement title VIII as amended by this Act. The Secretary shall give public notice and opportunity for comment with respect to such rules.

(Sec. 14 of 1988 Act). [42 U.S.C. 3601 note] Separability of Provisions
If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of the provision to other persons not similarly situated or to other circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Section 901. (Title IX As Amended) [42 U.S.C. 3631] Violations; bodily injury; death; penalties
Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with–

    (a) any person because of his race, color, religion, sex, handicap (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act), familial status (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act), or national origin and because he is or has been selling, purchasing, renting, financing occupying, or contracting or negotiating for the sale, purchase, rental, financing or occupation of any dwelling, or applying for or participating in any service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings; or

 

    (b) any person because he is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from–

 

    (1) participating, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion, sex, handicap (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act), familial status (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act), or national origin, in any of the activities, services, organizations or facilities described in subsection(a) of this section; or

 

    (2) affording another person or class of persons opportunity or protection so to participate; or

 

    (c) any citizen because he is or has been, or in order to discourage such citizen or any other citizen from lawfully aiding or encouraging other persons to participate, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion, sex, handicap (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act), familial status (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act), or national origin, in any of the activities, services, organizations or facilities described in subsection (a) of this section, or participating lawfully in speech or peaceful assembly opposing any denial of the opportunity to so participate–

 

    shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

 

Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)

Antique-Patriotic-Eagle-Image-GraphicsFairy

 

Among other privileges, RLUIPA allows religious groups to work around local zoning codes to construct what they need. All across the nation, religious groups are challenging local residential zoning regulations to build churches, synagogues, soup kitchens, daycare centers, schools and other structures associated with their Spiritual and Religious Organizations.

4

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
A Guide To Federal Religious Land Use Protections
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)
protects religious institutions from unduly burdensome or discriminatory land use regulations. The law was passed unanimously by Congress in 2000, after hearings in which Congress found that houses of worship, particularly those of minority religions and start-up churches, were
disproportionately affected, and in fact often were actively discriminated against, by local land use decisions. Congress also found that, as a whole, religious institutions were treated worse than comparable secular institutions. Congress further found that zoning authorities frequently
were placing excessive burdens on the ability of congregations to exercise their faiths in violation of the Constitution.
In response, Congress enacted RLUIPA. This new law provides a number of important protections for the religious freedom of persons, houses of worship, and religious schools. The full text of RLUIPA is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/housing_rluipa.htm. Below is a summary of the law’s key provisions, with illustrations of the types of cases that may violate the law.

dcefb60ac1556dbfa563ceae2f87fe3f⊕ RLUIPA prevents infringement of religious exercise.
Land use regulations frequently can impede the ability of churches or other religious institutions to carry out their mission of serving the religious needs of their members. Section 2(a) of RLUIPA thus bars zoning restrictions that impose a “substantial burden” on the religious exercise of a person or institution, unless the government can show that it has a “compelling interest” for imposing the restriction and that the restriction is the least restrictive way for the government to further that interest.
Minor costs or inconveniences imposed on religious institutions are insufficient to trigger RLUIPA’s protections. The burden must be “substantial.” And, likewise, once the institution has shown a substantial burden on its religious exercise, the government must show not merely
that it has a rational reason for imposing the restriction, but must show that the reason is “compelling.” stock-illustration-15495289-early-american-advertising-antique-woodblock-illustrations

A church applies for a variance to build a modest addition to its building for Sunday school classes. Despite the church demonstrating that the addition is critical to carrying out its religious mission, that there is adequate space on the lot, and that there would be a negligible impact on traffic and congestion in the area, the city denies the variance.
A Jewish congregation that has been meeting in various rented spaces that have proven inadequate for the religious needs of its growing membership purchases land and seeks to build a synagogue. The town council denies the permit, and the only reason given is “we have enough houses of worship in this town already, and want more businesses.”
Because the religious organizations in these cases have demonstrated a substantial burden on their religious exercise, and the justification offered by the city in both cases is not compelling, these cases likely would be violations of RLUIPA, assuming certain jurisdictional requirements
of the statute are met.

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⊕ Religious institutions must be treated as well as comparable secular institutions.
Section 2(b)(1) of RLUIPA provides that religious assemblies and institutions must be treated at least as well as nonreligious assemblies and institutions. This is known as the “equal terms” provision of RLUIPA.
A mosque leases space in a storefront, but zoning officials deny an occupancy permit since houses of worship are forbidden in that zone. However, fraternal organizations, meeting halls, and place of assembly are all permitted as of right in the same zone. Because the statute on its face favors non-religious places of assembly over religious assemblies, this example would be a violation of 2(b)(1).
⊕ RLUIPA bars discrimination among religions.
Section 2(b)(2) of RLUIPA bars discrimination “against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination.”
A Hindu congregation is denied a building permit despite meeting all of the requirements for height, setback, and parking required by the zoning code. The zoning administrator is overheard making a disparaging remark about Hindus. If it were proven that the permit was denied because the applicants were Hindu, this would
constitute a violation of 2(b)(2).
⊕ Zoning ordinances may not totally exclude religious assemblies.
Section 2(b)(3)(A) of RLUIPA provides: “No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that totally excludes religious assemblies from a jurisdiction.”
A town, seeking to preserve tax revenues, enacts a law that no new churches or other houses of worship will be permitted.
Such total exclusions of religious assemblies are explicitly forbidden by section 2(b)(3)(A).
⊕ RLUIPA forbids laws that unreasonably limit houses of worship.

Section 2(b)(3)(B) of RLUIPA provides: “No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that unreasonably limits religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.”

A city has no zones that permit houses of worship. The only way a church may be built is by having an individual parcel rezoned, a process which in that city takes several years and is extremely expensive. This zoning scheme, if proven to be an unreasonable limitation on houses of worship, would constitute a violation of section 2(b)(3)(B).

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Enforcement of RLUIPA Rights
Religious institutions and individuals whose rights under RLUIPA are violated may bring a private civil action for injunctive relief and damages. The Department of Justice also can investigate alleged RLUIPA violations and bring a lawsuit to enforce the statute. The Department can obtain injunctive, but not monetary, relief. If you believe that your rights under RLUIPA may have been violated and you wish to file a complaint or find out more information about the law, you may write to:

Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

or call the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at

(800) 896-7743. Further information about
RLUIPA is available at the Section website at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/index.html.
Information about the Civil Rights Division’s religious liberties initiative, the First Freedom
Project, is available at www.FirstFreedom.gov. You also may call the Special Counsel for
Religious Discrimination at (202) 353-8622.

stock-illustration-13883777-american-eagle-early-woodblock-illustrations

42 U.S. Code Chapter 21C

§ 2000cc. Protection of land use as religious exercise

(a) Substantial burdens

(1) General rule

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly, or institution—
(A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(B) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(2) Scope of application

This subsection applies in any case in which—
(A) the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability;
(B) the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
(C) the substantial burden is imposed in the implementation of a land use regulation or system of land use regulations, under which a government makes, or has in place formal or informal procedures or practices that permit the government to make, individualized assessments of the proposed uses for the property involved.

(b) Discrimination and exclusion

(1) Equal terms

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution.

(2) Nondiscrimination

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that discriminates against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination.

(3) Exclusions and limits

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that—

(A) totally excludes religious assemblies from a jurisdiction; or

(B) unreasonably limits religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.

Source

(Pub. L. 106–274, § 2,Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 803.)

Short Title

Pub. L. 106–274, § 1,Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 803, provided that: “This Act [enacting this chapter and amending sections 1988, 2000bb–2 and 2000bb–3 of this title] may be cited as the ‘Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000’ ”.

 stock-illustration-13883777-american-eagle-early-woodblock-illustrations

§ 2000cc-1. Protection of religious exercise of institutionalized persons

(a) General rule

No government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an institution, as defined in section 1997 of this title, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person—
(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

(b) Scope of application

This section applies in any case in which—

(1) the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance; or

(2) the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes.

 

Source

(Pub. L. 106–274, § 3,Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 804.)

 Antique-Patriotic-Eagle-Image-GraphicsFairy

§ 2000cc-2. Judicial relief

(a) Cause of action

A person may assert a violation of this chapter as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.

(b) Burden of persuasion

If a plaintiff produces prima facie evidence to support a claim alleging a violation of the Free Exercise Clause or a violation of section 2000cc of this title, the government shall bear the burden of persuasion on any element of the claim, except that the plaintiff shall bear the burden of persuasion on whether the law (including a regulation) or government practice that is challenged by the claim substantially burdens the plaintiff’s exercise of religion.

(c) Full faith and credit

Adjudication of a claim of a violation of section 2000cc of this title in a non-Federal forum shall not be entitled to full faith and credit in a Federal court unless the claimant had a full and fair adjudication of that claim in the non-Federal forum.

(d) Omitted

(e) Prisoners

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to amend or repeal the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (including provisions of law amended by that Act).

(f) Authority of United States to enforce this chapter

The United States may bring an action for injunctive or declaratory relief to enforce compliance with this chapter. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to deny, impair, or otherwise affect any right or authority of the Attorney General, the United States, or any agency, officer, or employee of the United States, acting under any law other than this subsection, to institute or intervene in any proceeding.

(g) Limitation

If the only jurisdictional basis for applying a provision of this chapter is a claim that a substantial burden by a government on religious exercise affects, or that removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, the provision shall not apply if the government demonstrates that all substantial burdens on, or the removal of all substantial burdens from, similar religious exercise throughout the Nation would not lead in the aggregate to a substantial effect on commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes.

 

Source

(Pub. L. 106–274, § 4,Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 804.)

References in Text
This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 106–274, Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 803, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2000cc of this title and Tables.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, referred to in subsec. (e), is Pub. L. 104–134, title I, § 101(a) [title VIII], Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321, 1321–66, as amended. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title of 1996 Amendment note set out under section 3601 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, and Tables.
Codification
Section is comprised of section 4 ofPub. L. 106–274. Subsec. (d) ofsection 4 of Pub. L. 106–274amended section 1988 (b) of this title.

 

Jamestown, America's first Property Owners Association.

Jamestown, America’s first Property Owners Association.

§ 2000cc-3. Rules of construction

(a) Religious belief unaffected

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize any government to burden any religious belief.

(b) Religious exercise not regulated

Nothing in this chapter shall create any basis for restricting or burdening religious exercise or for claims against a religious organization including any religiously affiliated school or university, not acting under color of law.

(c) Claims to funding unaffected

Nothing in this chapter shall create or preclude a right of any religious organization to receive funding or other assistance from a government, or of any person to receive government funding for a religious activity, but this chapter may require a government to incur expenses in its own operations to avoid imposing a substantial burden on religious exercise.

(d) Other authority to impose conditions on funding unaffected

Nothing in this chapter shall—
(1) authorize a government to regulate or affect, directly or indirectly, the activities or policies of a person other than a government as a condition of receiving funding or other assistance; or
(2) restrict any authority that may exist under other law to so regulate or affect, except as provided in this chapter.

(e) Governmental discretion in alleviating burdens on religious exercise

A government may avoid the preemptive force of any provision of this chapter by changing the policy or practice that results in a substantial burden on religious exercise, by retaining the policy or practice and exempting the substantially burdened religious exercise, by providing exemptions from the policy or practice for applications that substantially burden religious exercise, or by any other means that eliminates the substantial burden.

(f) Effect on other law

With respect to a claim brought under this chapter, proof that a substantial burden on a person’s religious exercise affects, or removal of that burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, shall not establish any inference or presumption that Congress intends that any religious exercise is, or is not, subject to any law other than this chapter.

(g) Broad construction

This chapter shall be construed in favor of a broad protection of religious exercise, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this chapter and the Constitution.

(h) No preemption or repeal

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to preempt State law, or repeal Federal law, that is equally as protective of religious exercise as, or more protective of religious exercise than, this chapter.

(i) Severability

If any provision of this chapter or of an amendment made by this chapter, or any application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this chapter, the amendments made by this chapter, and the application of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.

Source

(Pub. L. 106–274, § 5,Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 805.)

References in Text
This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 106–274, Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 803, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2000cc of this title and Tables.

 

 stock-illustration-13883965-american-eagle-early-woodblock-illustrations (1)

 § 2000cc-4. Establishment Clause unaffected

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of the first amendment to the Constitution prohibiting laws respecting an establishment of religion (referred to in this section as the “Establishment Clause”). Granting government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the Establishment Clause, shall not constitute a violation of this chapter. In this section, the term “granting”, used with respect to government funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not include the denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.

Source

(Pub. L. 106–274, § 6,Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 806.)

References in Text

 

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 106–274, Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 803, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2000cc of this title and Tables.
stock-illustration-15495289-early-american-advertising-antique-woodblock-illustrations

§ 2000cc-5. Definitions

In this chapter:

(1) Claimant

The term “claimant” means a person raising a claim or defense under this chapter.

(2) Demonstrates

The term “demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

(3) Free Exercise Clause

The term “Free Exercise Clause” means that portion of the first amendment to the Constitution that proscribes laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

(4) Government

The term “government”—
(A) means—

(i) a State, county, municipality, or other governmental entity created under the authority of a State;
(ii) any branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official of an entity listed in clause (i); and
(iii) any other person acting under color of State law; and
(B) for the purposes of sections 2000cc–2 (b) and 2000cc–3 of this title, includes the United States, a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official of the United States, and any other person acting under color of Federal law.

(5) Land use regulation

The term “land use regulation” means a zoning or landmarking law, or the application of such a law, that limits or restricts a claimant’s use or development of land (including a structure affixed to land), if the claimant has an ownership, leasehold, easement, servitude, or other property interest in the regulated land or a contract or option to acquire such an interest.

(6) Program or activity

The term “program or activity” means all of the operations of any entity as described in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 2000d–4a of this title.

(7) Religious exercise

(A) In general

The term “religious exercise” includes any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.

(B) Rule

The use, building, or conversion of real property for the purpose of religious exercise shall be considered to be religious exercise of the person or entity that uses or intends to use the property for that purpose.

Source

(Pub. L. 106–274, § 8,Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 806.)

References in Text
This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 106–274, Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 803, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2000cc of this title and Tables.

How some controversial cases wound up.

An unrecognized tribe and its eagle feathers

He was a Native American with eagle feathers at a religious gathering of tribes. But not in the eyes of the feds.

In 2006, Robert Soto and Michael Russell attended an American Indian powwow while in possession of eagle feathers, in violation of the federal Eagle Protection Act, which outlaws the killing of bald and golden eagles and even picking their feathers off the ground.

Soto, a Lipan Apache, asserted he was participating in an Indian religious ceremony. The feathers are sacred to Native Americans.

Lipan Apache Robert Soto saw his eagle feathers seized by U.S. agents. He cited a religious freedom law and eventually won their return, but he is still fighting the government on possible future seizures.

But a federal Fish and Wildlife Service agent found his tribe wasn’t federally recognized, and Soto surrendered his feathers. Russell, who is married to Soto’s sister, isn’t American Indian and agreed to pay a fine, according to court papers and the America Bar Association Journal.

Soto, however, petitioned the federal Interior Department to return his feathers. The feds said no, because he wasn’t from a recognized tribe.

Soto and Russell sued the federal government, but a federal district court ruled in favor of the government, rejecting the two men’s First Amendment assertions and their claims under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the same 1993 statute that Indiana legislators used in developing their new state law.

But last August, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and sent the case back to that court after finding the government’s action would violate the federal RFRA.

On March 10, the federal government returned the eagle feathers to Soto. But the legal war isn’t over.

The federal government still maintains it can criminally prosecute Soto and his congregants, so Soto is seeking a preliminary injunction, claiming the feds are violating the federal RFRA, said Luke Goodrich, Soto’s attorney who’s with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

A tea called hoasca

A tea used by a Brazilian faith is to them like wine used by Catholics at communion, but U.S. agents considered the brew an illegal drug.

The religious organization O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal uses a sacramental tea called hoasca, made from two plants native to the Amazon that contains dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogen, in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.

Hoasca is a sacred tea for the religious group O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal. The beverage is made from plants native to the Amazon and contains an illegal drug, a hallucinogen.

EXPAND IMAGE

The religion is a Christian spiritist faith that originated in Brazil and includes Amazonian and indigenous spiritual traditions.

About 140 members of the church live in the United States and use the tea in a sacred communion.

In May 1999, U.S. Customs agents entered the church headquarters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and seized all of its hoasca.

The church became alarmed and cited how the federal government allows an exception for American Indians to use another illegal drug, peyote, in their religious ceremonies.

In fact, the federal RFRA was designed partly to protect the Native Americans’ use of peyote, said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

“They were a legitimate religion, and this was a legitimate ritual of the religion, and Congress wanted to make sure it was protected,” Toobin said of peyote and the 1993 law.

The Uniao do Vegetal, which means “the union of the plants,” cited that federal law in suing the federal government.

“The government has never explained why it has accommodated The Native American Church’s use of peyote (which contains mescaline, also a controlled substance) but cannot accommodate the UDV’s use of hoasca,” the church said in a statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the church’s favor, saying the federal government failed to show a compelling interest to ban the substance for religious use.

“The peyote exception also fatally undermines the government’s broader contention that the Controlled Substances Act establishes a closed regulatory system that admits of no exceptions under RFRA,” the court ruling said.

The IRS employee and Sikh knife

Recently baptized in the Sikh faith, Kawal Tagore went to her job with the IRS in Houston in 2005 carrying a new religious item: a 9-inch kirpan, a small ceremonial sword that resembles a knife but has an edge that is blunted or curved.

Tagore needed to carry the kirpan at all times as a mandatory article of faith.

But the federal government banned her from the building, citing the kirpan as a “dangerous weapon” with a more than 3-inch blade, and she was later fired from her accounting job because she refused to keep the kirpan out of the workplace.

Tagore sued the government under the federal law.

