PEYOTE

PEYOTE 

Archeological evidence shows that peyote has been used in North America for over 10,000 years.  Plant remains have been found in human sites dating from 8,500 BC.  The ancient Colima culture of 2,000 years ago has prolific art showing the use of peyote.  Peyote came to European attention when Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztec civilization of central Mexico in 1559.  His appointed archbishop, Juan de Zumarraga, searched throughout the empire for information about their civilization and burned thousands of documents, including a tremendous store of knowledge of plants and medicines.

The Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun accompanied the conquistadors.  Fortunately for historians, he was a better naturalist than missionary, and recognized the value of the information that was about to be lost.  He worked tirelessly with Aztec physicians to record their medical practices and after decades of effort, produced the monumental Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana (General History of Things of New Spain).  In this work, he described a cactus used by the Chichimecas,  “which they call peyotl, and those who drank it took it in place of wine.”  He went on to write “it is like a food to the Chichimecas, which supports them and gives them courage to fight and they have neither fear, nor thirst, nor hunger, and they say that it protects them from every danger.

The new conquerors were not pleased to learn of a plant, which gave courage and removed fear and hunger.  In 1571, a harsh repression began of all traditional religious practices, and in 1620, the use of peyote was declared to be the work of the devil.  In the eyes of the government, peyote was as evil as murder and cannibalism and its use severely punished, sometimes by death.

Although peyote was repressed, it continued to be used secretly by healers and shamans, and more openly by remote tribes including the Yaqui, Cora and Tepecano.  Two tribes in particular, the Huichole and the Tarahumara have carried the peyote tradition up to the present as a central, dominant feature of their culture.

The Huichole tribe now consists of about 25,000 people who live in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain region of northwestern Mexico.  Most of their sacred practices revolve around the use of peyote, which they hold as the physical manifestation of God.  Peyote, they believe, “will give one heart” and greatly increases Kupuri, the energy force that creates life.  Because the cactus does not grow in their territory, Huichole’s travel hundreds of miles to the peyote fields each year in a ritualistic journey that involves prayer, abstinence, and celebration.  Their annual pilgrimage is made at the end of the rainy season, in October or November.  A Huichole shaman, the Mara’akame, who is in contact with Tatewari, the grandfather-fire, also known as Hikuri, the Peyote-God, leads the pilgrimage.  For the Huichole, peyote is much more than an intoxicant; it is a central feature of their lives.  They pray to it, tell stories and dance to it, and use it for all types of illnesses, even childbirth, and rub the juices of fresh peyote into wounds to prevent infection and promote healing.

The Tarahumara historically lived north of the Huichole in the Sierra Madre Occidental, but now many of the 50,000 members of the tribe have migrated to the hills and plains southwest of the city of Chihuahua.  Tarahumaras are famous as great distance runners, delighting in 20 to 40 mile races over rugged mountain trails.  Their races are not only for sport but also have religious meaning.  Athletes carry only a little leather pouch containing peyote, which they use for endurance and to keep focused on the meditative spirit of the run.  While the outward ritual of their peyote use is different from the Huichole, they share the belief that peyote is the flesh of God.

 

 

Understanding spirituality

You are made from the very substance of God. Nothing you do can separate you from the creator. As your birthright, All the answers rest within yourself. No matter what spiritual path you follow, you should always be suspicious of  exorbitant fees and prices for something that has no shape or form or substance.  If you are paying for an experience, be sure that the fee that you pay is only covering the expenses.

All too often people who are placed in positions of power are psychopaths, google that! Just because someone is Native American does not mean that they have the qualifications necessary to lead you on the spiritual path. Ultimately, this is something only you can do. You are solely responsible for your spiritual clarity. Connect within yourself. No one is able to do this for you!

If someone is assisting you on your spiritual path, be sure this is the only role that they play in your unfoldment.   If you are foolish enough to give someone exorbitant amounts of money for guidance then you are only deluding yourself.  Every fiber of your being connects to the source of all that is.  This is the divine mystery of Native American spirituality and all spiritual paths.

Most people on the spiritual path seem to be completely distracted from actually connecting to source. Many many years may go by  and the only thing you may achieve is a self dialogue about how spiritual you think you are. Telling yourself each day that you are such and such or so and so when it is just a lie.  It does not matter how sacred you think your feathers are, it is what you do with them that matters.  It is better to rely on what is within you, without culture and without your internal dialogue. The spirit is beyond all this, and yet it is right in front of you all along.

most spiritual or religious activities  are ways for you to sacrifice yourself for a greater good. They are not ways to get closer to God or to achieve spirituality, these things you already possess. A ceremony should be a celebration of the divinity we already have. Look at all the people who have  been sacrificing themselves for lifetimes and have little spiritual integrity to show for it. The number of rituals and rights you have undergone does not determine how spiritual you are. Make your spirituality count and make your sacrifices count by living a simple life, in humility, honesty and compassion.