Attorneys for IRS employee Kawal Tagore, a Sikh, argued that her symbolic kirpan wasn't any more dangerous than other objects allowed into a federal building.

Tagore cited how the government allowed the public to enter the federal building with more threatening objects: real 2.5-inch blade knives and metal canes, said her attorneys with the Newar Law Firm and the Becket Fund. Also, federal employees inside the building were allowed to use box cutters and cake knives.

In November, the federal government agreed to settle the case shortly after the start of Tagore’s trial.

The settlement included no admission of wrongdoing, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Tagore’s attorneys described the settlement as “a groundbreaking policy allowing Sikhs and other religious minorities to wear religious symbols and attire in federal buildings,” they said in a statement.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

 

 

Religious Freedom Restoration Act


103RD CONGRESS
1ST SESSION

H.R. 1308

To Protect the free exercise of religion.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 11, 1993

[co-sponsors]
Mr. MCKEON, and Mr. GALLO introduced the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

A BILL
To protect the free exercise of religion.
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993″.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSES.

(a) FINDINGS.–The Congress finds
(1) the framers of the American Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution;

 

(2) laws “neutral” toward religion may substantially burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise;

 

(3) governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;

 

(4) in Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws naeutral toward religion; and

 

(5) the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner and Wisconsin v. Yoder is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing governmental interests.

 

(b) PURPOSES. — The purposes of this Act are –

 

(1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Federal court cases before Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith and to guarantee its application in all cases where free exercise of religion is substantially burdened; and

 

(2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.


SEC. 3. FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION PROTECTED.

 

(a) IN GENERAL. — Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).

 

(b) EXCEPTION. — Government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person –

 

(1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and

 

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

 

(c) JUDICIAL RELIEF. — A person whose religious exercise has been substantially burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.

 

SEC. 4. ATTORNEY FEES.

 

(a) JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS. — Section 722 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1988) is amended by inserting “the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993,” before “or title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964″.

 

(b) ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS. — Section 504(b)(1)(C) of title 5, United States Code, is amended –

 

(1) by striding “and” at the end of clause (ii);

 

(2) by striking the semicolon at the end of clause (iii) and inserting “; and”; and

 

(3) by inserting “(iv) the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993″ after clause (iii).


SEC. 5 DEFINITIONS.

 

As used in this Act –

 

(1) the term “government” includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, and official (or other person acting under color of law) of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State;

 

(2) the term “State” includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory and possession of the United States;

 

(3) the term “demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion; and

 

(4) the term “exercise of religion” means exercise of religion under the first article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

 

SEC. 6. APPLICABILITY.

 

(a) IN GENERAL. — This Act applies to all Federal and State law, and the implementation of that law, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the enactment of this Act.

 

(b) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION. — Federal statutory law adopted after the date of the enactment of this Act is subject to this Act unless such law explicitly excludes such application by reference to this Act.

 

(c) RELIGIOUS BELIEF UNAFFECTED. — Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize any government to substantially burden any religious belief.


SEC. 7. ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE UNAFFECTED.

 

(a) IN GENERAL. — Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of the First Amendment prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion. Granting government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, shall not constitute a violation of this Act.

 

(b) DEFINITION. — As used in this section, the term “granting government funding, benefits, or exemptions” does not include a denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.
———————————————————————————————————

1. The use of Schedule I as a Religious Sacrament:  Gonzales v. O Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (2006)), .

Federal Law Prohibits Housing Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act prohibits anyone from refusing to sell or rent housing to a possible buyer or tenant based on that person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This act also prohibits housing discrimination based on family status. A seller or landlord cannot refuse to sell or rent to a buyer or renter who is a parent or guardian of a person under the age of 18.

An HOA’s regulations often give the board of directors the right to approve new buyers or renters. Because an HOA must follow the rules of the Fair Housing Act, an HOA board cannot reject a new resident based on the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or familial status.

The federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S. Code §§ 3601-3619, 3631) prohibit landlords from choosing tenants on the basis of a group characteristic such as race, religion, ethnic background, sex, familial status or disablity.

“It shall be unlawful to discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race,color, religion , sex, familial status, or national origin 42 U.S.C. 3604(b)”

The FHA applies to:
• Direct providers of housing;
• Entities and associations that set terms and
conditions for housing; and
• Entities and associations that provide services
and facilities in connection with housing

Courts have held that the FHA Applies to Community
Associations — including HOA’s and Condo Associations.
 Community Associations set rules and covenants that apply to
homeowners.
 Community Associations provide services or facilities in
connection with housing.
 Thus, Community Associations are “housing providers” under
the FHA.

Block v. Frischholz, 587 F.3d 771 (7thCir 2009)
Plaintiff, an orthodox Jew, sued Condominium
Association and Board president for religious
discrimination because Board refused to allow
him to have a religious display on his exterior
door.

The FHA Applies to
Community Associations cont.
Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. v.
Key Colony No. 4 Condominium Assoc., 510 F.
Supp. 2d 1003 (S.D. Fla. 2007)
Plaintiff sued HOA and HOA board members
under FHA and Florida housing laws claiming
that occupancy restrictions and rules for pool
and clubhouse discriminated against families
with children.

The FHA Applies to Community
Associations
Savanna Club Worship Service, Inc. v. Savanna Club
Homeowners’ Association, 456 F. Supp. 2d 1223
(S.D. Fla. 2005)
Owners of a religious club sued HOA and board
members because the HOA prohibited religious
services in common areas
Note: The Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s claims because the
HOA applied its restrictions in a neutral manner. The Court
recognized, however, that HOA’s are governed by the FHA since
they control and regulate certain property rights, such as use of
common areas and facilities.

Community Associations:
Restrictive Covenants
 Courts across the country have allowed lawsuits
to proceed based on discriminatory covenant
enforcement.
 Racially-restrictive covenants were a major reason
for the implementation of the FHA in 1968.
 Currently, race, religion, and national origin are
major areas of enforcement and risk for
Community Associations.

♥Community Associations:
Restrictive Covenants cont.
Tokh v. Water Tower Court Home Owner
Association, 327 Fed. Appx. 630 (7
th
Cir. 2009).
In Tokh, a member of an HOA sued his HOA and
its Management Company for national origin and
race discrimination after being fined for enlarging
a patio in violation of the HOA’s covenants.

Potential FHA violations
 HOA allows religious groups to use a community
chapel facility but not non-religious groups
 Condominium Association waives fee for
Boy Scouts of America to use community room
for free but charges other groups
 Community pool establishes “adult swim” hours
 Community Association-controlled golf course
restricts men from playing on Tuesday mornings

Civil Violations
• Civil Penalties include fines of up to $10,000 for a
violation of the FHA and up to $74,000 for multiple
violations
• Injunctive and equitable relief to stop and change
practices and policies that violate the FHA
• Payment of Court costs and attorneys’ fees to the
Government
• Individual penalties and liability for board members
and other individuals!!

Criminal Penalties
 Violations of the FHA that involve threats,
intimidation, or violence can also lead to
criminal fines and imprisonment.

How can a renter file a discrimination complaint?

A tenant who thinks that a landlord has broken a federal fair housing law should contact a local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the agency that enforces the Fair Housing Act, or check the HUD website at www.hud.gov. (A tenant must file the complaint within one year of the alleged discriminatory act.)

HUD will provide a complaint form (tenants can fill the form out online) and will investigate and decide whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the fair housing law has been broken. If the answer is yes, HUD will typically appoint a mediator to negotiate with the landlord and reach a settlement (called a “conciliation”). If a settlement is later broken, HUD will recommend that the Attorney General file a lawsuit.

If the discrimination is a violation of a state fair housing law, the tenant may file a complaint with the state agency in charge of enforcing the law. In California, for example, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing enforces the state’s two fair housing laws.

Also, instead of filing a complaint with HUD or a state agency, tenants may file lawsuits directly in federal or state court. If a state or federal court or housing agency finds that discrimination has taken place, a tenant may be awarded damages, including any higher rent paid as a result of being turned down, an order directing the landlord to offer the rental to the tenant, and compensation for humiliation or emotional distress.

 

substantial burden

  1. The government’s compelling someone to do something that violates his religious beliefs, or prohibiting someone from doing something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
  2. The government’s denying someone a tax exemption or unemployment compensation unless he does something that violates his religious beliefs, or refrains from something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
  3. As to state and federal constitutional regimes, it’s not clear whether the above also applies when the objector’s conduct is merely motivated by his religious beliefs (e.g., the objector thinks it’s a religiously valuable thing for him to stay home on the Sabbath, rather than a religious commandment) and not actually mandated by those beliefs. The federal RFRA, many state RFRAs, and RLUIPA expressly apply to “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by … a system of religious belief.”
  4. The beliefs need not be longstanding, central to the claimant’s religious beliefs, internally consistent, consistent with any written scripture, or reasonable from the judge’s perspective. They need only be sincere.

 

Map of which states are covered by state RFRAs or by state constitutional exemption regimes:

 

 

 

Freedom of Religion

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Freedom of Religion

Click this link to read what the United Nations says about Religious Freedom!

Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

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You have two Freedoms
granted by the First Amendment regarding Religion!

The First Amendment contains two clauses about the Freedom of Religion. The first part is known as the Establishment Clause, and the second as the Free Exercise Clause.

The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing laws that will establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. The courts have interpreted the establishment clause to accomplish the separation of church and state.

The Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion. However, religious actions and rituals can be limited by civil and federal laws.

Religious freedom is an absolute right, and includes the right to practice any religion of one’s choice, or no religion at all, and to do this without government control.

From the 1st Amendment:

 ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 Legal and public foundation

The United States Constitution addresses the issue of religion in two places: in the First Amendment, and the Article VI prohibition on religious tests as a condition for holding public office. The First Amendment prohibits the federal government from making a law “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” This provision was later expanded to state and local governments, through the Incorporation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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 Colonial precedent

Freedom of religion was first applied as a principle in the founding of the colony of Maryland,also founded by the Catholic Lord Baltimore, in 1634.Fifteen years later (1649), the first enactment of religious liberty, the Maryland Toleration Act, drafted by Lord Baltimore, provided: “No person or persons…shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof.” The Maryland Toleration Act was repealed with the assistance of Protestant assemblymen and a new law barring Catholics from openly practicing their religion was passed. In 1657, Lord Baltimore regained control after making a deal with the colony’s Protestants, and in 1658 the Act was again passed by the colonial assembly. This time, it would last more than thirty years, until 1692, when after Maryland’s Protestant Revolution of 1689, freedom of religion was again rescinded. In addition in 1704, an Act was passed “to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province”, preventing Catholics from holding political office. Full religious toleration would not be restored in Maryland until the American Revolution, when Maryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton signed the American Declaration of Independence.

 The First Amendment

In the United States, the religious civil liberties are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The “Establishment Clause,” stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” is generally read to prohibit the Federal government from establishing a national church (“religion”) or excessively involving itself in religion, particularly to the benefit of one religion over another. Following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and through the doctrine of incorporation, this restriction is held to be applicable to state governments as well.

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The “Free Exercise Clause” states that Congress cannot “prohibit the free exercise” of religious practices. The Supreme Court of the United States has consistently held, however, that the right to free exercise of religion is not absolute. For example, in the 19th century, some of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traditionally practiced polygamy, yet in Reynolds v. United States (1879), the Supreme Court upheld the criminal conviction of one of these members under a federal law banning polygamy. The Court reasoned that to do otherwise would set precedent for a full range of religious beliefs including those as extreme as human sacrifice. The Court stated that “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.” For example, if one were part of a religion that believed in vampirism, the First Amendment would protect one’s belief in vampirism, but not the practice. Currently, peyote and ayahuasca are allowed by legal precedent if used in a religious ceremony.

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 The Fourteenth Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the religious civil rights. Whereas the First Amendment secures the free exercise of religion, section one of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of religion, by securing “the equal protection of the laws” for every person:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

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Religious tests

The affirmation or denial of specific religious beliefs had, in the past, been made into qualifications for public office; however, the United States Constitution states that the inauguration of a President may include an “affirmation” of the faithful execution of his duties rather than an “oath” to that effect — this provision was included in order to respect the religious prerogatives of the Quakers, a Protestant Christian denomination that declines the swearing of oaths. The U.S. Constitution also provides that “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification of any Office or public Trust under the United States.” As of 2007, seven states have language included in their constitutions that requires state office-holders to have particular religious beliefs. These states are Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Some of these beliefs (or oaths) were historically required of jurors and witnesses in court. Even though they are still on the books, these provisions have been rendered unenforceable by U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Religious liberty has not prohibited states or the federal government from prohibiting or regulating certain behaviors; i.e. prostitution, gambling, alcohol and certain drugs, although some libertarians interpret religious freedom to extend to these behaviors. However, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a right to privacy or a due process right does prevent the government from prohibiting adult access to birth control, pornography, and from outlawing sodomy between consenting adults and early trimester abortions.

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 The “wall of separation”

Thomas Jefferson wrote that the First Amendment erected a “wall of separation between church and state” likely borrowing the language from Roger Williams, founder of the First Baptist Church in America and the Colony of Rhode Island, who used the phrase in his 1644 book, The Bloody Tenent of Persecution. James Madison, often regarded as the “Father of the Bill of Rights”, also often wrote of the “perfect separation”, “line of separation”, “strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States”, and “total separation of the church from the state”. Controversy rages in the United States between those who wish to restrict government involvement with religious institutions and remove religious references from government institutions and property, and those who wish to loosen such prohibitions. Advocates for stronger separation of church and state emphasize the plurality of faiths and non-faiths in the country, and what they see as broad guarantees of the federal Constitution. Their opponents emphasize what they see as the largely Christian heritage and history of the nation (often citing the references to “Nature’s God” and the “Creator” of men in the Declaration of Independence). Some more socially conservative Christian sects, such as the Christian Reconstructionist movement, oppose the concept of a “wall of separation” and prefer a closer relationship between church and state.

Problems also arise in U.S. public schools concerning the teaching and display of religious issues. In various counties, school choice and school vouchers have been put forward as solutions to accommodate variety in beliefs and freedom of religion, by allowing individual school boards to choose between a secular, religious or multi-faith vocation, and allowing parents free choice among these schools. Critics of American voucher programs claim that they take funds away from public schools, and that the amount of funds given by vouchers is not enough to help many middle and working class parents.

U.S. judges often ordered alcoholic defendants to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or face imprisonment. However, in 1999, a federal appeals court ruled this unconstitutional because the A.A. program relies on submission to a “Higher Power”.

Thomas Jefferson also played a large role in the formation of freedom of religion. He created the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which has since been incorporated into the Virginia State Constitution.

 Other statements

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 Unalienable rights

The United States of America was established on foundational principles by the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;

(based on Thomas Jefferson’s draft.)

 Religious institutions

In 1944, a joint committee of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America and the Foreign Missions Conference of North America, formulated a “Statement on Religious Liberty”

“Religious Liberty shall be interpreted to include freedom to worship according to conscience and to bring up children in the faith of their parents; freedom for the individual to change his religion; freedom to preach, educate, publish and carry on missionary activities; and freedom to organize with others, and to acquire and hold property, for these purposes.”

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 Freedom of religion restoration

Following increasing government involvement in religious matters, Congress passed the 1993 The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A number of states then passed corresponding acts (e.g., Missouri passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act).

The situation of Native Americans in the United States has been problematic since the initial European colonization of the Americas. Aside from the general issues in the relations between Europeans and Native Americans, there has been a historic suppression of Native American religions as well as some current charges of religious discrimination against Native Americans by the U.S. government, that need to be considered.

With the practice of the Americanization of Native Americans, Native American children were sent to Christian boarding schools where they were forced to worship as Christians and traditional customs were banned. Until the Freedom of Religion Act 1978, “spiritual leaders [of Native Americans] ran the risk of jail sentences of up to 30 years for simply practicing their rituals.” The traditional indigenous Sun Dance was illegal from the 1880s (Canada) or 1904 (USA) to the 1980s.

Continuing charges of religious discrimination have largely centered on the eagle feather law, the use of ceremonial peyote, and the repatriation of Native American human remains and cultural and religious objectsPainted Buffalo Skull

Fort Laramie Treaty, 1868

 ARTICLE I.

From this day forward all war between the parties to this agreement shall for ever cease. The government of the United States desires peace, and its honor is hereby pledged to keep it. The Indians desire peace, and they now pledge their honor to maintain it.

If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or property of nay one, white, black, or Indian, subject to the authority of the United States, and at peace therewith, the Indians herein named solemnly agree that they will, upon proof made to their agent, and notice by him, deliver up the wrongdoer to the United States, to be tried and punished according to its laws, and, in case they willfully refuse so to do, the person injured shall be reimbursed for his loss from the annuities, or other moneys due or to become due to them under this or other treaties made with the United States; and the President, on advising with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, shall prescribe such rules and regulations for ascertaining damages under the provisions of this article as in his judgment may be proper, but no one sustaining loss while violating the provisions of this treaty, or the laws of the United States, shall be reimbursed therefor.

Indiginous Rights

  • The eagle feather law, which governs the possession and religious use of eagle feathers, was written with the intention to protect then dwindling eagle populations on one hand while still protecting traditional Native American spiritual and religious customs, to which the use of eagle feather is central, on the other hand. As a result, the possession of eagle feathers is restricted to ethnic Native Americans, a policy that is seen as controversial for several reasons.

  • Peyote, a spineless cactus found in the desert southwest and Mexico, is commonly used in certain traditions of Native American religion and spirituality, most notably in the Native American Church. Prior to the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) in 1978, and as amended in 1994, the religious use of peyote was not afforded legal protection. This resulted in the arrest of many Native Americans and non-Native Americans participating in traditional indigenous religion and spirituality.

  • Native Americans often hold strong personal and spiritual connections to their ancestors and often believe that their remains should rest undisturbed. This has often placed Native Americans at odds with archaeologists who have often dug on Native American burial grounds and other sites considered sacred, often removing artifacts and human remains – an act considered sacrilegious by many Native Americans. For years, Native American communities decried the removal of ancestral human remains and cultural and religious objects, charging that such activities are acts of genocide, religious persecution, and discrimination. Many Native Americans called on the government, museums, and private collectors for the return of remains and sensitive objects for reburial. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which gained passage in 1990, established a means for Native Americans to request the return or “repatriation” of human remains and other sensitive cultural, religious, and funerary items held by federal agencies and federally assisted museums and institutions.

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In the event that your Indigenous spiritual practice is threatened by any organization or individual contact us. Also contact the applicable organizations below if needed. Remember!! you have rights, do not tolerate discrimination and don’t be pushed around!

Religious freedom organizations

Religious Freedom Web Sites

  • America Comments: A Web Magazine
  • First Amendment Cyber-Tribune
  • Liberal Constitutionalists
  • Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
  • The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
  • The Religious Freedom Page
    StudentsThe Singing Stone is not governed by or subject to any political organization or tribal government. As a newly defined denomination of Aboriginal American Spiritual practice, we reserve the right to practice our Religion with the freedom granted to us by the United States Constitution. We are sovereign from all other Indigenous Spiritual groups and individuals in the same way that the Protestant church has amnesty from Catholicism  We are committed to serve the public without discriminating against race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. We refuse to support any group or individual that intends on regulating or restricting the free flowing power of Divinity (or creating the illusion of that)!Morelia
    Terms and Conditions of Use : You browse this site at your own risk, The Singing Stone is not liable for any direct, incidental, consequential, indirect, or punitive damages arising out of your access to or use of this site or any information contained therein. Further, everything on the site is provided to you ‘as is’ without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchant ability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. The information we provide is not intended to be used by persons not involved in bona fied Indigenous traditions. Disclaimer: The information contained on this website has been prepared solely for the purpose of providing information to the visitors of the Site. This information is not intended to be advice on any particular matter.The Site has been carefully compiled by The Singing Stone, but no representation is made or warranty given (either express or implied) as to the completeness or accuracy of the information it contains. The Singing Stone and it’s affiliates’ are not liable for the information on this Site or for consequences of the use of the Site. We will not be liable for any direct or consequential damages arising from the use of the information contained in this Site.The Singing Stone is neither responsible nor liable for the consequences of any information provided as a result of the access to another website or product connected from this Site.No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the publishers.

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act 1978

 

Congressional Seal

 The American Indian Religious Freedom Act 1978

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Public Law 95-341 95th Congress   Joint Resolution American Indian Religious Freedom.

Whereas the freedom of religion for all people is an inherent right, fundamental to the democratic structure of the United States and is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;    Whereas the United States has traditionally rejected the concept of a government denying individuals the right to practice their religion, and as a result, has benefited from a rich variety of religious heritages in this country;   Whereas the religious practices of the American Indian (as well as Native Alaskan and Hawaiian) are an integral part of their culture, tradition, and heritage, such practices forming the basis of Indian identity and value systems;  Whereas the traditional American Indian religions as an integral part of Indian life, are indispensable and irreplaceable;  Whereas the lack of a clear, comprehensive, and consistent Federal policy has often resulted in the abridgment of religious freedom for traditional American Indians;  Whereas such religious infringements result from the lack of knowledge of the insensitive and inflexible enforcement of Federal policies and regulations premised on a variety of laws;  Whereas such laws were designed for such worthwhile purposes as conservation and preservation of natural species and resources but were never intended to relate to Indian religious practices and, there, were passed without consideration of their effect on traditional American Indian religions;  Whereas such laws and policies often deny American Indians access to sacred sites required in their religions, including cemeteries; Whereas such laws at times prohibit the use and possession of sacred objects necessary to the exercise of religious rites and ceremonies; Whereas traditional American Indian ceremonies have been intruded upon, interfered with, and in a few instances banned; Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled, That henceforth it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.

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SEC. 2. The President shall direct that various Federal departments, agencies, and other instrumentalities responsible for the administering relevant laws to evaluate their policies and procedures in consultation with Native traditional religious leaders in order to determine appropriate changes necessary to protect and preserve Native American religious cultural rights and practices. Twelve months after approval of this resolution, the President shall report back to Congress the results of his evaluation, including any changes which were made in administrative policies and procedures, and any recommendations he may have for legislative action.

Approved August 11, 1978

 

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The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (commonly abbreviated to AIRFA) is a US federal law and a joint resolution of Congress that was passed in 1978. It was created to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts and Native Hawaiians.  These rights include, but are not limited to, access of sacred sites, repatriation of sacred objects held in museums, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rites, including within prisons, and use and possession of objects considered sacred.  The Act required policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native religion, based on the First Amendment, and to accommodate access to and use of religious sites to the extent that the use is practicable and is not inconsistent with an agency’s essential functions.  It also acknowledged the prior violation of that right.

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Congress enacted the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) on August 11, 1978, enumerating a federal policy of protecting and preserving the ability of Native Americans to exercise their traditional religious beliefs — including access to traditional religious sites, use and possession of sacred objects and freedom to worship in traditional ways.  Many traditional religious sites are located on federal lands, and there had been a history of obstacles put in the way of Indians wishing to access those sites  to worship there unmolested.  To meet the ex-pressed ends, the Act directed federal agencies to adjust their policies so that their consultations with Native American Tribes encompassed the goals of AIRFA.

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Specifically, AIRFA states:

On and after August 11, 1978, it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.

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For several years after its passage, Native American tribes, environmental organizations and related groups cited AIRFA in litigation in efforts to protect sacred sites, objects and corresponding religious worship.  Unfortunately, ten years after passage of the Act, the United States Supreme Court interpreted ARIFA’s loose language to be merely  a policy statement of the federal government and not judicially enforceable law.  In Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protection Association, the Court announced its belief that the Act “had no teeth in it” and determined that AIRFA did not allow a cause of action for Indians for protection of their religious sites from federal management decisions.

 

While limiting ARIFA’s force in the Lyng decision, the United States Supreme Court did not completely strip AIRFA of all enforcement power.  Instead, the Court’s opinion in Lyng and in subsequent opinions has created procedural requirements tied to the Act.  Specifically, AIRFA requires federal agencies to consider Indian religious concerns in agency actions that have the potential to affect an Indian religious practice or a spiritually significant Indian religious site.

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The fallout from AIRFA and the Lyng decision did create an environment ripe for some positive change.  In 1988, the American Indian Religious Freedom Coalition was formed, hoping to influence Congress to amend AIRFA to fix its limitations. No such amendments occurred at the time, but the American Indian Religious Freedom Coalition (AIRFC) did succeed in its efforts to protect Indian religious freedom by influencing other statutory changes.

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Most significantly, Congress, due to AIRFC’s influence, amended the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).    Enacted in 1992, the amendment allowed for “properties of traditional religious and cultural importance to an Indian tribe” to be eligible for inclusion as National Historic Properties.  In practice, this amendment has potentially allowed for more government-to-government consultation between the federal government and sovereign Indian tribes than any other piece of federal legislation.  The listing of tribal properties as culturally and/or historically significant triggers the federal government’s obligation to consult with tribes before undertaking any action that may affect those properties.

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 An important amendment to AIRFA did occur in 1994, following Congressional subcommittee hearings on the effectiveness of the Act.  Sections were added to AIRFA specifically allowing the ceremonial use of peyote for practitioners of “traditional Indian religions for which the sacramental use of peyote is integral to their practice.”

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The major criticism of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was its inability to enforce its provisions, therefore its inability to provide religious freedom without condition. The act served as more of a joint resolution than an actual law. Its failure to protect certain sacred sites proved detrimental to Native American culture and religion as a whole.  The 1988 Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Association decision represented a unique convergence of religion, law, and land, and confirmed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act as a hollow excess of words

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Due to the criticism of the AIRFA and its inability to enforce the provisions it outlined in 1978.  On June 10, 1994 the House of Representatives, Committee on Natural resources and Subcommittee on Native American Affairs met to bring about H.R. 4155 in order to provide for the management of federal lands in a way that doesn’t frustrate the traditional religions and religious purposes of Native Americans.   Also,H.R. 4230 was set forth to amend the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to provide for the traditional use of peyote as sacrament in religious ceremonies.

Click here to see the AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1994

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Also consider the NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990) and ARPA (Archaeological Resources Protection Act 1979).

 

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Religious_Freedom_Act

and

[1]485 U.S. 439 (1988)

[2]16 U.S.C. 470 (1966)

  • Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protection Association, 485 U.S. 439 (1988).

 

  • American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), 42 USC 1996 (1978) and amendments
  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 USC 470 (1966)

American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994

American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994

Source

(Pub. L. 95–341, § 1,Aug. 11, 1978, 92 Stat. 469.)

Short Title of 1994 Amendment

 

Pub. L. 103–344, § 1,Oct. 6, 1994, 108 Stat. 3125, provided that: “This Act [enacting section 1996a of this title] may be cited as the ‘American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994’.”
Short Title

 

Pub. L. 95–341, as amended, which enacted this section, section 1996a of this title, and a provision set out as a note under this section, is popularly known as the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Federal Implementation of Protective and Preservation Functions Relating to Native American Religious Cultural Rights and Practices; Presidential Report to Congress

 

Pub. L. 95–341, § 2,Aug. 11, 1978, 92 Stat. 470, provided that the President direct the various Federal departments, agencies, and other instrumentalities responsible for administering relevant laws to evaluate their policies and procedures in consultation with native traditional religious leaders to determine changes necessary to preserve Native American religious cultural rights and practices and report to the Congress 12 months after Aug. 11, 1978.
Ex. Ord. No. 13007. Indian Sacred Sites

 

Ex. Ord. No. 13007, May 24, 1996, 61 F.R. 26771, provided:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, in furtherance of Federal treaties, and in order to protect and preserve Indian religious practices, it is hereby ordered:
Section 1. Accommodation of Sacred Sites. (a) In managing Federal lands, each executive branch agency with statutory or administrative responsibility for the management of Federal lands shall, to the extent practicable, permitted by law, and not clearly inconsistent with essential agency functions, (1) accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and (2) avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites. Where appropriate, agencies shall maintain the confidentiality of sacred sites.
(b) For purposes of this order:
(i) “Federal lands” means any land or interests in land owned by the United States, including leasehold interests held by the United States, except Indian trust lands;
(ii) “Indian tribe” means an Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe pursuant to Public Law No. 103–454, 108 Stat. 4791 [see 25 U.S.C. 479a, 479a–1], and “Indian” refers to a member of such an Indian tribe; and
(iii) “Sacred site” means any specific, discrete, narrowly delineated location on Federal land that is identified by an Indian tribe, or Indian individual determined to be an appropriately authoritative representative of an Indian religion, as sacred by virtue of its established religious significance to, or ceremonial use by, an Indian religion; provided that the tribe or appropriately authoritative representative of an Indian religion has informed the agency of the existence of such a site.
Sec. 2. Procedures. (a) Each executive branch agency with statutory or administrative responsibility for the management of Federal lands shall, as appropriate, promptly implement procedures for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of section 1 of this order, including, where practicable and appropriate, procedures to ensure reasonable notice is provided of proposed actions or land management policies that may restrict future access to or ceremonial use of, or adversely affect the physical integrity of, sacred sites. In all actions pursuant to this section, agencies shall comply with the Executive memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” [25 U.S.C. 450 note].
(b) Within 1 year of the effective date of this order, the head of each executive branch agency with statutory or administrative responsibility for the management of Federal lands shall report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, on the implementation of this order. Such reports shall address, among other things, (i) any changes necessary to accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites; (ii) any changes necessary to avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of Indian sacred sites; and (iii) procedures implemented or proposed to facilitate consultation with appropriate Indian tribes and religious leaders and the expeditious resolution of disputes relating to agency action on Federal lands that may adversely affect access to, ceremonial use of, or the physical integrity of sacred sites.
Sec. 3. Nothing in this order shall be construed to require a taking of vested property interests. Nor shall this order be construed to impair enforceable rights to use of Federal lands that have been granted to third parties through final agency action. For purposes of this order, “agency action” has the same meaning as in the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 (13)).
Sec. 4. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, nor does it, create any right, benefit, or trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by any party against the United States, its agencies, officers, or any person.

William J. Clinton.

American Indian Religious Freedom Act

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA, Public Law 95-341), was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on August 12, 1978. President Carter defined the intention of AIRFA well when he stated at the signing ceremony

It is the fundamental right of every American, as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution, to worship as he or she pleases. . . . This legislation sets forth the policy of the United States to protect and preserve the inherent right of American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiian people to believe, express, and exercise their traditional religions.

The Act was introduced in the Senate on December 15, 1977, by Senator James Abourezk (Democrat, South Dakota) and later in the House of Representatives by Representative James Udall (Democrat, New Mexico). The Senate held hearings on AIRFA but the House did not. Testimony in the Senate hearings came primarily from Native Americans and representatives of various government entities. AIRFA was considered and passed in the Senate on April 3, 1978, and in the House on July 18, 1978.President Carter and Secretary of Agriculture Bob Berglud were enthusiastic supporters of AIRFA, as were several senators and congresspersons. The Department of Justice expressed concerns about the effect of AIRFA on existing state and federal laws but was reassured by Representative Udall, who stated that it had “no teeth in it” and was not intended to override existing state laws. President Carter echoed this sentiment and stated that the “act is in no way intended to alter . . . or override existing laws.” With those concerns addressed, AIRFA passed with very little resistance in the House or Senate. Congress passed AIRFA with the intent of eliminating federal interference with the exercise of Native American religious traditions and to compel government agencies to consider AIRFA in the institution and administration of policies and procedures.

AIRFA is divided into two sections. The first section addresses the right of Native Americans to practice their traditional religions. The relevant language states:

Whereas, the freedom of religion for all people is an inherent right, fundamental to the democratic structure of the United States and is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution . . . Whereas traditional American Indian ceremonies have been intruded upon, interfered with, and in a few instances banned: Now therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that henceforth it shall be the policy of the United States to preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions . . . including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rites.

This section of AIRFA is important because it was the first federal legislation specifically addressing Native Americans’ inherent right to freedom of religion.

Section 2 requires that the president direct federal departments and agencies responsible for administering relevant laws to evaluate their policies and procedures in consultation with traditional Native religious leaders and report back to Congress with any recommended changes in one year’s time.

The AIRFA Report

The report committee formed to satisfy Section 2 of AIRFA was chaired by Secretary of the Interior Cecil B. Andrus. The report was submitted to Congress in August of 1979 and detailed the government’s overall failure to protect Native Americans’ religious freedoms. It stated that the failure had primarily stemmed from the “ignorance and misunderstanding on the part of the non-Indian” of Native American religions. The report called for the need for improvements in several areas, including access to sacred objects such as eagle feathers and peyote, access to sacred sites, protection of sacred sites, and the overall double standard in terms of the treatment of European-American versus Native American human remains. The response of government agencies and departments was sporadic and generally dismal. Because AIFRA lacked a clear interpretation of Congress’s intent, primarily due to the use of convoluted language on the lack of penalties for non-compliance, there was little incentive for government response.

The Suppression of Native American Religious Traditions

Native Americans have had their free practice of religion suppressed by every Western nation that sought to colonize the New World. Throughout history, suppressing Native religious practices has been a common practice of those seeking to subjugate a people. It was thought that through the denial of a people’s own culture, they would be easily assimilated into their suppressor’s culture. France, Britain, Spain, and the United States all suppressed Native Americans’ free practice of religion and supported, and often funded, efforts to convert Native Americans to Christianity. Freedom of religion has been the law of the land since the birth of the United States as a nation; however, this basic right, guaranteed to all by the Constitution, has repeatedly been denied to Native Americans.

It is ironic that the first Europeans who would become known as Americans settled here because they were fleeing religious persecution. The United States continued the policy of the earlier colonial governments by actively promoting Christianity to Native Americans. Christian missionaries were hired as Indian agents, tribal administrative control was often placed in the hands of religious denominations, and tribal-held land was repeatedly given away to organizations that promised to build religious schools or churches on it. In 1869, the Board of Indian Commissioners was established with the intended purpose of educating Native Americans in the principles of Christianity. In 1879, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was established in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, by the U.S. government for the education of Native American children. The school’s director, Richard Pratt, stated that his goal was to “[k]ill the Indian and save the man.” The school punished children for wearing Native dress or speaking their own languages and forbade any practice of their Native religious traditions.

Interior Secretary Henry M. Teller holds the distinction of being the first U.S. government representative to order official restrictions on the practice of Native American religious customs. In an 1882 directive Teller ordered an end to all “heathenish dances and ceremonies” on reservations due to their “great hindrance to civilization.” In 1883, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Hiram Price codified the practice of officially restricting Native American religious freedom by creating the Indian Religious Crimes Code. In his 1883 annual report to the secretary of the interior, Price stated

there is no good reason why an Indian should be permitted to indulge in practices which are alike repugnant to common decency and morality; and the preservation of good order on the reservations demands that some active measures should be taken to discourage and, if possible, put a stop to the demoralizing influence of heathenish rites.

In 1892, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas J. Morgan sought to further suppress Native religions by ordering penalties of up to six months in prison for those who repeatedly participated in religious dances or acted as medicine men.

The government’s attempts to suppress and in many instances outright ban Native American religious practices led to one of the bloodiest events in the history of the United States: the Massacre at Wounded Knee. To enforce the ban on the Ghost Dance in accordance with the Indian Religious Crimes Code, the Seventh Calvary was sent into the Lakota Sioux’s Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations to stop the dance and arrest the participants. General Armstrong Custer’s former unit, in response to a dispute over a firearm, attacked and killed approximately 150 Native American men, women, and children on December 29, 1890. Charges of killing innocents were brought against members of the Seventh Calvary, but all were later exonerated. The massacre marked the effective end of the Ghost Dance movement and, according to many historians, signified the end of the Indian Wars.