There is a lot of ego in religion. To be spiritual you need to go no further  than looking within yourself and by enjoying the simple gifts that life has provided you.  You do not need to pray in order to be spiritual, prayer is a form of communication. If you need a friend to lead and guide you, understand that this person is no more spiritual than you are.  Such a person is only a tour guide, and can never be anything more than that. Remember your Divinity and your birthright as part of the creation.

We have lived on this earth for millions of years. Our connection is timeless, beyond cultural forms, race, gender and ideas of any kind.  Regardless of the spiritual path you have chosen, your connectedness is inevitable, it is your awareness of this that is significant.  Connect by yourself now rather than wait for someone to do it for you.  You may be waiting for a long time for nothing, only to realize it was there all along. It is impossible for someone to make you spiritual and it is impossible to buy a connection. All of this, our lives and everything else has been given to you freely. Only your perspective can make any difference in any of it at all.

 

 

 

prayer

This ancient statue is The Aztec Medicine Goddess. She Is poised in the usual Peyote fashion. This statue used to hold a staff and Gourd rattle.

Prayer is communicating with the divine. Each one of us has an integral connection with the Creator. Everything animate and inanimate is directly connected to the very center of the universe. This is the meaning of Mitaku Oyasin, we are all relatives, all of us and everything. We all share the same spirit. Spirit is the one thing that science will never understand, no one ever will. Spirit is formless, colorless, odorless, timeless and yet, it is one thing. it is everywhere but also lives independently within everything. It is through our spirit that we are able to reconnect to the source, for strength, direction and prayer.logo FSICC,9

Prayer is more complex than than just communicating through the spirit though. Prayer is something that all living beings do. All animals have a form of prayer and meditation. Even an atheist will pray and talk with the divine with out really knowing it. We all have a voice to talk to each other. Our voice is sacred and was given to us to express ourselves. Star Quilt

It is said that long ago, that the creator wanted to create a being that could artistically appreciate the art of his creation. The human was destined to artistically appreciate nature and to be a guardian of it. For that reason we were given intelligence. To see this world in yet a different and unique way and also in order to communicate with divine beings. The Creator wanted us to safeguard nature, a being that could hear the divine beings, understand them and do what was needed. tipi

We may have lost the ability to hear the spirits clearly but we still have the ability to to speak to them. As a species we have become self absorbed. we confuse the words of the divine beings with our own thoughts. We talk to ourselves almost incessantly, so much that we can barely hear the words of the spirits. Other animals use there voice to speak to each other, to the spirits, but not to themselves. rainbow

After the creation of humankind, another type of being was created. angelic beings known as Wakankin. One specific type of Wakankin was designed to hear the people and to help them. They could carry our messages to the gods and goddesses and help us when we need it. For this they were attuned to the human voice. This is why it is important for us to pray out loud, to reach this particular type of angelic being. So although we may have lost the ability to hear these spirits well, they can hear us very clearly. These Angelic beings were created for the specific purpose to help the people (and all the other animals) when ever they need help.Fire

We can pray at any time and in many different ways. Special times and places can make the act of talking to divinity more special and powerful. For instance, praying from a mountain top or by a sacred spring. One can make prayer more effective by singing a song with a specific intention. The use of sacred objects or by praying in a ritual can help. Ritual is, after all, a form of prayer. Just by drawing a design into the earth with your prayer can give it much more substance.Crestone

Praying with the Chanupa, making prayer ties with tobacco, doing Hanbleceya (Vision Quest) or greeting the morning star can all help in projecting your intention. It is not just the act of prayer that gets things done, it takes sacrifice. A ritual is a form of sacrifice, but there are many things that you can do to as a sacrifice. Putting out water, food offerings, a feather or even a shell. depending on the purpose of your prayer, you could offer things in many different ways, to the fire, in a tree, on an altar or just upon the earth.sunset Whatever the case, it is said “be careful what you pray for”. Prayers can be answers in many ways. Whenever someone prays in arrogance, for example, they could expect an outcome that may teach them a lesson. Especially when praying at a time or place of power, it is advised to be careful with your words.floridadecjan0809 092 On the subject of praying, there is much that can be said. The most important thing is your intention. What are you praying for and why, is it selfish or selfless? You do not have to wait for a good time to pray, you can pray at any time, just address the divinity. Most importantly, know that you have the ability to pray effectively. Each one of us contains the very center of the universe, each one of us has a direct connection to the source of all life. It is your birthright to have your voice heard in times of need. Feb. 20 017 It is always good to have others pray for you and with you, but do not be fooled into believing that you need someones permission to pray. Your words may gain more validity as you become more humble, but every voice is heard!