The Start of a Change in U.S. Policy

The shift toward acknowledging Native American religions, the government’s obligations to the tribes, and their rites as citizens of the United States began in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed John Collier as commissioner of Indian Affairs. Collier issued Bureau of Indian Affairs Circular 2970, “Indian Religious Freedom and Indian Culture,” on January 3, 1934. The circular was sent to all federal agencies and read in part “no interference with Indian religious life or ceremonial expression will hereafter be tolerated.” Collier also guided, with the support of President Roosevelt, the Indian Reorganization Act, commonly known as the Indian New Deal, through Congress. This act dramatically changed U.S. policy by allowing tribal self-government and consolidating individual land allotments back into tribal hands.

In the 1960s, partly in response to a nationwide wave of discontent and a trend toward active protesting of government policies, a renewed movement of Native American activism resulted in the passage of several acts, including AIRFA. Native Americans began to cooperate and organize a pan-Indian movement to push for change through political channels. While there is a long history of pan-Indian movements, many feel that this one had its roots in the forced boarding school programs and the Bureau of Indian Affairs relocation programs. Both programs brought Native Americans from several tribes together in situations in which their common hardships and interests led to increased inter-tribal communication and cooperation.

One of the first politically active Native American groups to form was the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC), created in 1961. NIYC participated in a series of protests calling for the recognition of treaty-granted fishing rights in the state of Washington. The American Indian Movement (AIM), the most vocal and well-known of the Native American activist groups, was formed in 1968 by George Mitchell and Dennis Banks in Minneapolis. AIM participated in the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz, the November 1972 occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C., and the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee.

Largely in response to Native Americans’ well publicized calls for change, a large number of acts were passed by Congress in the late 1960s and 1970s: the Indian Civil Rights Act (PL90-284) in 1968; the Alaska Native Claims Act (PL92-208) in 1971; the Indian Education Act (PL92-318) in 1972; the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (PL93-638) in 1974; the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (PL94-437) in 1976; and the Indian Child Welfare Act (PL95-608) in 1978. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (PL96-95) was passed in 1979 and prohibited the excavation, removal, defacing, or sale of human remains or burial items unless done in accordance with the law.

The increased public awareness of the Native American’s plight led to the creation of the American Indian Policy Review Commission in 1975. Consisting of three senators, three representatives, and five Indian commissioners, the commission oversaw thirty-three task forces reviewing Native American grievances and conditions. The final report was issued in May 1977 and concluded that the government had often interfered in and obstructed the efforts of Native Americans to practice their traditional religious customs. The report was instrumental in the struggle to convince Congress of the need for AIRFA.

Legislation Following AIRFA and AIRFA Amendments

Since 1978, a relatively steady progression of executive orders, memorandums, and legislation has addressed problems with AIRFA and clarified Congress’s intent to the courts. Issues such as access to sacred sites, the ceremonial use of peyote, the rights of Native American prisoners to practice their religions, and the repatriation of human remains and ceremonial objects have all been specifically addressed. The efforts made in addressing the issue of Native Americans’ free practice of religion have not satisfied all, but most would concur that there has been a significant amount of progress made in the nearly three decades since the passage of AIRFA.

President George H. W. Bush signed MAIA, the Museum of the American Indian Act (PL101-185) in 1989 and NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (PL101-601) in 1990. MAIA called for the creation of the Museum of the American Indian and the repatriation of 18,500 Native American remains held by the Smithsonian. NAGPRA calls for museums and federal agencies to return Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural importance to lineal descendents, affiliated tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.

In 1993, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (PL103-141) was passed and signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton. On signing the Act, President Clinton stated that it “reestablishes a standard that better protects all Americans of all faiths . . . in a way that I am convinced is far more consistent with the intent of the Founders of this nation.” In 1994, President Clinton issued a memorandum to every executive department and agency of the government, titled “Policy Concerning Distribution of Eagle Feathers for Native American Religious Purposes.” In his remarks to Native American and Native Alaskan tribal leaders, he said that the memorandum directed the agencies and departments to “cooperate with tribal governments to accommodate whenever possible the need for eagle feathers in the practice of Native American religions.”

The AIRFA amendments (PL103-344) were passed in 1994 to correct the inadequacies of the original Act. The 1978 version of AIRFA was seen by the courts as a policy for executive agencies and as such was not given extensive weight in court decisions. The courts have always distinguished between religious beliefs and religious practices. People are free to choose their religious beliefs, but practices have been repeatedly prohibited by the courts. Polygamy, human sacrifice, and religious customs such as those allowing rape as a penalty for a violation of religious code are all illegal based on the overriding good of the public and existing state and federal laws. In Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith (1990), the Supreme Court ruled that Oregon was within its legal right to fire a Native American employee for the use of peyote in a religious ceremony. The court failed to recognize the religious significance of the peyote use and instead viewed it as an illegal substance not protected under the First Amendment or AIRFA.

Many Native American groups and individuals pushed for amendments to AIRFA, which clarified the legality of peyote use for religious purposes and the distinction between its traditional use and use as a recreational drug. In the hearings held by the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, the late Professor Vine Deloria testified that “We need to make clear that peyote is a sacramental plant used by American Indians in a sacramental way, going back long before the memory of man. Once that clarification is made, there is no possible way to link it to those other drugs.”

The amendments were considered and passed in the House of Representatives on August 8, 1994, and in the Senate on September 26, 1994. The amendments state that “Non-withstanding any other provision of law, the use, possession, or transportation of peyote by an Indian for bona fide traditional ceremonial purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian religion is lawful, and shall not be prohibited by the United States or any state.” The amendment includes a list of several common sense exceptions and a section prohibiting discrimination based on a Native American’s use of peyote in a religious context.

On May 24, 1996, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13007, “Protection and Accommodation of Access to Indian Sacred Sites.” The order states that executive agencies and departments should “accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites. Where appropriate, agencies shall maintain the confidentiality of sacred sites.” It was issued largely in response to the Supreme Court ruling in the Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association. The case resulted from the U.S. Forest Service’s desire to build a road near a Native American religious site. Several tribes were joined by various parties, including the state of California, in seeking a court order to bar the project under AIRFA. The Supreme Court, as stated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, decided that “Whatever rights the Indians may have to use of the area those rights do not divest the Government of its right to use what is, after all, its land.”

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (PL106-274) was signed into law in 2000 by President Clinton. The legislation guarantees access for Native Americans to religious sites located on government property. Section 2 regards the right of Native American prisoners to practice traditional religions. It states, “No government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an institution, . . . even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

Articles of Incorporation

 033

Articles of Incorporation

Of

Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp ( F.S.I.C. NAC corp)

(A Colorado Nonprofit Religious Corporation)

 

    Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, a Colorado nonprofit corporation under Colorado revised statutes, title 7, articles 121-137, as amended from time to time (the “Colorado revised nonprofit corporation act”), adopts the following articles of incorporation for such corporation.

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Article I

Name and Principle office

 

              The name of the corporation is Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado. The principle office of the corporation is 1074 Lariat trail, Crestone, Colorado, 81131.

 

Article II

Duration

 

              The period of its duration shall be perpetual.

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Article III

Purposes

 

This corporation is a nonprofit religious corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person. It is organized under the Nonprofit Religious Corporation Law exclusively for religious, spiritual, and educational purposes. The specific purposes for which this corporation is organized is to be an official affiliate of the Native American Church of Itzachilatlan, recognized by the state of Illinois (file no. 86573429) and to cause and secure in principle and deed, the exercise and expression of aboriginal traditions and other indigenous American religious practices in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, The American Indian Religious Freedom act (42 U.S. Code 1996), and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994 ( Public Law 103-344), and in accordance with  The American Indian Religious Freedom Act 21 U.S. Code 952, 953, and other pertinent laws; to carry out and perform religious and spiritual ceremonies that include but not exclusively limited to; the Name giving rite, burials, marriages, transport and use of peyote, all night prayer vigils with holy sacrament of peyote, sweat lodges, vision quest, coming of age ceremony, pipe ceremony, staff alliance ceremony, ayahuaska, tobacco, spiritual adoption, ceremonies of personal health, The Sundance, pow wows, community gatherings, ceremonial dances, and other rituals and ceremonies of aboriginal peoples of America with religious and cultural intent or passed via alliances with other organizations or churches. In accordance with spiritual aboriginal traditions and under the protection of The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 U.S. Code 1996), The American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994 (Public Law 103-344) and in accordance with 21 U.S. Code 952, 953, and other pertinent laws; Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp in Colorado and its rituals have, as a holy sacrament, medicinal plants including but not limited to, Peyote, Ayahuaska, and tobacco. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp’s objective is to safe keep, administer, protect, facilitate, spread, determine, educate, give full details of, exercise, and express to and for all peoples the indigenous and aboriginal religious ceremonies, ways of spiritual expression, and ways of living according to traditional values. Also its purpose is to promote activities that nourish, stimulate, and further development of human creativity through spiritual expression, cultural identity, cultural art, and historical consciousness, as well as to promote unification of all cultural religious and spiritual workers.

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ARTICLE IV

Inurnment, Dissolution, and Powers

 

  1. This corporation is organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, cultural, educational, spiritual, ceremonial, and scientific purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (1) by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law) or (2) by a corporation contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, this corporation shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes of this corporation.

 

  1. No part of the income or net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, any member, director or officer of the corporation or to any other private individual, except that (1) reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered to or for the corporation affecting one or more of its purposes;(2) reimbursement may be made for any expenses incurred for the corporation by any officer, director, member, agent, or employee, or any other person or corporation pursuant to and upon authorization of the directive council (as defined in Article VII below); and (3) rebates of excess membership dues, fees, or common expense assessments may be made.

 

  1. In the event of dissolution of the corporation, the property and assets thereof remaining after providing for all obligations shall be distributed pursuant to the Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act Article 134.

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ARTICLE V

THE RITUUALS

 

SECTION 1

All rituals and ceremonies of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp are realized with sacred instruments, and include, but are not limited to, plants, bird feathers, animal skins, hides, rattles, drums, stones, staffs, pipes, and dress regalia.

 

SECTION 2

We believe ourselves legitimate and direct heirs to all original ancient indigenous practices, beliefs, and rituals. All rituals and ceremonies of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp are directed with reverence towards our Mother Earth, Father Sun, and the great Creator represented by fire. Accompanying our rituals and ceremonies are sacred traditional songs passed down generations by indigenous peoples for the purpose of ceremonial use.

 

SECTION 3

All rituals of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp are conducted and referred to by a sacred name and a collaborative of custodians whom have legitimate ordination to perform said ceremonies.

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ARCTICLE VI

MEMBERSHIPS AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

SECTION 1

In accordance with Colorado Law, Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp is a non-membership Corporation without formal membership as the term is legally defined under Colorado Law.

 

SECTION 2

Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp will have, upon its inception, informal members separate and apart from definition of Formal membership as defined by the laws of Colorado. Members of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp will be granted recognition as “informal members” as such by organization described in this section.

Informal membership does not give members any rights or privileges associated with operations, management, or legal affairs of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, and therefore informal members will not participate in the act of voting.

 

SECTION 3

Informal members, therefore and further in this section and all sections, will be referred to as membership.

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SECTION 4

Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp membership, in accordance with, The American Indian Religious Freedom act (42 U.S. Code 1996), and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994 ( Public Law 103-344), and in accordance with  The American Indian Religious Freedom Act 21 U.S. Code 952, 953, and other pertinent laws, the rights and freedoms mentioned therein. Therefore granting members all rights and privileges contained therein.

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SECTION 5

There will exist then four types of members

 

SECTION 6

Beneficiary members: Are those who benefit by helping and collaborating with the activities of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp.

 

SECTION 7

Active members: Those who meet or have met the requisites approved by Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp

 

SECTION 8

Honorary Members: Those who voluntarily show their support and are specially recognized by Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp

 

SECTION 9

General Members: Those who participate in a general manner and support the corporation in its activities.

 

SECTION 10

            General assembly: Made up of all, Founding, beneficiary, active and honorary members of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp.

 

SECTION 11

Details of The Four types of members will be expounded upon in the corporations Bylaws

ARTICLE VII

NAMING OF DIRECTIVE COUNCIL

 

Let it be known and constituted that the Founding members hereby known as the Directive Council also for Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp is made up of the following persons as appointed by incorporating agent under the authority and supervision of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp:

 

  1. Christopher Michael Long, 4266 Rambling way, Crestone, CO, 81131
  2. Andrea Marie Long, 4266 Rambling way, Crestone, CO, 81131
  3. Bruce Elaine Waltemyer, 1074 Lariat trail, Crestone, CO, 81131

 

The Directive Councils members form the core governing council of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, these members will always retain all rights and privileges within the corporation as the founding leaders of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, and they can only be removed from position by their own accord. Directive Council members constitute the main governing council and their actions and decisions surpass any decisions made by officers, advisors and or members when it comes to the highest benefit of the Corporation. Their term is indefinite and their positions are only replaced through the act of inheritance with the approval of the other founders.

 

 

ARTICLE VIII

OFFICERS

The Directive Council may appoint a President, one or more vice presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and other such officers as the Directive Council believes will be in the best interest of the corporation (each an “officer”, collectively known as “Officers”). As provided in the by laws, any two or more offices may be held by the same person, except the President and the secretary. The Officers shall have such duties as may be prescribed to them in the Bylaws and shall serve at the direction and pleasure of the Directive Council.

 

 

ARTICLE IX

SPIRITUAL ADVISORS

 

Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp will also have a directive position known as Spiritual Advisor. Spiritual advisors are those who fulfill all requirements and prerequisites as laid out in the Bylaws and are also appointed by the Directive Council and have a good standing with all officers and members as understood within the Bylaws. Spiritual advisors can be members, Officers, and or Directive Council, but being any of the latter does not necessarily mean being a spiritual advisor. Being a Spiritual Advisor is a privilege and requires strenuous prerequisites and community approval. The Spiritual Advisors duties will be to oversee rituals and ceremonies with the upmost highest reverence, integrity, and diligence in accordance with tradition of how they received the altars and authority to conduct said ceremonies. Spiritual Advisors will not be part of (unless they are Officers, members, and or Directive Council) administrative duties, governing, and or day-to-day maintenance of the Corporation. There will be classifications of types and duties of Spiritual advisors as written in the bylaws, but there will be one original Spiritual Advisor that leads all others and all others have to be approved of by the original Spiritual Advisor. The Bylaws will contain the components of what it means to be the original advisor and will lay the foundation and requirements for all others to become Spiritual advisors.

 

 

ARTICLE X

BYLAWS

 

The initial Bylaws of the Corporation shall be as adopted by the Directive Council. The Directive Council and the Corporations Officers shall have power to alter, amend, or repeal the Bylaws from time to time in force and adopt new Bylaws. The Bylaws from the Corporation may contain any provisions for the regulation or management of the affairs of the Corporation that are not inconsistent with the law or these articles of Incorporation, as these articles may from time to time be amended. However, no articles shall have the effect of giving any director or officer of the corporation any proprietary interest in the Corporation’s property or assets, whether during the term of the corporation’s existence or as an incident to its dissolution.

 

 

ARTICLE XI

PERSONAL LIABILITY

 

No member, Officer, Spiritual Advisor or Directive Council member of this Corporation shall be personally liable for the debts or obligations of this Corporation of any nature whatsoever, nor shall any of the property of the members, Officer, advisors, or Directors be subject to the payment of the debts or obligations of this corporation. Nor shall the Corporation be liable for the personal affairs or debts or obligations of any member, Officer, advisor, or director. The Corporation is solely responsible for anything done under the name of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp (unless the Corporations named is used fraudulently) as approved and guided by the directive council. Indemnification will by addressed in the Bylaws. All participants in rituals and ceremonies will agree and consent to the Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp Waiver and release form, either through signing the contract or verbally agreeing to it or most importantly agree to it by the act of participation itself, as long as all participants will be made available copies of the Waiver and release form and will be provided the opportunity to object and or learn more about the Waiver and release form, also that it is clearly stated before the ceremonies that participating is an act agreeing to the Waiver and release Form which will be attached to the Bylaws. All members, officers, Advisors, and Directors will have to have signed a copy of the waiver and release form.

 

 

ARTICLE XII

INITIAL REGISTERED OFFICE AND AGENT

 

The initial registered office of the corporation shall be 1074 Lartiat trail, Crestone CO, 81131. The Initial registered agent at such office shall be, Bruce Elaine Waltemyer, PO 992, Crestone, CO, 81131.

ARTICLE XIII

AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES; CONFLICTS

These Articles of Incorporation may be amended from time to time in the manner set forth in the Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act, provided always that such amendments are consistent with the terms and provisions of the Declaration.

  1. In the event of a conflict between the terms and provisions of these Articles and the terms and provisions of the Declaration, the terms and provisions of the Declaration shall govern and control.
  2. In the event of a conflict between the terms and provisions of these Articles and the terms and provisions of the Bylaws adopted by the Directive Council, the terms and provisions of these Articles shall govern and control.

ARTICLE XIV

INCORPORATOR

The name and address of the incorporator of the corporation is:

Christopher Michael Long, 4266 Rambling Way, PO 591, Crestone, CO, 81131.

ARTICLE XV

WRITTEN CONSENT OF INCORPORATING AGENT ADOPTING BYLAWS

 

I, the undersigned, am the person named as the Incorporating agent by Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp. The name and mailing address of the individual who cause this document to be delivered for filing, and to whom the Secretary of State may deliver notice if filing of this document is refused is; Christopher Michael Long, 4266 Rambling Way, PO 591, Crestone, CO, 81131.