 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.

Wiwila Oyate

All over the world, on every continent and in every culture one can hear stories of a tiny race of people who live underground. Through the illustrations of children’s books one can see that this belief survived the Inquisition and the domination of Christianity. The Little People may be small but their presence is strong among those who have seen and encountered them. Like the Tree Spirits (Fairies) and the Sasquatch (Bigfoot), many cultures share the lore of these mythical beings, even into present day.

Lore of the Little People, Elves, Leprechauns or Gnomes is so incredibly vast that it would take a lifetime to record all the known stories of them. Like the Tree Fairies and Bigfoot, the stories continue as people encounter them. One theme that remains constant in all cultures is how these mythical being are visiting us less and less as we recede away into the realm of logic. The more domestic we become, the more preposterous these old stories seem.

Wiwila is the Lakota word for Spring, a place where water flows from the earth. Wiwila Oyate is one of several names for the Little People, The Spring Nation. The Wiwila are said to have been created before humankind. Made to regulate the seasons, the movement of the planets, the waterways and springs, these people are some times seen by others, reminding us of the stories of old.

Whatever the culture, the stories of them usually include the granting of a wish, some sort of trickery or a combination of both. Always there seems to be an element of danger or harm that may befall one who harasses them. It is believed that when venturing into the wilderness one should take heed not to trespass into Wiwila territory or suffer the invisible arrows shot by little men. While the Wiwila is feared and avoided in most cases, there is a time and place where they are still called upon for help, Yuwipi.

Nowhere is the Wiwila more prevalent than in the Yuwipi and lowanpi Ceremonies. They can be seen, heard running about and are often felt and recognized by their tiny hands. Usually one would not speak of them, let alone write about them on the computer! Now we have reached a time where we must remind the human race about the servants of the earth and of the other beings who live in symbiosis with us here. It may seem unreasonable to modern culture that they exist, but the fact remains that they do.

The Wiwila, among other beings, are said to have inhabited the earth before humankind, at some point they are said to have called us, or wished us here with their intention, drawing us from the Pleiades. This is not just Lakota myth, many cultures believed this at one time. It is said that the creator gave us intelligence to appreciate his artwork, but it is also said that we were given intelligence in order to communicate with the divine beings. So that when the Wiwila needed help in regulating nature, they could call upon the humans for help.

As a race, we seem unable to hear them now but they are calling to us still, even through the chatter of our own minds. Around the industrial revolution there are literally thousands of stories of warnings from the Little people all over the world. It is so strange that these stories are so obscure and hard to find because it was not so long ago that the Industrial revolution began. In Germany, each town and province has stories of their warnings, that the they are leaving because of the construction of some machine or factory in the area. There are literally thousands of such stories across Europe.

Could it be that the modern concept of aliens is none other than the original inhabitants of this world? In Native American understanding, the Star Nations (wicahpi Oyate), are the the gods and goddesses who live in the heavens, not alien races. Obviously there seems to be life everywhere, but these alien characters seem more like elves than astronauts! Whatever the case may be, their message is clear to those that listen carefully.

Palmistry Reading

Aside


Type of Palm Reading
Specific Questions:



To Get an online Palm reading with Christopher, just take pictures of your hands and send to (719) 588-8181. You can also send them to advanceddivination@gmail.com, through Facebook or by mail. It is also possible to send a scan of the hands by placing your palms over a scanner or printer.

Take Pictures of the front, back and sides of both hands. Different lighting  conditions and different angles of light help a lot too. Send by phone, mail, or Email them to advanceddivination@gmail.com. Be sure and give me your name and phone number and decide on a good time for me to call. This reading will be very detailed, so it would be best if it was recorded.

Any extra photographs can be very helpful in answering complex questions, for instance, if you wanted to know where you were born or something of that nature, it would helpful to have pictures of the bottoms of your feet, your face, profile and any curious moles, birthmarks and/or scars you might have.

A basic reading is 30 minutes long. It can be done in classic palmistry fashion or we can spend that time just looking at the present in order to resolve an issue or answer some questions.

A full palm reading is one hour long. It can entail both, the classic palm reading, as well as looking into specific issues.