 

Click here to read our BY-LAWS

033

Legal Notice: Terms of Use Agreement

In this agreement & disclaimer (“agreement”) “you” and “your” refer to each website visitor, “we”, us” and “our” refer to Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado, its contractors, agents, employees, officers, directors and affiliates. The Singing Stone provides this site and related services subject to your compliance with the terms and conditions set forth herein. Please read the following information carefully. Disclaimer: This site is provided as-is with no representations or warranties, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non infringement. You assume complete responsibility and risk for use of this site and any and all site-related services. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado, its agents, representatives, and employees are neither responsible nor liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, exemplary, punitive, or other damages arising out of or relating in any way to this site, site-related services and/or content or information contained within the site. Your sole remedy for dissatisfaction with the site or its services is to stop using the site and/or those services. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado shall not be liable to you or your business for any incidental, consequential, special, or punitive damages or lost or imputed profits or royalties arising out of this agreement or any goods or services provided, whether for breach of warranty or any obligation arising therefrom or otherwise, whether liability is asserted in contract or tort (including negligence and strict product liability) and irrespective of whether you have been advised of the possibility of any such loss or damage. Each party hereby waives any claims that these exclusions deprive such party of an adequate remedy. You acknowledge that third party product and service providers advertise their products and services on The Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado web site. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado forms “partnerships” or alliances with some of these vendors from time to time in order to facilitate the provision of these products and services to you. However, you acknowledge and agree that at no time is Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado making any representation or warranty regarding any third party’s products or services, nor will Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado be liable to you or any third party for any claims arising from or in connection with such third party products and services. You hereby disclaim and waive any rights and claims you may have against Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado with respect to third party products and services, to the maximum extent permitted by law. You understand and agree that any material and/or data downloaded or otherwise obtained through the use of the our services is done at your own discretion and risk and that you will be solely responsible for any damage to your computer system or loss of data that results from the download of such material and/or data. We make no warranty regarding any goods or services purchased or obtained or any transactions entered into with Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado no advice or information, whether oral or written, obtained by you from Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado shall create any warranty not expressly made herein. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of certain warranties, so some of the above exclusions may not apply to you. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado at its sole discretion may choose to change the terms, conditions, and operation of this web site at anytime. By using this service the user waives any rights or claims it may have against Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado.The content available through the site is the sole property of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado or its licensors and is protected by copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws. Except as otherwise explicitly agreed in writing, Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado, -owned content received through the site may be downloaded, displayed, reformatted and printed for your personal, non-commercial use only. Content owned by Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado licensor’s may be subject to additional restrictions. You agree not to reproduce, retransmit, distribute, disseminate, sell, publish, broadcast or circulate the content received through the site to anyone, including but not limited to others in the same company or organization without Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado express prior written consent. This Site Is Not A Substitute For Professional Training. The materials posted on http://thesingingstone.com/ are provided for public informational purposes only, and do not constitute individualized advice. Your review of the posted materials does not establish any form of client relationship between you and Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado. You should consult a qualified professional to determine your current situation, and how it may apply to you. Dissatisfaction: In the event that you are not satisfied with this website, please contact us. In the meantime you may stop using it. Link Disclaimer: Links to other sites are provided only as a courtesy to The Singing Stone/Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado website visitors. These links do not constitute an endorsement of products, services or information provided by other sites. Further, the inclusion of links to other sites does not imply that the other sites have given permission for inclusion of these links, or that there is any relationship between Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado and the linked site. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of others web sites. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado hereby disclaims any representations or warranties expressed on any site other than our own. Copyright: All content within this site, including, but not limited to text, software, graphics, logos, icons, and images are the property of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado except as provided herein, no portion of the materials on these pages may be reprinted or republished in any form without the express written permission of the firm. Permission is granted to print copies of informational articles for your own use and review, provided that source attributions and copyright notices are maintained.Trademark: We reserve all of our rights in the graphic image and text, any other images, our trade names and trademarks, and any intellectual property rights. The Singing Stone, Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado, trade names, trademarks, logos and service names and similar proprietary marks shall not be reprinted or displayed in any form without the express written permission of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado. The unique trade dress of the site is also a service mark of Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado. Email Transmissions: When you send The Singing Stone/Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado an electronic mail transmission, the electronic mail transmission is not necessarily secure and is not encrypted. Accordingly, email transmissions are not necessarily protected from unauthorized access. Transmission of email is at your own risk. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado cannot accept responsibility for your transmission of confidential information or any obligation with respect to that information not submitted over the secure server. Governing Law: By using this site, you submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state of Colorado and federal courts having jurisdiction in the state of Colorado, and you waive any jurisdictional, venue, or inconvenient forum objections to such courts. You agree that, if an agent for you (i.e., an internet service provider, employee, etc.) used our services on your behalf, you are nonetheless bound as a principal by all terms and conditions herein. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp, of Crestone Colorado may modify these terms of use at any time by making such modification on this page. By using this site and/or any services related thereto, you agree that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms of use. Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan of Colorado Native American Church Corp ( F.S.I.C. NAC corp). (A Colorado Nonprofit Religious Corporation)
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Members Only Songs

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Religious Rights

Aside

 Religious Rights

If you are are experiencing Religious persecution click the links below to learn what to do about it.
  To read about the fair housing act and The Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

 Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)

Click here to Read the American Indian Religious Freedom Act !

Click here to read The Universal Declaration of Human Rights!

The Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. The office is headed by Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook. We monitor religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom

department_of_state.svgInternational Coalition for Religious Freedom  “is a non-profit, non-sectarian, educational organization dedicated to defending the religious freedom of all, regardless of creed, gender, or ethnic origin.

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice,  created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.

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The First Amendment Center, We support the First Amendment and build understanding of its core freedoms through education, information and entertainment.

Religious Tolerance, Ontario consultants on religious tolerance. An awesome site!

American Center for Law and Justice  (ACLJ) and its globally affiliated organizations are committed to ensuring the ongoing viability of freedom and liberty in the United States and around the world.

American Civil Liberties Union,The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions), CHANGING RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS IN A CHANGING WORLD.

CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

First Freedom Center , The mission of the First Freedom Center is to advance the fundamental human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

Image result for First Freedom Center

The Leadership Conference,

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, The Research Institute of The ERLC represents an evangelical think tank that includes university and seminary presidents, academic deans, professors, lawyers, doctors, theologians, and other evangelical scholars.

The Freedom Forum On Line, The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, and the rights to assemble and to petition the government.

Liberty Counsel, Restoring the culture by advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the family.

People For the American Way, Our America respects diversity, nurtures creativity and combats hatred and bigotry.

 

The Rutherford Institute, Dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights.

Religion Link, All of our writers have years of experience in the field of religion reporting. They are well versed in the many religions and issues that are covered in mainstream media.

USCIRF, is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

Concerned Women for America, through its Board of Trustees has established Religious Liberty as one of its seven core issues on which we focus our efforts.

Liberty Institute, Unfortunately, religious liberty is under attack — in our churches, in our schools and in the public arena – like never before in American history.

American Religious Freedom, Protecting religious freedom for all Faiths.

La Piedra que Canta Afiliación

Afiliación

 Afiliación con la piedra que canta implica varias cosas. Primero y más importante es la protección bajo la Ley de Libertad Religiosa indio americano como miembro de La Iglesia Nativa Americana y / o profesional de buena fe de la tradición espiritual de América Indígena.

membership card back, spanish

membership card Spanish

Paso 1. Usted tendrá que llenar nuestra solicitud de adhesión (Abajo).

Paso 2. Haga una donación para la suscripción de Membership.

Miembro General Durante un año es de $ 100

Convertirse en un miembro de por vida por $ 1000

(EE.UU. Dólares Americanos)

  • Problemas? no hay dinero? Consulte con nosotros, somos muy flexibles.
  • Pregunta acerca de las tarifas de grupos, proteja a su grupo, Congregación y la familia.
  • 25% de descuento senior y veteranos.

Le enviaremos su tarjeta por correo, Tendrá un ID #. En el caso de que alguien necesita para verificar su membresía (Ley con la observancia empleador, etc.), simplemente pídale que llame a nuestro número para verificar su membresía. También existe la opción en línea de verificación a través de nuestro sitio así. Háganos saber si usted quiere beneficios específicos tales como exenciones religiosas. Sólo tienes que escribir cualquier comentario o peticiones en la aplicación anterior.

Privilegios de los miembros:

  • La prueba de la membresía en EE.UU.
  • asistir a las ceremonias
  • Patrocinador ceremonias privadas.
  • Tener una voz en las reuniones del consejo.
  • Servir en los comités.
  • Recibir boletines trimestrales.**
  • Sea parte de nuestra red internacional.
  • Tener a corto plazo se mantiene en nuestros jardines comunitarios.
  • Tenga cuidado de los niños y los beneficios educativos.
  • Tienen descuentos miembros especiales.
  • Participar en retiros y clases *.
  • Tener acceso y el uso de nuestras instalaciones *.
  • tener una suscripción para los miembros de acceso en nuestro sitio web. **
  • Llega a ser elegible para asistir a ceremonias especiales *.
  • Llega a ser elegible para vivir como un residente de la comunidad *.
  • Llega a ser elegible para ocupar cargos directivos *.
  • Llega a ser elegible para las decisiones de cuidado de la salud y el entierro nativo*.

* Consulte con nosotros acerca de los requisitos de elegibilidad y restricciones.

** Para conectarse a nuestros miembros sólo suscripción de nuestro sitio web, utilice su dirección de correo electrónico como nombre de usuario e introduzca su Membresía ID # pase.

Tenemos cuatro diferentes niveles de membresía en función de participación. Al participar y estar más involucrados en las actividades, uno puede tener más privilegios y responsabilidades de nuestra comunidad. Uno puede incluso convertirse en un miembro mediante la participación solo. El registro puede ser concedida, prorrogado o levantado por la piedra que canta (The Singing Stone) en cualquier momento.

The Singing Stone Membership

Membership

Membership with The Singing Stone implies several things. First and foremost is Protection under The American Indian Religious Freedom Act as a member of The Native American Church and/or bona fide practitioner of Indigenous American spiritual Tradition.

membership cardmembership card back

Click here to read about The American Indian Religious Freedom Act!

Click here to read about our Freedom of Religion!

As a member you will have Special exempt status and be protected in the use of Sacraments, Instruments and Regalia.

Step 1. You will have to fill out our membership application (Below).

Step 2. Make a donation for subscription to Membership.

General Membership For one year is $100

Become a lifetime member for $1000

  • All Members are Protected under The American Indian Religious Freedom act, The First Amendment
    and The United Nations Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Ask about group rates, protect your group, Congregation and family.
  • Senior and veterans 25% discount. $75 for a General Membership.
  • Problems? no money? Check with us, we are very flexible.

 

We will send your card in the mail, It will have an I.D.#. In the event that anyone needs to verify your Membership (Law enforcement- Employer, etc.), simply have them call our number to verify your Membership. There is also the online option of verification through our site as well. Let us know If you want specific benefits such as Religious exemptions. Just type any comments or requests in the application above.

Membership Privileges:

  • Protection under The A.I.R.F.A.
  • Attend ceremonies
  • Sponsor private Ceremonies.
  • Have a voice at council meetings.
  • Serve on committees.
  • Receive quarterly newsletters.**
  • Be a part of our International network.
  • Have short term stays on our Community grounds.
  • Have Child care and Educational benefits.
  • Have special Member discounts.
  • Take part in retreats and classes*.
  • Have access and use of our facilities*.
  • Gain a subscription to members only access on our Website.**
  • Become eligible To attend special ceremonies*.
  • Become eligible to live as a community resident*.
  • Become eligible for Leadership roles*.
  • Become eligible for Health Care decisions and Native burial*.
Click here to get a copy of our waiver and release form.
 * Inquire with us about Eligibility Requirements and restrictions.

** To log on to our Members only subscription of our website, use your email address as your user name and enter your Membership I.D.# as the pass word.

We have four different levels of membership depending on your involvement with The Singing Stone. By participating and being more involved in activities, one can have more privileges and Responsibilities in our community. One can even become a member through participation alone. Membership can be granted, extended or terminated by The Singing Stone at any time.

 

Inipi Wakan

 Sweat Lodge

Inipi Wakan

Said to be the oldest rite, the Sweat Lodge Ceremony is one of purification. Individuals crawl to the left (ladies first) and clockwise to their spots. Hot lava rocks are heated outside of the lodge on a fire. They are then carried into a cloth covered willow frame hut to be placed into a pit. After the door is shut the inside of the lodge is pitch black with the exception of the red stones which we often refer to as the Grandmothers and Grandfathers.

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 Herbs such as cedar and sweetgrass are then placed on the stones to assist in the healing of the Ceremony. Hot steam envelopes the lodge as the leader pours water upon the glowing stones. The loud drum throbs steadily as the singers join in with the appropriate songs. Participants are encouraged to connect in their own prayer to Great Spirit (God) while focusing on what is needing attention at that particular time. When the time is right someone calls out, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin! or All of My Relations! The flap is then opened. We do this for 4 doors and then exit the lodge to enjoy a feast together.

Feb 2015 MIAMI-PUERTO RICO 190Feb 2015 MIAMI-PUERTO RICO 268Feb 2015 MIAMI-PUERTO RICO 148

Fire          Sweat Lodge Preparatory Details                                                                                                     

The Singing Stone would like to warmly invite you back to the womb of the mother in our traditional Inipi or sacred sweat lodge ceremony.

sacred fire

Arriving 1/2 hour to 1 hour prior to the stated time for each inipi is suggested. By arriving early individuals become better acquainted and allows them time to make prayer ties. These ties are used in to project intentions (make prayers) before hand. Details like this may vary according to the situation or the intercessor. Lodges may last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Please bring a towel and a change of clothing if necessary. Women typically wear a long dress that covers the shoulders or a skirt and t-shirt. Men usually wear swim trunks. We would ask that women having their sacred menses or moon time to stay out of the lodge in order to maintain the energy in a flowing manner. Ladies on menses are welcome to stay in the house if they like. Please leave your pets at home and do not attend our Ceremonies intoxicated. We are happy to offer a clean, drug free environment.

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In our lineage it is tradition to offer tobacco to the person pouring water so we require everyone to bring this offering. We do not place a fee on Ceremonies. However, donations are what helps us to continue offering Native Teachings. We can always use donations of firewood, flat cedar leaf, sweetgrass, prayer tie material, and blankets. Monetary donations are the most needed. We look forward to joining in prayer to share with one another.

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Sun Dance Songs

Sun Dance Songs

Solicitar canción? Song Requests?

¿Preguntas? Questions?

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Subject

Your Message

august08-02111

We will be adding additional songs when we get the chance.

Click to play songs:

Wanbli Gleska

Eca Wanbli Gleska wan,

U kta kehapi K’un,

Wana U welo, Wana U welo, Wana E yelo.

Eca Wanbli Gleska wan,

U kta kehapi K’un,

Wana U welo, Wana U welo, Wana E yelo.

A Spotted Eagle,                                                                                                                           

You said was coming,                                                                                                                          

He is coming now, He is coming now, He is here now.                                                                        

A Spotted Eagle,                                                                                                                             

You said was coming,                                                                                                                       

He is coming now, He is coming now, He is here now.

Un águila manchado,                                                                                                                           

usted dijo que vendría.                                                                                                                      

Él está viniendo ahora, Él está viniendo ahora, Él está aquí 

ahora.                                                  

 Un águila manchado,                                                                                                                           

usted dijo que vendría.                                                                                                                      

Él está viniendo ahora, Él está viniendo ahora, Él está aquí ahora.

Tunkasila

Tunkasila, wama yanka yo

Le miye ca nawajin yelo. 

Wama yanka yo

Le miye ca nawajin yelo.

Grandfather, behold me.

This is me, I am standing.

Behold me.

This is me, I am standing.

Abuelo, me miran.

Este soy yo, estoy de pie. 

Me miran.

Este soy yo, estoy de pie.

Black Tail Deer Song

Maka kic’un pi, maka kic’un pi, sinte sapela maka kic’in pi,

tuwa eheha wayelo, Maka kic’un pi, sinte sapela maka kic’un pi, tuwa eheha wayelo

They wear their earth, they wear their earth, black tail deer wear their earth.

Someone I have made say they wear their earth, black tail deer wear their earth.

Llevan su tierra, llevan su suciedad, venados de cola negras llevan su suciedad.
Alguien que he creado, dicen que llevan sus suciedad, venados de cola negras llevan su suciedad.

Black Tail Deer Song

Le miye ca tanin ya nawajin yelo, Le miye ca tanin ya nawajin yelo,

Sinte sapela le miye ca tanin ye nawajin yelo.

Le miye ca tanin ya nawajin yelo,

Sinte sapela le miye ca tanin ye nawajin yelo.

English

This is me visible I am standing, This is me visible I am standing,

The black tail deer, visible I am standing.

This is me visible I am standing,

The black tail deer, visible I am standing.

Espanol

Este soy yo, visible, aquí de pie. Este soy yo, visible, aquí  de pie.

Venado de cola negra, visible ante ti estoy de pie.

Este soy yo, visible aquí de pie

Venado de cola negra, visible ante ti estoy de pie.

 Prayer Song

Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye.

Makasitomniyan hoye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye.

English

Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say

All over the world a voice I send, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say.

Espanol

Escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir

En todo el mundo una voz  envío, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir.

 Dancing Song

Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo, Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo, Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo.

Inyan wasicun ca ,waci yau welo wayankiyeyo, Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo.

English

Take a look as I come dancing, Take a look as I come dancing, Take a look as I come dancing.

The white stone spirits, take a look as I come dancing, Take a look as I come dancing.

Espanol

Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando, Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando, Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando,

Los espíritus  de piedra blanca, ven a mirar, que vengo bailando, Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando.

Canupa song

Oyate wama yanka po.

Canupa wakan ca.

Yuha cewaki yelo.