A complete palm reading is every thing I can find out about you from your hands (or from any pictures that you send me). This can be over the phone or in written text form (as an essay), or both. This will also include an Astro-palmistry natal chart of the hand showing planetary signs.

A composite of any of the above readings can be customized as you like. If you are a student of palmistry, or if you are interested in understanding how I know what I know, I can draw out any specific detail in your hands along with explanations.

Also, you can Click this link to go to my Facebook page. Text me your information for free questions and readings. Any Information you share will remain private and can be used for future readings!

                                     back of left hand Right palm Baby's palm Left side Right and Left great palm Left side of hand

Readings usually occur over the phone, although, it is possible for an audio recorded reading to be sent to your email. For the complete reading, you will receive a text format sent to your email.

Legal Disclaimer: By agreeing to use the services of Advanced Palmistry you agree that you have read and understand that all information is subject to the service recipient’s interpretation.Advanced Palmistry will not be held accountable for any interpretations  or decisions made by recipients based on information provided during readings.These readings are for entertainment purposes only. All information and/or advice given to you by Advanced Palmistry should not take the place of any medical, legal or financial advice given to you by any qualified professional.  All sessions by Advanced Palmistry are not a substitute for medical, legal or financial advice.You must be 18 years of age to use this service, or have written consent from a parent or legal guardian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Moontime Details

The Singing Stone fully recognizes the extreme energy that women carry during Moontime. Divine Feminine physical manifestations of our Creator/Creatrix, our power is so great that we are capable of bringing forth new life. Because Moontime is such a powerful pull, we follow these traditional Lakota Ceremonies as they were passed to us and we do not allow mooning women to attend. The reason for this is because moontime energy would completely take over the intentions of the Medicine Man/Woman and people who put so much effort into creating a Ceremony with a specific purpose. As we have been guided by our teachers, women on their moontime may be present for All Night Peyote Meetings but would need to prepare 13 prayer ties around her waist with the intention to not interfere with the main intention. Ceremonies that consist of only women such as a sweat lodge and non traditional rituals would not include drums, feathers, sacred pipes, or any other sacred objects used in Indigenous Ceremonies for men and women.

Moontime (Menses) is a special time for a woman to enjoy her own Ceremony in solitude or with other mooning women. We encourage our young sisters who have reached womanhood and mothers who are still in this phase to rejuvenate and relax while others attend to children and other responsibilities. We envision a space for Goddesses to retreat together during this sacred time. For now, we have a red tipi which women are welcome to retreat to for however long or short needed.

Hanbleceya List

The Singing Stone

Hanbleceya List

We welcome those interested in going out for vision quest to present tobacco or a loaded pipe to the Medicine Man. Please have a clear intention in regards to the number of days that you would like to be sequestered. Anyone interested in going on the hill must have supported at least one time. We also ask that you assist with wood preparations beforehand. You must supply prepared food, snacks, and/or any other meal items or monetary donations to feed supporters. It is helpful if you have two people to be your “helpers”. If this is not possible then a supporter(s) will be designated to assist you when you go out as well as when you return. Please arrive one or two days prior to the date to be planted. Below is a list of materials needed for Vision Quest.

Large amount of loose tobacco

  1. Fabric for 405 prayer ties (1” apart) in this order around a ball of sage on a continuous string:

    - 5 in colors of your choice of blue, green, and/or purple (small amount of fabric)

    - 100 white (1/3 yard for 2” squares)

    - 100 yellow (1/3 yard for 2” squares)

    - 100 red (1/3 yard for 2” squares)

    - 100 black (1/3 yard for 2” squares)

  2. Fabric (¼ yard each)

    - Black, red, yellow, gray, blue, green, brown, orange, & purple for flags

         – red felt for waluta

         – red for wrapping items

  1. One new star quilt, Pendleton blanket, or animal hide to give away 

  2. One personal blanket

  3. One new knife (cheap/expensive/your choice)

  4. One Pipe (corn husk tobacco may be provided)

  5. One new metal bucket to give away

  6. One new metal dipper to give away

  7. Medicine Wheel

  8. Shell Button

  9. Sweetgrass braid

  10. Sage (one armload may be collected or purchased)

  11. One special feather

  12. Six Chokecherry sticks collected in woods cut to one yard and pointed prior to Hanbleceya

  13. Attire: – Men wear shorts and a good pair of shoes – Women wear a cotton dress, shawl, if desired, and a good pair of shoes

  14. Feast for supporters for after Hanbleceya

  15. Personal food/drink for after

  16. Optional Giveaway for supporters

The Singing Stone has some items available for purchase such as metal dippers, higher quality metal buckets, sweet grass braids, medicine wheels, and shells. Bucket and dipper may be purchased at Big R arriving north in Conifer 303-816-7124. From south in Alamosa 719-587-0435. Orr’s Trading Company in Englewood, Colorado (near Denver) has shells buttons, quill work medicine wheels, and other items that you may need. They are at 303-722-6466.

To do the vision quest one would need to make the tobacco prayer ties. The 405 prayer ties are offerings for the 405 spirits of the Earth (Wasicun pi). The spirits that come will inspect each one ( they may not all come ).  The ties are also a protective device, in that only the 405 spirit may enter. Usually we use just basic cotton fabric. Normally the 405 ties are red but colors can vary depending on the situation. Be sure and contact us about this important detail. The fabric is cut into 2 inch squares.

The string to use may be yarn, kite string, or sinew (waxed nylon). A tiny pinch of tobacco is placed into a cloth square, using two slip knots, the bundle is tied without cutting the string. Keep the prayer ties an inch apart. You should only be praying while you do this, nothing else. It is nice to smudge the prayer ties each time you sit down to work on them. The ties should be rolled onto a small wad of sage as you go along, sort of like rolling a ball of yarn. They can be made in stages or all at once. Be sure the string will be long enough, pieces of string cannot be tied together. So make sure you wind up with one continuous line of 405 prayer ties 1 inch apart.

You will also need to make prayer flags, also known as robes. You will need 1/4 yard of red, yellow, black, gray, blue, green, brown, orange, and lavender. These should be new basic cotton. Also you will need 1/4 yard of red felt of any kind. A small hand full of tobacco is placed into the corner of the fabric and tied into a bundle with string. Each flag will be separate but make sure you leave about 7 inches of string  on either side of the bundle to tie these to sticks later.

Just before vision quest we will take a short hike to gather fresh sage and five forked sticks either chokecherry or juniper. The prayer flags will be tied to these just before the sweat lodge. The sage will be laid out upon the ground within the Hocoka.

For the red felt prayer flag (waluta) you will also need a shell button, a medicine wheel disc decorated with porcupine quills, and a special feather. These will be tied to the bundle in that order. Please contact us if you cannot find some of these supplies.

A metal bucket with a dipper and a plain knife will be needed. An extra quarter yard of red basic cotton fabric will be used to wrap all of these things with sage. All of the items used in the vision quest must be new and unused. You will need a new star quilt or a Pendleton blanket or a buffalo hide. Everything that has been mentioned so far will be given away afterwards, except the sage, which can be used throughout the year as smudge incense. An extra blanket should be brought. This can be a used blanket of any kind that you will not give away.

The most important item for the vision quest is the sacred canupa or sacred pipe. Those people who carry a canupa will use their own. We will provide a pipe (on loan) to those who do not have one. Like the bucket, dipper, and knife, their handles will be wrapped in sage with the extra red fabric.

During the Vision Quest, if you need to use the “bathroom” you will place your sweetgrass braid over the prayer tie string. You will step over the braid outside of the hocoka use the “bathroom” and step back over the sweetgrass braid into the hocoka and remove the sweetgrass braid from the prayer tie string. To avoid all this one should fast from solid foods one or two days before going up on the hill.

In the event of the menses unexpectedly occurring while questing, a woman then is led away from the sequestered area and will be taken to the Moon Lodge. The ceremony ends for her then and can resume at a later date.( We will know if  the Moontime begins ).

Appropriate attire for this event for men is a pair of shorts or underwear. Ladies wear a simple cotton dress. We have sweat dresses and all of the necessary ceremonial equipment available.

Anyone participating in the vision quest would be responsible for providing a feast for all of the supporters. In some cases one would give gifts to all of the supporters as well. Contact us for more details in regards to this. Some of the foods for this are specific and would have to be prepared during the Ceremony. A few groceries to feed some of the supporters are necessary as well (they will participate in a light fast).

Moontime Details

Moontime (Menses) is a special time for a woman to enjoy her own Ceremony in solitude or with other mooning women. We encourage our young sisters who have reached womanhood and mothers who are still in this phase to rejuvenate and relax while others attend to children and other responsibilities. We envision a space for Goddesses to retreat together during this sacred time. For now, we have a red tipi which women are welcome to retreat to for however long or short needed. To read more about this energy, feel free to read Reclaiming our Moon Lodge. Contact Andrea Long at 719-937-1331 if you may be starting your sacred Moontime during one of our Ceremonies and she is happy to be of service and help hold space.