Oyate yanipi kta ca.

Leca mu welo.

People take a look at me.

There is a pipe that is sacred

Therefore, i pray with it.

The people will live.

That is why i do this.

La gente toma un vistazo a mí.

Hay una pipa que es sagrado

Por lo tanto, yo rezo con ella.

Las personas vivirán.

Es por eso que hago esto.

Piercing Song 1 (vocable)

 Piercing Song 2 (vocable)

Sun Dance Vocable 1

Owl Song 1

Mother Earth/Bear

Spider Song 3

Kola wayanka  yo -he

Iktomi Oyate wan waniyankuyeyo -he

Siyotanka hot anin ya waniyankuyeyo -he

Friend take a look -he

A spider nation is coming to see you -he 

Blowing his eagle bone whistle he is coming to see you -he

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The Singing Stone

The Singing Stonelogo FSICC7

The Singing Stone is a Religious Organization dedicated to preserving Native American Spiritual Ceremonies and Culture. We do this through the practice of Indigenous Rites in a Traditional manner. By providing services to the public as a Sacred Community, we aim to help all those who may be interested in experiencing and learning about the Spiritual Lineages and philosophies of The Americas. Everyone will benefit from our project, our county, area businesses, Reality and our struggling Property owners association.

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Click here to Donate!

We Cry out for help, so that we may be able to have the facilities and Infrastructure needed to function as a Community of the Native American church. Donating to The Singing Stone will help us function as a Ceremonial Institute, a  Private School and a Spiritual Sanctuary for anyone seriously interested in being immersed in Aboriginal American culture.

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Our grounds will allow Spiritual Leaders and Elders from all over, to conduct a variety Traditional Ceremonies and Pre-Hispanic Rites throughout the year. With the appropriate Funding we will not only be able to Function as a Church and Community, but also create an Indigenous Burial Grounds.

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Help us now in our efforts to restore the Dignity of this Sacred Continent by securing a firm Foundation For the Generations to come. Help us serve the public in a way that can not only remind us of our Ancient American past, but also let us all take part in it. Donate to The Singing Stone, The sacred Fire of Itzachilatlan of Colorado (Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan Colorado Corp.) and The Native American Church.

 

 These Funds will serve to facilitate Vision Quest (hanbleceya), Traditional Song Practice, Sun Dance, Pow Wow (and many other dances) as well as Tipi Meetings, Yuwipi, Lowanpi and Sacred Pipe Ceremonies (Canupa).

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Our goal is also to serve as a Church, but also will be available for everyone in our area who will use it respectfully. We are involved with Veterans, Rehabilitation, Young Adults as well as a Teen Center, we care for the Elderly, and also deal with Interfaith Education.

WaldorfPowwow

Help us now and know that these precious American Traditions will stand strong and be supported in a time where Industrialization and domestication threaten them to Extinction. Donate to preserve the Integrity of Indigenous spiritual Traditions of this Continent for the Generations to come!

Aho, Mitakuye Oyasin!

  We are a Colorado Religious Nonprofit, so you can make your tax deductible donations now!

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Saguache

DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES

PETA WAKAN

DECLARACIÓN DE PRINCIPIOS DEL FUEGO SAGRADO DE ITZACHILATLAN

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DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES OF SACRED FIRE OF ITZACHILATLAN

(From our southern Brothers and Sisters, translations pending)

Nosotros nos reconocemos como una nación y un pueblo originario que acepta y reconoce su conexión con el Gran Misterio. Reconocemos la existencia primaria de la Tierra, el Aire, el Agua y el Fuego como origen y fuente de la vida, nos reconocemos como dadores de la vida y como tales son nuestra primera y más cercana Familia.

We recognize as a nation and a people originally accepts and recognizes its connection to the Great Mystery. We recognize the primary existence of Earth, Air, Water and Fire as the origin and source of life, we recognize ourselves as givers of life and as such are our first and closest family.

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Reconocemos la relación con todos los seres y principios que devienen del mismo origen. Asumimos nuestro legítimo derecho como herederos y depositarios del saber originario, para practicar las enseñanzas e instrucciones contenidas en las tradiciones de nuestros Ancestros. Reconocemos en nuestra conciencia, el propósito de ser absolutamente todo lo que somos capaces de ser, y así realizar nuestro potencial como expresión viviente de la Creación.

We recognize the connection with all beings and principles become the same origin. We take our legitimate right as heirs and custodians of knowledge originates, to practice the teachings and instructions contained in the traditions of our ancestors. We recognize in our consciousness, in order to be absolutely everything that we can be, and realize our potential as a living expression of Creation.

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Reconocemos el mismo origen y la misma hermandad con todos lo seres de esta tierra, y somos conscientes de que las diferentes formas de credo no nos separan. No imponemos una doctrina o un credo sino la propia búsqueda del conocimiento y creencia. Proponemos así, espacios rituales para que cada uno tenga un encuentro consigo mismo y con lo sagrado, entendiendo lo sagrado como una experiencia y una relación personal.

We recognize the same origin and the same brotherhood with all beings of this earth, and we are aware that different forms of belief not separate us. We do not impose a doctrine or creed but the very pursuit of knowledge and belief. And propose ritual spaces for everyone to have a meeting with himself and the sacred, understanding the sacred as an experience and a personal relationship.

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Reconocemos el camino de las plantas sagradas como maestras de poder y de enseñanza, para usarlas como sacramento, buscando y respetando su manejo ritual y su forma ancestral como vehículo para alcanzar un estado de conciencia y sanidad, rechazando el uso irresponsable del poder de estas abuelas.

We recognize the path of sacred power plants as teachers and teaching, for use as a sacrament, seeking and respecting their ritual use and its ancestral form as a vehicle to reach a state of consciousness and healing, rejecting the irresponsible use of the power of these grandmothers.

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La Palabra como verbo creador y del Bien Decir, convoca el sueño del Gran Espíritu y exige su realización. Reconocemos el poder de la palabra como la expresión de la verdad de nuestro ser interior cuando la levantamos a las cuatro direcciones del Universo: Queremos ser lo que decimos que somos; queremos hacer lo que nos comprometemos; queremos caminar con el valor de nuestra palabra, con un compromiso de integridad con lo que a través de ella expresamos; por ello nuestro compromiso de usarla y sostenerla, haciendo de la Palabra una acción para nuestra vida.

The word as a verb, creator and Said Well, announces the dream of the Great Spirit and demands its realization. We recognize the power of speech and the expression of the truth of our inner being when got to the four directions of the universe: We want to be what we say we are; we do what we promise; we walk with the value of our word, with a commitment to integrity with which we express through it; hence our commitment to use and hold, making the word action in our lives.

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Nuestro camino incluye a todas las personas, a todas las razas, naciones y pueblos de las cuatro direcciones de esta Tierra. Es nuestra decisión y deseo, existir en balance de armonía con todo lo existente, para así honrar nuestras relaciones, en el entendimiento de la unidad de la Gran Familia de la Vida.

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Our path includes all people, all races, nations and peoples of the four directions of the earth. It is our decision and desire, balance exist in harmony with all existence in order to honor our relationships, understanding of the unity of the Great Family of Life.

En este deseo y en este conocimiento formamos la organización espiritual ecuménica Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan, y declaramos nuestra disposición de hacerla una organización legal, con presencia y reconocimiento a nivel internacional.

Black and White sash

In this desire and this knowledge form the ecumenical spiritual organization Itzachilatlan Sacred Fire, and declare our willingness to make it a legal organization with presence and international recognition.

Nuestro compromiso para sostener estas formas significa un trabajo permanente para generar espacios y templos para juntar los distintos saberes originarios, dentro de sus propios diseños, para así extender y sembrar la alianza y el respeto a todas las culturas originarias como parte inherente a este Fuego.

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Our commitment to sustain these forms means a permanent job to generate spaces and temples to gather different knowledge originating within their own designs in order to expand and grow the partnership and respect for all cultures originating as an inherent part of this fire.

Creemos en la humildad, la voluntad, la sinceridad y la integridad como principios de la búsqueda del conocimiento, el que se siembra en el corazón como experiencia y vivencia de lo sagrado en la ritualidad. Estos principios permiten así tener una visión para caminar cada una de nuestras vidas.

Tipis

We believe in humility, willingness, honesty and integrity as principles of the pursuit of knowledge, which is sown in the heart as expertise and experience of the sacred in the ritual. These principles allow and have a vision to walk each of our lives.

Buscamos y trabajamos por la paz y la dignidad, así como en el rescate, sostenimiento y reactivación de los poderes ancestrales para ponerlos al servicio de la gente. Así, queremos llevar una voz en defensa de la Memoria, del cuidado de la heredad de los hijos; anhelamos poder vivir nuestra misión. La de cuidar toda la vida, la nuestra y la de todas las criaturas que habitan el planeta, gracias a la bondad y cuidado de los cuatro espíritus de la Sagrada Familia originaria: el Padre Fuego, la Madre Tierra y nuestros hermanos Agua y Aire.

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We seek and work for peace and dignity, as well as in the rescue, maintenance and reactivation of ancestral powers to make them serve the people. So, we want to bring a voice in defense of Memory, care inheritance of the children; yearn to live our mission. The caring life, ours and all the creatures that inhabit the planet, thanks to the kindness and care of the four spirits of the Sagrada Familia original: Father Fire, Mother Earth and our brothers Water and Air.

Levantamos la conciencia y el espíritu para convocar a los espíritus protectores, para cuidar los rituales y el buen manejo de los instrumentos de las medicinas sagradas, para recuperar la memoria de cómo usarlas y cómo transmitir estas formas así como nos enseñaron nuestros abuelos.

elk

We raise awareness and spirit to summon the protective spirits, to care rituals and good management of the instruments of the sacred medicines to recover the memory of how to use them and how to convey this form, as well as our forefathers taught us.

Así queremos vivir nuestra vida, con el poder soñar nuestros sueños en la misma dirección de los Sueños de la Creación.

So we want to live our lives with the power to dream our dreams in the same direction Dream of Creation.

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Para el cumplimiento de estos Principios nuestros objetivos son:

To fulfill these principles our objectives are:

1. Propender por el desarrollo espiritual de las personas siguiendo las directrices del Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan.

1. To foster the spiritual development of people following the guidelines of the Sacred Fire of Itzachilatlan.

2. Preparar, desarrollar y conservar los espacios ceremoniales para hacer las ceremonias de Búsqueda de Visión, Danza del Sol y otros diseños que sean entregados por el Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan o por alianzas.

2. Prepare, develop and retain the ceremonial spaces for ceremonies Vision Quest, Sun Dance and other designs that are delivered by the Sacred Fire of Itzachilatlan or alliances.

3. Establecer alianzas y acuerdos de cooperación con pueblos indígenas, tradiciones espirituales o con entidades cuyo objeto social sea afín.

3. Establish alliances and cooperation with indigenous peoples, spiritual traditions or entities whose corporate purpose is affine.

4. Promover la conservación y defensa de los recursos naturales, su manejo y aprovechamiento.

4. Promote the conservation and protection of natural resources, their management and use.

5. Constituir áreas de reservas especiales y forestales en terrenos que adquiera la organización.

5. Establish special areas and forest reserves on land acquired by the organization.

6. Fortalecer los lazos de unión con las diferentes tradiciones espirituales y pueblos indígenas de la Madre Tierra.

6. Strengthen ties with the different spiritual traditions and indigenous peoples of Mother Earth.

7. Trabajar en la recuperación, conservación, aplicación y difusión del conocimiento de las diferentes formas de medicina ancestral.                                   

7. Work on recovery, conservation, application and dissemination of knowledge of the various forms of traditional medicine.

8. Organizar y realizar las ceremonias del Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan.

8. Organize and conduct the ceremonies of the Sacred Fire of Itzachilatlan.

9. Promover la conservación y protección n del patrimonio espiritual, ambiental, cultural a las generaciones futuras, en mejores condiciones de uso, conservación y conocimiento como base material superior para su bienestar.

9. Promote the conservation and protection of spiritual, environmental, cultural heritage to future generations in better conditions of use, conservation and knowledge as superior material basis for their welfare.

Meeting

Nota: Estos principios y objetivos han sido extraídos de varios de los documentos de constitución del Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan en otros países. No es un documento acabado sino abierto a sugerencias.

Note: These principles and objectives are drawn from several of the incorporation documents of the Sacred Fire Itzachilatlan other countries. It is not a finished document but open to suggestions.

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Cartel Jornada ITZACHILATLAN

 

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The Singing Stone Building Project

 For many years we have planned an Indigenous American Ceremonial Grounds and a Community Space that serves to preserve our native heritage. Finally we have reached the point when we have finished the exterior of the community building that we can all use to celebrate the divine. This temple will serve as a home, an office, as well as ceremonial space. At this point we have basically finished the exterior of the building. We have the water well in place as well as the plumbing. This is a steel building that measures 80 x 82 feet and it stands 20 feet tall.

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With continued donations of materials, money and labor, we will forge ahead creating an interior that will spiritually nourish and bless many generations to come. This will house a 50 foot diameter space that will serve many groups in our area.

EVERYONE WILL BENEFIT FROM OUR PROJECT, OUR COUNTY, AREA BUSINESSES, REALITY AND OUR STRUGGLING PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION.

All members will benefit from this land and be able to enjoy the facilities!

We would like to ask for your donations. Please help us as it will benefit everyone including the generations to come! By donating, you can become an official member and receive a Native American Church membership card. We will have many gifts and privileges for our supporters so be sure to let us know what you have contributed.

 

The result will be a 50 foot diameter ceremonial space! Besides providing Community and a space for Indigenous American Ceremonial Events, this building will serve as a Preschool,  School, Teen center, Dance School and Yoga studio. We will host Holistic Fairs, Celebrations, Seminars and classes. In addition to all of this, we will be able to provide affordable space for other groups, individuals and teachers.

We will be needing donations for the following:

 Solar electrical inverter.

Solar panels.

Solar batteries.

Water pump. 

Hot water heaters

 Plumbing supplies.

 Spray Foam insulation

Commercial kitchen equipment.

Lumber, Sheetrock, Screws and building supplies.

Flooring.

The Singing Stone Community will be open to the public. We will be able to provide education in native spirituality and help the public through outreach. As soon as our infrastructure is in place, we can serve the people by having a regular schedule of Indigenous American Ceremonies and activities.

   ♦ Daily Prayer Circles

   ♦ Weekly Sweat Lodges and Song Ceremony

   ♦ Monthly All night prayer meetings

   ♦ Bi-annual Gourd Dances, Powwows, Yuwipi, and Vision Quests.

   ♦ Annual Sun Dance, Dream Dance and Star Dance (on the National Forest).

Dream Dance

PETA WAKAN   Dream Dance   PETA WAKAN

The Singing Stone inherited an ancient bundle in October of 2013. This bundle was found alongside Ghost Dance equipment and has not been opened or used for the past 120 years. After unwrapping the bundle during Vision Quest Ceremony, it was found to be a Dream Society Dance Bundle. Many ancient medicine bundles are being reopened nowadays because the time has come for these ways to be practiced again. With their mysteries being unraveled they are being put to use in the magical ways which they were intended. This particular bundle and the way that we received it has been truly miraculous. Now is the time for the reemergence of the Dream Society and it’s annual Dance.teepee we used for the peyote ceremony

1st Annual Dream Dance

May 27th to May 31st, 2015

The Singing Stone   Crestone, CO

conjurespirits@gmail.com   

  719-256-5307  

www.thesingingstone.com

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The Dream Dance is the initiation and entrance into the Dream Society. This celebration is an dance that happens four years in a row. Those wishing to dance would commit to dancing four nights. The Ceremony begins with a Sweat Lodge every evening and every morning with another Sweat Lodge. Dancers assemble around the sacred fire at dusk and dance four different intervals throughout the night.

Saguache

Preparations: Through our dreams we will know what animal or power we represent. As participants we may wear body paint and regalia according to our dreams. We do ask that everyone dancing wears shoes that they do not wear outside of Ceremonies such as moccasins or are barefoot. There are no strict guidelines for what to wear. The important thing is to follow the guidance from Spirit.

Black BearCalf

Communicating through dreams is an important task for dancers to bring their specific representation into this dance. Ideas to connect to Dream time and to receive a clear message are to make a dream altar, pray, send a letter, or manifest an object from a dream. If clear messages are not received from dreams, there is no need to worry. Everyone has an intuitive connection of the energies to bring into this realm through meditation or by what objects surround us. Participating in the Dream Dance will heighten this vital connection to Dream Time. We suggest that any dancer who partakes of drugs or alcohol refrains from that, in order to help clear the pathways to receive messages. As all with all of our Ceremonies, pets, drugs, and alcohol are not permitted. Each of us is responsible for our own bedding, tent, chair (if needed), and special food requirements.

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Dream Dancers: Our donation request is $250 for this Ceremony which includes food and other medicines for 4 days. You are also expected to assist with wood collecting. We ask those interested in dancing the Dream Dance to present tobacco or a loaded pipe to the Intercessor when you arrive. For those who are unable to donate, please speak with us to make other arrangements.

 Crestone

Moontime: Women on their moon time (menses) would not participate in the Dream Dance. If a woman’s moon time were to come during the dance she would withdraw from dancing or supporting to a secluded place. The Singing Stone supports this important aspect of a woman’s power during this time and there will be a space provided for all women to be in their own Sacred Ceremony.

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Supporters: Our donation request to receive FOOD FOR 4 DAYS are as follows: Sliding scale of $70 to $120 or offering of food / other necessities in equal value or set up / clean up / childcare work trade. It is traditional in our lineage to make a tobacco offering for each Sweat Lodge to the water pourer. This may be an unopened package or a small amount placed in a cloth or bag.

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Monetary donations may be offered to us directly when you arrive or mailed to:

Christopher Long

P.O. Box 591

Crestone, Colorado 81131.