Reclaiming our Moon Lodge

As our Grandmothers have done since before recorded history, we the women enter into our own Ceremony each month. Flesh and blood, these physical manifestations of Spirit have the incredible capability to give life. Not to be taken for granted, moon time (menstruation) is a special time when our power is so great that our energy may inadvertently take over other Ceremonies. One egg dies each month while a cleansing of our bodies, minds, spirits, and emotions prepares us for yet another cycle. The womb of creation resides within each woman whether we choose to give birth or not. Cycles continue in the circle of life regardless of where we come from or how we live our lives.

Red Tent

Are we aware of this power that naturally unfolds as we enter once again into our dark inward phase each month? It is our responsibility to learn what it means to be gifted these incarnations as women reclaiming our Moon Lodge. How do we do this? The answer is simple but seemingly difficult for our domestically trained minds in an increasingly technological time. We are living in a male dominated culture when production, efficiency, science, and reason are the focus. Feminine qualities which were once revered such as intuition, receptivity, and artistic expression are now viewed as a waste of time, frivolous, and lazy. While mother qualities are encouraged such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for our children, a balance is needed for us to have the energy to lovingly nurture others. Moon Lodge is a space where we can retreat from all responsibilities. Moon time is just 4 days out of each month when we, the women may recharge so that we are strong and empowered, ready to fulfill each of our specific life purposes while caring for our families in a joyful manner.

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Regardless of the cycles taking place in our outer world, we must be aware of and honor our own cycles. Together we support one another while welcoming a return of this sacred space. Let’s turn off our cell phones, quiet our busy minds, retreat to our Moon Lodge, and listen to what the Spirits are telling us. In native teachings, spirit is in everything. We can keep trying to find that teacher or book but it all resides within each of us. The universe is one and the same whether it be from the Spirit in the from of a clear understanding in that “Aha” moment or in the form of a direct feeling from a tree or stone. During the dark phase of our moon cycle, when we are bleeding, women are even more receptive so it is extremely important for us to calm our minds and listen to the messages that we need to hear in order to help ourselves as well as our relations. This is a good time to pay particular attention to our dreams and write in a journal so that we can reflect on them later. When we are mooning it is an opportunity to pray for anyone that we might feel needs help. From deep within ourselves we may develop or give birth to something new and we are in tune with an inner knowing of what is and is not working in our lives. As the moon surrenders her light, women follow her example and prepare to shed their blood, retreating into the Moon Lodge to rest, reflect, and gather wisdom.

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Why do we call it moon time? The tides of the waters are regulated by Grandmother Moon and she watches over all the waters of the Earth. Just as Grandmother Moon watches over the waters of the Earth, women watch over the waters of the people. Feminine waters are always first followed by new life. The moon cycle is a gift to the women and we are especially close to Grandmother Moon because she governs the woman’s cleansing cycle. Second only to the ability of the Great Spirit to give new life, it is considered a time of extreme power. Some traditions believe that when women are on their moon time, the Creator comes closer to them. It is interesting to note that in the newer patriarchal religions the moon is seen as a dark satellite and bringer of negativity whereas in the older traditions of the Earth, the moon has always been seen as a life giving force.

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Not to be crossed with the masculine fire element, moon energy is cool and feminine. In general, women pray with water (moon) while men pray with fire (sun). A ceremony of men and non mooning women centering around a fire might be simultaneously taking place with a circle of mooning women nearby. It is the responsibility of women to focus on the water instead of the fire as an additional fire burning with mooning women could be extremely dangerous. An unnatural increase in the flow of blood by the women in the Moon Lodge could occur. Another outcome could be that the energy of mooning women could completely take over the efforts of participants in the other ceremony which is counterproductive. Many ceremonies include men, women, and children but when it comes to subjects concerning women, it is meant only for women while discussions around men are meant only for men.

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To understand the extreme power that exists during moon time as well as reverence for this influential energy, we can go back in time and explore cultures from around the world. All indigenous traditions would agree that a mooning woman’s energy could overpower a Ceremony and would encourage seclusion for any woman who is menstruating. From a Native American perspective, a woman who is on her moon time that is not being responsible can be detrimental to the entire tribe. It was believed that menstrual blood could interfere with the power that men needed for hunting. Because this energy is associated with the positive forces of life, it could overwhelm their power to kill. Hunters were instructed not to walk near a menstruating woman or to swim downstream from where she bathed. There is a mystical connection that is thought to exist between the blood of a mooning woman, the essence of life, and that of game. This would keep a tribe from acquiring the necessary food for survival. In Hinduism, moon time is recognized as such an essential cleansing of toxins (ama) and metabolic wastes that women are believed to outlive men. Apana vayu is an aspect responsible for the circulation and physical movement of energy, wastes materials and fluids down and out of the body. This is an excerpt from the Old Testament in Leviticus 15:19, part of Semitic mythology, “When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean until evening.”In Bali, a woman is not allowed to enter the kitchen to perform her usual duties, nor is she allowed to have sex with her husband while menstruating. She is to sleep apart from the family and has to keep her clothes that she wears while menstruating away from any clothes that she could wear to the temple.