 

To donate food or other miscellaneous necessities please contact Mimi who is in charge of organizing:

sowelusuray@gmail.com

 Some ideas for donations are wood, toilet paper, trash bags, disposable plates and utensils, food/drinks.

Round Stone website 2

We will send out directions to the Dream Dance closer to the scheduled date. Now is the time for the reemergence of the Dream Society and its annual dance. See you soon. Mitakuye Oyasin!

Mama Elk

This dance serves to connect the people to their dreams. By dancing one can strengthen the connection to the animals or powers of one’s dreams by dancing as that animal or power. Dancers would only fast from food that conflicts with the animal or power that they represent. For instance, if someone were representing elk, they would not eat elk meat.

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Spring Vision Quest from May 23rd to May 26th, 2015 will lead into the Dream Dance. This year’s annual Dream Dance will begin on May 27th and will end on May 31st, 2015. This celebration is the initiation and entrance into the Dream Society. This event will be happening on the National Forest or elsewhere in our area. Anyone who is interested in joining The Dream Society please contact us. Everyone is welcome to participate or support our Spring Ceremonials.

 

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Building site 2013

Eastern View from Building site

2015 Ceremonial Events Calendar

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2015 Ceremonial Events Calendar

PETA WAKAN

PETA WAKAN

2015 will be the opening of the Dream Society bundle and the revival of the Dream Dance, an event that has waited 120 years.

Please call if you plan on attending events or Email us at conjurespirits@gmail.

Private Ceremonials are not listed on this calendar. 

Everything listed is public, and events are added throughout the year.

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January

New years sweat lodge December 31. 7:00 pm

Saturday 3: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 10: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 17: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 24: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 31: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

February

Saturday 7: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 14: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Friday 20: Lowanpi, Miami, Florida. 9:00 pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 21: All night Tipi Meeting, Miami, Florida.                                                        Song Ceremony, Crestone 3:00- 5:00pm

Saturday 28: All night Tipi Meeting, Puerto Rico.                                                        Song Ceremony, Crestone 3:00- 5:00pm

March

Saturday 7: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 14: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 21: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 28: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

April

Saturday 4:  Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 11: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 18: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 25: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

May

Saturday 2: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 9: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 16: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 23-Tuesday 26: Hanbleceya Vision Quest camp. Located at Camp Manitou (near Dharma Ocean, crestone, CO.).

We will have Sweat Lodges at 12:00 noon each day followed by a potluck feast.

Wednesday 27- Sunday 31: Dream Society Dance, starts at sundown at Camp Manitou (near Dharma Ocean, crestone, CO.).

 

June

Monday 1: Basil BraveHeart, Starfire Sun Dance in Tres Piedras, NM. 1-5 June.

Wednesday 17- 21: Steven BlueHorse, Zuya Taopi Sun Dance, Moriarty, New Mexico.

Saturday 27: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

July

Saturday 4: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 11: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 18: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck and All Night Tipi Meeting.

Saturday 25: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

August

Saturday 1: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 8: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 15: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 22: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 29: Pow Wow,  Annual Saguache Traditional Wacipi Intertribal Pow Wow. Come and join in song and dance, wear ribbon shirts and dresses, Song Ceremony all day, in the Town of Saguache, Otto Mears Park.

September

Saturday 5: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 12: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Friday 18-Monday 21: Hanbleceya Vision Quest Camp, We will have Sweat Lodges at 12:00 noon each day followed by a potluck feast. All night Tipi Meeting

SATURDAY 19: SWEAT LODGE AT 12 NOON, SONG CEREMONY, 3:00- 5:00PM, FOLLOWED BY A POTLUCK.

SUNDAY 20: SWEAT LODGE AT 12 NOON, FOLLOWED BY A POTLUCK AND YUWIPI CEREMONY 9:00 PM..

Tuesday 22: All night Tipi meeting sundown

Saturday 26: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

October

Saturday 3: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 10: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 17: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm,   All Night Tipi Meeting : sundown. Sweat Lodge the next morning.

Saturday 24: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 31: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

November

Hanbleceya (Vision Quest), Peace Sundance and Star Dance, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Saturday 7: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 14: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 21: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 26: Thanksgiving Feast and Canupa Ceremony. 12:00 noon.

Saturday 28: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

December

Saturday 5: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 12: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Saturday 19: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck and All Night Tipi Meeting.

Saturday 26: Song Ceremony, 3:00- 5:00pm, followed by a potluck.

Thursday 31: new years Sweat Lodge, 7:00pm.


⊕       2016       ⊕

January

Florida

Febuary

Cancun Mexico

March

Puerto Rico

April

Morelia Mexico

May

Saturday 21- Tuesday24: HANBLECEYA VISION QUEST CAMP. LOCATED AT CAMP MANITOU (NEAR DHARMA OCEAN, CRESTONE, CO.). WE WILL HAVE SWEAT LODGES AT 12:00 NOON EACH DAY FOLLOWED BY A POTLUCK FEAST.

Monday 23: Yuwipi Ceremony

Wednesday 25: All Night Tipi Meeting.

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 The Singing Stone has been working on creating a ceremonial grounds, House and community. Please help us to nourish the Indigenous ways of the Americas and help them to blossom. Donate to The Singing Stone! 

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Dance of peace- Brazil

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In bloom

 

 

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Tipi of a singing rock

Inside roars Grandfather Fire

 

Modern Indigenous American Traditions

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Who practices Modern Indigenous American Traditions?  People from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Like all good traditions and spiritual practices, they have the tendency to grow. In terms of Native American spirituality, the Lakota traditions have done the best. This is so because the Lakota people have always shared with others, adopted people as family (Hunka) and have always helped others without hatred and judgement. That is why it is a blossoming tradition. Most native traditions, like the Navajo for example, have had a hard time generating interest among their youth in the practice of traditional ceremonies. Since they have been reluctant to pass their sacred ways outside of their own blood relatives they have suffered the total extinction of many important rites in very recent years. Nowadays the Navajo are related to every race on earth and come from all walks of life. Sadly, Navajo spirituality is still dwindling.  Like most nations of the earth, a small percentage of Navajos are involved in Lakota ceremonials!

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Mexico

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Nebraska

There is this illusion that indigenous traditions must remain unchanged, like the anthropologist frowning over the Sun Dance Chief taking flesh offerings with a surgical scalpel instead of a flint knife. The anthropologist has totally missed the point and cannot see the practicality, wisdom, and level of detachment inherent in non-domestic spirituality (attachment and sentimentality are enhanced in domesticated animals).

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The true indigenous spiritual leaders have the same ethics and humility as most of the world religions. In the first century, Christianity immediately spread from being Jewish to embracing Greeks, Ethiopians and anyone else that expressed an interest, this is a natural phenomenon that can be seen everywhere. One might argue that Native spirituality cannot be compared to Christianity even though it is the chosen path of most Native Americans. Others would say that in the story of Christianity the Jews represented the good traditionalist, staying in line with the sacred ways. Nothing could be further from the truth because the Jewish tradition has always been open to the public. People all faiths continuously convert to Judaism and always have. It is not uncommon for a man to undergo a circumcision operation in the hopes of becoming admitted to Judaism. Like the rest of us, they too are international, global citizens!

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Guess which one is the tribal Elder!

 

_LAN9309Like all paths to God, you’ll find a Catholic and Protestant versions of all of them. There are the purist fundamentalists, the spirit filled ones in rapture, as well as closet atheists who think they are spiritual because they are part of a religion. All of them play important roles as it truly takes all kinds!

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We are constantly reminded at our ceremonial functions of the strange circumstances of the changing world in which we live. There are a lot of misconceptions about spirituality in general and folks these days have allot of different motives for being involved. It is up to us that the coming generations not pollute indigenous ways by making them domesticated. This has been what has hurt the worlds greatest spiritual paths more than anything else. Domestication is warping our perception, the only thing we take with us beyond this life!

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What makes Indigenous traditions, of any kind, so powerful is that they are wild and untamed. They access that part of the human psyche that is unmolested by industrialization.  It is ever important for the human race to hold on to the magic that is swiftly receding away from us. Many new age philosophies would disagree with this, but let me point out that they are a strictly domesticated variety of human beings. When any animal is domesticated, or even when wild animals are caged or subjected to routines, they tend to slip into neurotic behavior patterns, like living in a made up fantasy world.

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England

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Inter-faith gathering

Many do not realize that the Sun Dance is an international religion, for example. There has emerged many powerful medicine men and spiritual leaders representing Indigenous American traditions from the world over. Many people are against this (mostly non spiritual people).  It is truly mysterious how the spirit moves, a person may acquire spirit helpers through association with a tradition, through marriage, by ordination and by birth. Sometimes it runs in the family as was the case with Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli. There is also the case where someone is born with miraculous powers outside of spiritual tradition altogether.

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Daniel Dunglas Home

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There are hundreds of cases of human foot prints fossilized in stone, anywhere from 1 million to 90 million years old, a testimony to the awesome mystery of humankind and what lurks deep within our human consciousness. Modern Indigenous American Spirituality is in constant flux as we ourselves are redefined by what we know, and that goes for all of spirituality, everywhere!

Only the last remaining indigenous traditions of the world still have miraculous, seemingly impossible things as commonplace. Spiritual leaders of domestic religion, sadly, cannot begin to imagine the reality of  the aboriginal spiritual world (what’s left of it)

.Eagle and Condor, Aztec prophecy of the North and South American Spiritual Alliance

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Octobers’ end Building Project Work Party

 

Octobers’ end Building Project Work Party

Now is the time for us to fully enclose the steel building. We will be focusing on the roof this weekend. Any help would be greatly appreciated, so come and join us!

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As we enter into Autumn new possibilities are unfolding at The Singing Stone through the necessary steps of fundraising, accomplishing our non profit status, and physically creating our much needed building. Our ongoing venture which we invite you to attend will be our Work Party to get our roof completely on, we are hoping to complete by Sunday, October 30th.
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This is an ongoing project but if we can beat the winter snow of late October, then we will be able to move ahead with insulating our structure and then working inside to create a livable space. If you are able to help out in any way then show up at our The Singing Stone Ceremonial Grounds at 10 a.m. any of these days.
 Lunches will be provided. Please bring your screw gun, drill, and work gloves. If anyone can assist with food and/or monetary donations and help with preparing lunches, please let us know. We appreciate any and all help!SUNP0046

We would like to thank Justin Millard, Jeremy Sharpe, Chris Allen, Bennie Ummer, RamJi, Aliya, Brian Porter, Chris Long, Benjamin Antonowicz, and all those who prepared food, Andrea Long, Joan Scheide, Lisa Bodey, Carrie Allen, Bruce Waltemyer, and Danita Martinez.SUNP0055SUNP0034

October Building Project Work Party

October Building Project Work Party

Dear Friends,

 
The Singing Stone again would like to thank everyone for their recent efforts of monetary offerings, exceptional food preparations, as well as physical labor that was donated during our last Work Party as well as during Ceremonies. Everyone pulled together beautifully getting up those walls on our building over the summer and also during Vision Quest in September. A big WOPILA or THANK YOU to everyone! 
 
As we enter into Autumn new possibilities are unfolding at The Singing Stone through the necessary steps of fundraising, accomplishing our non profit status, and physically creating our much needed building. Our next venture which we invite you to attend will be our Work Party that will go from Monday, October 13th until we get our roof completely on (if there are enough helpers then we are hoping to complete by Sunday, October 19th). 
This is an ongoing project but if we can beat the winter snow of late October, then we will be able to move ahead with insulating our structure and then working inside to create a livable space. If you are able to help out in any way then show up at our The Singing Stone Ceremonial Grounds at 10 a.m. any of these days. Monday October 13th we will go until around 5 or 6 p.m. and we will see about the other days. Lunches will be provided. Please bring your screw gun, drill, and work gloves. If anyone can assist with food and/or monetary donations and help with preparing lunches, please let us know. We appreciate any and all help!July 2014 035July 2014 058July 2014 066July 2014 062
 
Along with our Work Party, we will be holding Vision Quest for Chris Long. There will be daily sweat lodges around 5 p.m. from the dates of Thursday, October 16th until Sunday, October 19th. As our Spring and Autumn Hanbleceyas were a group effort of pulling together through fire tending, meals, childcare, etc… this will be much the same. The fire will keep burning throughout this time and we will all need to support him as much as possible while working together to get The Singing Stone Building up. It will be a time to connect once again supporting each other towards our collective dream of spiritual community. 
 
Please remember to bring a tobacco offering for these sweat lodges. This is in keeping with our tradition and may be just a small amount for each lodge. One may be offered to our water pourer and one may also be offered to our fire tender. Women on your moon time (menses) we ask that you do not attend but you are welcome to join us for meals and support from a distance. Men typically wear swim trunks and women where a dress or skirt and top that covers your knees and shoulders. It is helpful to bring a towel, remove jewelry, and to show up early to make prayer ties or to help with preparations. Fires will be lit 2 hours prior to entering so feel free to show up around 3 p.m. any of these days. We ask that you bring a potuck dish or drink to share for after the lodges. Wood and any other donations are always welcomed. Please call or email with any questions. We hope to see you soon! Mitakuye Oyasin. 
 
We are in need of someone with experience in creating an LLC and Non Profit organization to give us some pointers. If you or anyone you know is interested in donating some of your knowledge, we greatly appreciate it! 

 
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SPIRITUAL ADVICE

SPIRITUAL ADVICE

PETA WAKAN

FOR THE SERIOUS SEEKER

1. Be connected. Understand that you have a direct connection to the divine and that you are ultimately responsible for your spiritual growth. The native path is about tapping into the connection you already have. Seek advice and learn from others, but know that you are the only one in charge of your own spirituality.

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2. Be honest to yourself about your spirituality. Don’t believe anything you are told, especially about yourself. Question everything you think you know. The allure of fantasy is very potent because it make us feel special, Be humble and be simple. Take it all with a grain of salt, even the truth. Contemplate that the most valuable truth is wordless.

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3. Have courage, Work hard, pray hard and be inspired. Dig deep within yourself and muster up every ounce of of volition that you can. Be excited, feel yourself being filled with charismatic enthusiasm, dauntless unwavering unbridled ferocity. Claw through your fine domestic vanier and unveil your true self, the untamed, unattached nature of your immortal spirit!

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4. Ask for help, tell Wakan Tanka what you want. Tell all the spirits what you want and tell them to prepare you. Ask them to lead you to the right teachers, to just go ahead and give you the magic (if possible). Use your voice (which was given to you for this purpose), cry out into the heavens to receive what you need for spiritual empowerment.

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5. Be a selfless servant with ruthless boundaries. Be humble and kind without being stupid or gullible. Practice kindness, gentleness, nonviolence, and be in harmony with nature. Do not judge or assume, be nice. Among other things, the spiritual path is a matter of attracting the right friends (spirits), you won’t be able to do this if you are erratic, violent and arrogant.

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6. Make sacrifices, put out water for the spirits. Take the time and effort to spend good quality time pursuing your goal. Do Hanbleceya (vision quests) and other rites. Show the center of the universe how much you want it. Show them with your blood, sweat and tears, and do so with a prayer. Be practical with your offerings and never boast about what you have done!

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7. Honour the children. Never allow your spiritual work to compromise children. Take care of the children first, for they are the most important thing on the spiritual journey.  Children and elderly are exempt of all ritual obligations. Never put god\goddess before your children! If you don’t have children, make sure that children benefit by what you do, they may become your future.

For more advice, ask us a question:

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    lariat trail

There are many important ways we can progress on the spiritual path. first lets take a look at what that really means, to progress spiritually. One can rationally observe that every one is inherently spiritual, that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience here on earth. This leads to the age old question of why we are here. We are here to fulfill eternity, for Wakan Tanka to to be everything and experience infinity through everything. In the beginning was the void, and from that void of nothingness was an awareness. This awareness felt empty and soon it longed to aspire, to be somthing else. It strove to see itself in new ways, to grow.

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This, then, was the birth of inspiration, and reflects that spiritual urge to aspire and grow. This awareness then became the Creator by sacrificing part of itself. To make this story short, the Creator Sacrificed itself on and on, Transforming into water stone air and fire, and all that is. This process continues today, and as Wakan Tanka is infinite, one could say that God has already completed his task, and to some part of itself we are in the past. To another part of itself we are right here and now, from within every cell in our bodies and from every conceivable and inconceivable direction. All of everything is made of Wakan Tanka. So what is this spiritual urge? Why would we seek to come closer to what we could never escape? Everything is made from god and everything is god, and is independently divinely aware.

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The reason for our existence is to fulfil the creators destiny, we are all involved in this, every single thing that there is, is part of this amazing dance. To understand the spiritual path we need only to look to the old creation stories. Like the the Creator, we have this urge to grow and aspire, and we do. As human beings we grow and naturally reach out for more and more, until, as infants we can take the risk of standing on our own. There is the part about making a sacrifice, taking a risk to expand our view of the world. As we grow and learn physically we are also learning things that will serve us well after this life. In essence, the spiritual path is all about growth.

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Everything we learn here in this life are tools to serve us beyond this life. Avoiding danger, communicating, maneuvering, making friends and solving problems are all tools we will need in the afterlife. In all aboriginal spiritual traditions, we as human beings, eventually have to make the journey through the stars, across the milky way and beyond. It is a big universe out there and we’ll need all the experience we can get to be successful. Thats what we are learning, all of us are growing in a very practical way.

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What i am trying to say with all this is that by being spiritual and focusing upon spiritual matters, we are nourishing our souls. Indigenous rites like sweat lodge and hanbleceya (vision quest), for example, are tools designed to help us  fortify our souls. We are inspired, through nature, to sacrifice of our comfort zones and old ways of being, to grow and expand our horizons.