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This small handful of examples from various parts of our world reveals the importance of this part of a woman’s cycle. Something to consider interesting about the times we are living in now is how little this sacred moon time is actually recognized and respected. Could it be that secluding women during menstruation is inconvenient? Would a lack of attendees in Church interfere with the overall amount of money given? Is our present culture so repressed and confused that there is literally no acknowledgment? Are we just incredibly lazy? How could it be that women still continue to keep going like this?

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On a practical level, we all need to make an effort to truly honor moon time by making some steps to change the recurring pattern of it being “just another day” and “just another moon time”. Not a time to be spent on the mundane of daily household chores, the veil between worlds is thin and is best spent in solitude or in a small group. Ideally we would have a house or room to return to each month that is clean, cozy, and accessible to rest and relax in. This is not always feasible so it is important for us to communicate with our families and friends about how important it is for everyone to acknowledge and respect this woman’s time. Perhaps, until this “space” is created we need to hang in there and with gentle assertiveness insist on some changes taking place in the home. Planning ahead helps so that when it is time to retreat, there is food prepared in the freezer or others in the house know that we are not responsible for everyone’s needs. What about the women taking turns feeding each other, doing laundry, watching kids, or other chores? Also, we each need to make this quiet time happen. Even if it is just for an hour, it is a start. It is perfectly O.K. to say no sometimes and we do not need to feel guilty for doing this. If we are routinely caring for ourselves then we will naturally have an inward peace that emanates from our being. The feeling of lack and overwhelm will be a thing of the past and then we have the energy to give to others.

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We pray for our sons, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, and nephews as well as for our feminine counterparts so that things can be brought back into balance. There is no time to dwell on the dysfunction of our world that we have collectively created. It is time to honestly look at ourselves and make changes where it is needed. The time of separation between women is over. Now we must, once again, connect with our fellow Queen Goddesses and create our Sacred Moon Lodge Temples. We are muske, sisters dancing together as we always have been.

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Spiritual Experience

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Have you ever felt like you were paralyzed while falling asleep? Have you ever felt a hand grasp you or experienced levitating over your bed ? How about a strange tingling sensation that began covering your body? Certain people at some point in life’s journey have experienced such spiritual contact. Most people can recall having an out of body experience or some other unexplainable event. A common occurrence is having a strong sensation that someone is standing at the foot of your bed or even seeing someone there. Also, feeling a hand grab you, the “touch of a velvet glove” or a thick dark liquid like substance covering your body. If you have had such visitations you are either ready to take it further or real scared or both!

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Particular spirits work with specific people, it is the mission of these spirits to help those who have the potential of attaining Immortality through the dream world. These spirits have a symbiotic relationship with humans that can be enhanced by training us to enter their realms. In other words this whole religious idea of attaining heaven and immortality is part of the creators plan for human’s potential. When one has the potential for such work, the spirit of the earth and other immortals will test the prospective apprentice. This can happen through having flying dreams, lucid dreams and other indescribable phenomenon.

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A big issue people have with this theory is the question of why fear plays a part of this process. Fear is seen as a negative force and generally as a natural warning of danger. Fear is also a necessary defense mechanism, one that is needed in order to survive on the other side. In the same way that danger exists in this world, dangers and predatory forces exist on the path to the other worlds. It is common for the spirits to stop working with an apprentice who becomes fearless. A soul traveler with out a healthy sense of fear has no survival value on the other side. The spirits will not train someone who has no sense of fear. It is crucial for a student of astral travel to be able to detect danger.

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Japan’s Ainu Bear Ceremony

This issue presents a contradiction in the minds of many spiritual seekers. The perception of good and evil is confused with other things. The only true force of evil in the universe is human ignorance. Then there are things that are harmful to us, things that are bad for us. Cats are bad for mice, this does not mean that cats are evil. Some natural beings and animals are harmful to us here in this world, likewise in the other realms some beings may seek to devour us. These beings are no different than earthly predators. These beings are the same as animals and are otherwise innocent. Sharks that eat people are not evil, they are hungry and it is useful for us to fear them.There is no organized force of evil other than the ignorance of mankind.