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We all know, deep inside, the truth that there is one spirit, indivisible, that is eternal and inexhaustible. Our souls are the vehicles that carry that one light of the spirit. Reflected within every soul is that divine life force that fuels us and gives us life. When we say Mitaku Oyasin, we are saying my relatives, all of them. We are all directly connected to the source of all that there is, body, mind, soul and spirit. We are all related, not just in that we are all made out of god’s body. we are all fueled by and connected to the very center of the universe. In essence you could say that we are each other!

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What makes us individual then, is our soul, which houses our spirit. By building upon our souls’ structure, we fortify the spirits’ container. This allows us to expand and grow as a reflection of the very journey that Wakan Tankan took in the creation stories. We do this through spiritually nurturing activities. We do this through aspiring to grow, through self sacrifice, and change. From this clear viewpoint we can see that the spiritual path is truly a very practical journey. The spiritual path has little to do with ancestry and culture and has more to do with getting the job done.

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Keep in mind that not all so called “spiritual paths” are beneficial. Many newer traditions are still in the experimental stage. A two thousand year old tradition is still in the stages of working out the kinks and may not even endure. When you think about it, even an eight thousand year old tradition is really not that old. In light of all this it would make sense to learn everything you can about the most ancient spiritual traditions of the world and make use of all the tools available to you. Do so with the clarity that sees beyond cultural romanticism. Learn, and regardless of anything else BE spiritual!

mitaku oyasin!

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12 Lakota Virtues

A view from the arbor

12 Lakota Virtues

Essential to balance and happiness, there are 12 Lakota Virtues that were a part of everyday life for our Native American ancestors. These are lessons that were taught by storytellers who lived the lessons they imparted. They practiced what they preached. These virtues were and are the foundation of Lakota culture. The teaching is that our quality of life is not measured by material possessions but by how well our life’s journey flows and dances through these virtues. In Lakota “wicozani” is a word which describes wealth by living a happy well balanced life with physical and mental health in harmony with creation. We remember how our ancestors lived, remaining true to ourselves and to them by listening to the stories while being mindful of these important specific teachings.

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These are the 12 Lakota Virtues:

1. Humility (Unsiiciyapi) – The first and most important step in life and especially on the spiritual path is humility which is the opposite of pride. In terms of spirituality, if the step of humility is skipped it results in delusions of grandeur. Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues. If you brag about your generosity then it spoils the generosity.

2. Perseverance (Wowacintanka) – In spite of difficulties we persist in our efforts which is a deeply empowering source of strength rising from within. To taste success we sometimes are forced to pick ourselves up and the gift is feeling how much life is worth living as we accomplish what we have set out to do. Many of our ancestors were faced with challenges that could only be helped through spiritual strength. This perseverance was what carried them through even to the afterlife.

3. Respect (Wawoohola) – A basic teaching among all tribes was that of respect towards all beings (sentient and insentient) which includes plants, animals, stones, wind, little people, and all of creation. In our present culture this important virtue has become lost with a general message of excess as well as intolerance for those who are challenged, elderly, or different in any way than ourselves. Our Lakota ancestors would ceremonially hunt their bison which would provide clothing, shelter, and food for the people. Every part was used and their spirit was honored by placing their skull facing east to meet the rising sun in unison with the rhythm of life.

4. Honor (Wayunonihan) – Being honorable means having strength of character by being a good person. Honor goes hand and hand with respect and many of the other virtues. To live the virtues it shows that someone has the integrity and dignity that makes up honor. Humility waters the roots of the tree of honor which then bears the fruit of love. By having honor means that one would choose the path of non violence and compassion rather than dishonorable actions.

5. Love (Cantognake) – More than just compassion, love is having the flame of emotion in one’s heart. Love rules over all things. The whole universe exists because of love, it is the motive of all creation.  It is not attachment because love can even be the incentive to be unattached. Love represents the balance that exists in everything. The warmth of the sun’s rays is the sun’s love for us. The ultimate love is spiritual joy which is responsible for life. Deep within each one of us and everything is this basic emotion known as Spirit.

6. Sacrifice (Icicupi) – Sacrifice is giving of oneself. The fruit of love is sacrifice. In the beginning the Creator sacrificed itself to make all that there is and through this humble act we can understand the significance of offering ourselves. In order to accomplish anything, one must be able to make a sacrifice. Whether it be the small sacrifices in your daily life or major sacrifices of your lifetime, we all reap what we sow by this fundamental act. We sacrifice our time and effort every day just to get things done but on a larger spiritual scale we can give of ourselves and give back to the Creator and Creation.

7. Truth (Wowicake) – Truth is being honest about yourself and the world around you. There is ultimate truth and then there are all of our individual truths. In this world of illusion we must rely upon our inner truth to know which way to go. Through gaining an understanding of life we learn to see beyond the illusions into what is real for us. We all have our own individual perspectives, it is relying upon our own perception within the greater reality that allows us to be in truth.

8. Compassion (Waunsilapi) – Doing what is right in caring for others as you would yourself is what makes a person compassionate. One need not feel sorry for or sympathetic to  anyone in order to live this virtue. In fact it is that inner strength that allows us to have the unconditional love that creates true compassion.

9. Bravery (Woohitike) – When an understanding of destiny and chance matures within the mind there is a dawning of faith within the heart. This is true courage. Bravery is born of the wisdom of life and death as well as one’s honor. It is not blind or reckless and can come from the very depths of our being in times of need. This open act of vulnerability despite circumstances can help us defy even the worst odds.

10. Fortitude (Cantewasake) – After learning patience and inner endurance one gains the strength necessary to have fortitude. Emotional stability, being alert, and having determination can help in having this persistent integrity. This is not an inflexible force. It is a quiet, gentle voice of a Grandmother with deep faith, trust, and understanding.

11. Generosity (Canteyuke) – “To have a heart” is the literal translation of this Lakota word which is a timeless virtue residing in the heart. True generosity has always been encouraged and exemplified in Lakota society while accumulating material possessions was greatly discouraged. As our Earth Mother gives everything, we should in turn do the same. True generosity embodies love and the understanding of impermanence.

12. Wisdom (Woksape) – Only after one has learned about life and is able to act on all the other virtues, can one be considered wise. First we attain knowledge then we learn to apply that knowledge. Wisdom is acting on what you know. Our gift to life is wisdom as well as life’s gift to us. It is knowing the difference between truth and the illusion. One can have knowledge without wisdom but one cannot have wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom is a reward from life for persevering through all of the virtues.

 

July 21 Work Party

July 21 Work Party

We would like to thank Karen Kenny for her generous donations in providing all the food for our work party, Thank you Karen!

We would also like to thank the all the wonderful helpers who came for our July 21 work party.

Alan Robbins from Crestone

Andre Seifert from Mexico

Barry Bailey from Crestone

Charlton Wilson from Loveland, CO

Justin Millard from Lodi, WI

Jeremy Sharpee from Lodi, WI

Lisa Bodey from Crestone

Nick Meisman from Crestone

David Vermont from Santa Cruz, CA

James MacDonald from Chile

Ramji from Crestone

Jill from Oklahoma

Thank you for helping to make a dream come true.

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July building project

July 16th Building Project

With the whole frame fully assembled, it’s time to put the siding into place.

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The work parties have been wonderful  there has been plenty of food. Thanks to generous donations every one has gotten enough to eat. Each afternoon the rain seems to bring us to a natural close and each evening we reconvene again for dinner.

 

July 2014 060                  Today the roof’s frame was fully assembled. We have started on the southern wall and should go up fairly quick. After the sides have been completed, then the roof panels will be installed. We are preparing for the doors and windows to be framed in, as well as the insolation.

we have organized a work party for the completion of our community building. Monday July 21. 9:00 AM

                          For information call us at 256-5307.

                   Food will be catered.

Work Party July 21July 7th building project

Our barn raising is going very well. As you can see from the pictures below, there has been a lot of progress on our building! We are at a point where we are going to need more workers to put up the siding and the rest of the exterior of the building. Bring your drills, gloves, sunblock, glasses, and hats. The food so far has been exceptional. Thank you for those of you who have donated food, money, time, and energy we want to send a big thank you. We could use more help with food preparations and any donations. Jim Haulman has pulled through with his expertise and is fulfilling his promises with great skill!

Nuestro proyecto de construcción va muy bien. Como se puede ver en las fotos de abajo, ha habido un gran progreso en nuestro edificio! Nos encontramos en un punto en el que vamos a necesitar más trabajadores que soportar el revestimiento y el resto del exterior del edificio. Traiga sus taladros, guantes, bloqueador solar, gafas y sombreros. La comida ha sido hasta ahora excepcional. Gracias por aquellos de ustedes que han donado alimentos, dinero, tiempo y energía que queremos enviar un gran agradecimiento para usted. Podríamos usar más ayuda con los preparados alimenticios y de cualquier donación. Jim Haulman ha sacado adelante con su experiencia y está cumpliendo sus promesas con gran destreza!

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here you can see the assembly of the roof frame.

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a high lift forklift was used.

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the food donations have been awesome.

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July 7th BARN RAISING GATHERING

July 7th BARN RAISING GATHERINGPicture-008

Dear Friends,

The Singing Stone would like to invite everyone to assist in our BARN RAISING GATHERING which starts on Monday, July 7th and will continue through the week. Our metal structure at 1074 Lariat Trail in Crestone, Colorado will be used for Ceremonies in the future as well as retreats. If you would like to become a part of The Singing Stone community, take this opportunity to be one of the founders of its conception. It has been almost a year since we hired a professional to put up this metal building and he has not followed through with the completion even though he has been paid. WE ARE DESPERATE TO GET IT GOING and need everyone’s help!

building so far....

All are welcome to camp on The Singing Stone land. We have well water available but conditions are such that you need to be prepared with your own tent, blankets, flashlight, and whatever else you would need to be comfortable. Directions are on our Location page. We need a lot of people to help out physically with getting this building up. If you or anyone you know is familiar with this sort of construction project and wish to donate some of your time, energy, and expertise, we really appreciate it. Please spread the word. Also, help with feeding our workers is needed so we are grateful to anyone willing to donate food or help with food preparations.march2014 016If you are unable to help out at the date mentioned above, consider donating anything that would help us. This will be a communal building so we will need beds, kitchen supplies, furniture, and anything else that you feel would be helpful. Any monetary donations would certainly be remembered in the future when our structure is complete. We will also be needing a full range of construction materials such as sheet rock for the rooms and a good flooring for our Ceremonial space in the center. Other items needed are paint, lumber, plumbing or electrical supplies, rugs, and more. We will be off the grid so any solar panels or other solar equipment is needed as well. We hope to see you during this week in July to connect with each other while working towards this amazing cause for all of our futures. Please call if you have any questions. Mitakuye Oyasin!

                    (719)-256-5307            conjurespirits@gmail.com

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(719)-937-1991

March 2014 building project,

march2014 017march2014 010march2014 013March 2014 building project.

The month of March has seen some nice improvements. The picture on the right shows the future Sundance grounds cleared and ready for work. Grass seed needs to be put down along with the proper soil amendments. An irrigation system will be Installed so the we can have some grass! On the building you can see that the main roof beams have been put into place.

February 2014 building project

February 2014 building project has been a struggle so far. Our contractor has been dragging his feet and avoiding work as much as possible. He is in trouble with several other people for unfinished work. Being spiritually centered, The Singing Stone is prepared to wait and avoid negative confrontations. Some work has been done on the building and we are steadily amassing more materials. We have more doors, beds and furnishings.  We have a good source for lumber to frame up the interior walls. We are planning to put the individual walls together now and assemble them into rooms later.building 2014 046

Our attention is on our Sun Dance grounds. The whole area needs to be cleared and leveled. This is a good time to plant grass seed as well as mapping out the arbour and tipi sites. The wood for the arbour will be collected from the National Forest. This can only be done after the mud dries up, which is in a month or two. we have plenty of help, but we can always use more. If we have to, we will have to put up this building ourselves. With enough participation and willingness of spirit, we can accomplish anything. If any of you are willing to help, contact us at: conjurespirits@gmail.com.

Click here to see our contractor’s reviews.  (The good news is that these complaints have been resolved!)building 2014 047

Bear Dance

Bear DanceBlack Bear

Each year, at Eagle’s Nest Center in Westfield, Wisconsin, Robert and Judy hold their annual spring Bear Dance. All are welcome to experience this empowering and uplifting ceremony.

Join us in Westfield, Wisconsin each year for the spring time Bear Dance!!!

We warmly welcome all to participate in this annual dance. Be a part of the Bear society by joining in the festivities. This dance is all inclusive and does not require too many commitments.

 Each dancer will make prayer flags as well as prayer ties. These items will be made just before dancing, so bring a yard of red, yellow, black and white cotton fabric. Bring a quarter yard of blue, green and purple cotton fabric.

For more information on this contact us:

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AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

American Indian Religious Freedom

Congressional Seal

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469 (Aug. 11, 1978) , codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1996, is a United States federal law and a joint resolution of Congress that was passed in 1978. It was enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians  These rights include, but are not limited to, access of sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights and use and possession of objects considered sacred. The Act required policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the possession of objects considered sacred, based on the First Amendment, and to accommodate access to and use of religious sites to the extent that the use is practicable and is not inconsistent with an agency’s essential functions. It also acknowledges the prior violation of that right.

 FEDERAL LAW: Members of the Native American Church are exempt from federal criminal penalties for religious use of peyote. Where there is exclusive federal jurisdiction or state law is not racially limited, peyote use by NAC members is legal under a racially neutral regulation. This exemption is as old as federal criminal penalties against peyote use and predates the Controlled Substances Act. The Code Of Federal Regulations reads:

Special Exempt Persons: Section 1307.31 Native American Church. The listing of peyote as a controlled substance in Schedule I does not apply to the non-drug use of peyote in bonafide religious ceremonies of the Native American Church, and members of the Native American Church so using peyote are exempt from registration. Any person who manufactures peyote for or distributes peyote to the Native American Church, however, is required to obtain registration annually and to comply with all other requirements of law. U.S. v. BOYLL, 774 F.Supp. 133 (D.N.M. 1991) addresses the racial issue specifically and concludes:

For the reasons set out in this Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court holds that, pursuant to 21 C.F.R. § 1307.31 (1990), the classification of peyote as a Schedule I controlled substance, see 21 U.S.C. § 812(c), Schedule I(c)(12), does not apply to the importation, possession or use of peyote for bonafide ceremonial use by members of the Native American Church, regardless of race.  PUBLIC LAW 103-344 [H.R. 4230]; October 6, 1994

State of Colorado Seal

AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT
AMENDMENTS OF 1994

For Legislative History of Act, see Report for P.L. 103-344 in U.S.C.C.   A.N. Legislative History Section.

An Act to emend the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to provide for the traditional use of peyote by Indians for religious purposes, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994″. SEC. 2. TRADITIONAL INDIAN RELIGIOUS USE OF THE PEYOTE SACRAMENT.

The Act of August 11, 1978 (42 U.S.C. 1996), commonly referred to as the “American Indian Religious Freedom Act”, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new section: “SEC. 3. (a) The Congress finds and declares that– “(1) for many Indian people, the traditional ceremonial use of the peyote cactus as a religious sacrament has for centuries been integral to a way of life, and significant in perpetuating Indian tribes and cultures; “(2) since 1965, this ceremonial use of peyote by Indians has been protected by Federal regulation; “(3) while at least 28 States have enacted laws which are similar to, or are in conformance with, the Federal regulation which protects the ceremonial use of peyote by Indian religious practitioners, 22 States have not done so, and this lack of uniformity has created hardship for Indian people who participate in such religious ceremonies; “(4) the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), held that the First Amendment does not protect Indian practitioners who use peyote in Indian religious ceremonies, and also raised uncertainty whether this religious practice would be protected under the compelling State interest standard; and “(5) the lack of adequate and clear legal protection for the religious use of peyote by Indians may serve to stigmatize and marginalize Indian tribes and cultures, and increase the risk that they will be exposed to discriminatory treatment. “(b)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the use, possession, or transportation of peyote by an Indian for bonafide traditional ceremonial purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian religion is lawful, and shall not be prohibited by the United States or any State. No Indian shall be penalized or discriminated against on the basis of such use, possession or transportation, including, but not limited to, denial of otherwise applicable benefits under public assistance programs. “(2) This section does not prohibit such reasonable regulation and registration by the Drug Enforcement Administration of those persons who cultivate, harvest, or distribute peyote as may be consistent with the purposes of this Act. “(3) This section does not prohibit application of the provisions of section 481.111(a) of Vernon’s Texas Health and Safety Code Annotated, in effect on the date of enactment of this section, insofar as those provisions pertain to the cultivation, harvest, and distribution of peyote. “(4) Nothing in this section shall prohibit any Federal department or agency, in carrying out its statutory responsibilities and functions, from promulgating regulations establishing reasonable limitations on the use or ingestion of peyote prior to or during the performance of duties by sworn law enforcement officers or personnel directly involved in public transportation or any other safety-sensitive positions where the performance of such duties may be adversely affected by such use or ingestion. Such regulations shall be adopted only after consultation with representatives of traditional Indian religions for which the sacramental use of peyote is integral to their practice. Any regulation promulgated pursuant to this section shall be subject to the balancing test set forth in section 3 of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law 103-141; 42 U.S.C. 2OOObb-1). “(5) This section shall not be construed as requiring prison authorities to permit, nor shall it be construed to prohibit prison authorities from permitting, access to peyote by Indians while incarcerated within Federal or State prison facilities. “(6) Subject to the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law 103-141; 42 U.S.C. 2000bb-1), this section shall not be construed to prohibit States from enacting or enforcing reasonable traffic safety laws or regulations. “(7) Subject to the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law 103-141; 42 USC 2000bb-1), this section does not prohibit the Secretary of Defense from promulgating regulations establishing reasonable limitations on the use, possession, transportation, or distribution of peyote to promote military readiness, safety, or compliance with international law or laws of other countries. Suc