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I think the concept of good and evil came about among the mystics and magicians of the past. It was a code of conduct for retaining and cultivating spiritual energy, something that is essential for lucid dreaming and out of body travel. One can easily see that the earths’ population of people desperately needs a code of ethical conduct, this has nothing to do with the ancient art of spiritual assention and it’s do’s and don’t’s.

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One of the greatest spiritual tests that can confront a prospective immortal is if you are shown some thing so wonderful, like a physical teleportation through a dream, will you seek to duplicate the experience? Oftentimes things are done to us to make us seek, call it inspiration. A person can be taken out of their body and shown how to fly. Such an experience is comparable to a baby having a dream of walking. We learn to walk in this life, walking is a useful tool after you have past through the veil of this world, flying is even more useful. Everything we learn in this life can be thought of as tools for the afterlife.

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Far more valuable than flying or sensing danger is the act of sustaining a lucid dream and maintaining the dream. The art of sustaining the energy of a dream is the cornerstone of physical immortality. In order to preform such a task one needs perceptual energy otherwise known as detachment, will, motivation, a sense of purpose and unshakable determination. In the early stages of dream work a person is usually tested to see if they know weather or not they are dreaming. To be aware that you are dreaming is the first step of consciously dreaming.

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This is a type of dream you are experiencing now. To put the same attention to your sleeping dreams as your awake life is paramount to walking into another dimension. The problem arises in the dream world is that we tend to return to this world, or wake up. The significance of sustaining and maintaining a dream is that you could conceivably do so indefinitely. Another facet of this process is the concept of blending the dream world with the awake world. If you can fly in a lucid dream, you can conceivably merge the dream world with the awake world and fly here. This is the key to magic, the miraculous.

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For thousands of years people have been known to be able to preform miraculous deeds, turning into animals, flying across the sky on a broom or on a flying carpet. Oftentimes these acts were performed with the aid of mind altering substances. Things that meld the dream and reality together in such a way that they are indistinguishable from “reality”. Perception is what we sustain our life’s reality with. We “are” because we are aware. It is perception which upholds this reality as well as the dream. If you put your attention on science and it’s reductionist assumptions you will likewise fall into it’s limitations.

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Obviously any substance which acts upon the human body in such a way is of little use to those who seek to survive beyond the physical body. Such substances have served ancient seekers and modern alike to break through perceptual boundary’s. Such things are counterproductive when they become indispensable and can damage one’s ability to sustain a dream’s energy. Controlled substances use dream energy, they are catalysts for our existing energy, not sources of energy. Your ability to naturally sustain awareness in a dream depends largely upon the amount of potential energy given to you through your parents act of conception during copulation. The key to proper spiritual cultivation is a sense of aspiration, an uplifting sense of beauty and celestial spender. To seek to emulate the heavens, symmetry and order. In essence this is the act of forming alliances with the divine, making friends of angels.

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This process is no different from how you make good friends here on earth. By showing charity, having faith, by always having hope, being strong, by practicing moderation, being just and by being a balanced person. What impresses angelic beings the most is to aspire to the point of defying the boundaries of this reality. It’s impressive when someone wins an Olympic medal, a lot of people will be attracted to you for such an achievement. Similarly, in the spiritual realm, a meditation feat of Olympic proportions will impress the gods and goddesses and may enlist their help. Meditation, austerity and self sacrifice can be seen as as a way of proving yourself more than the means to go beyond this reality. A magician who walks through walls does so with the help of spirits. A yogi mystic who can levitate does not do so under his own steam, these things are done with the help of friends.

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It is of utmost importance to avoid being judgmental. We should discern by having healthy boundaries. We should not be in judgement of anyone practicing magic of any form, for at this point in human history, it is far better for a person to overcome the limitations of reason than to remain in the darkness and ignorance of the mundane. As was mentioned earlier in this article, true evil is the dismal ignorance of mankind and the disbelief that we possess a spirit. It is they who are lost. Witchcraft and sorcery can no longer be classified as unproductive. Especially if it may lead to some form of liberation no matter how crude, such things are on the brink of extinction! It seems we are on the verge of becoming a race of atheistic zombies.

What tools does an atheist have for the afterlife? There is the knowledge of walking, of moving about and that is real important. It seems that most atheists stay put after their demise. This results in metaphysical entropy, the breaking down of the soul and the losing of ones will. With out the will, the soul becomes a ghost, a spiritual zombie, such beings, without receiving attention, will eventually stop moving entirely.

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If you experience a shockingly vivid experience in dreams or between dreams, take full advantage the moment! If some force grabs you in the night let it take you. Don’t feel shame in your fear of the unknown, bask in it. Strive with all your might to overcome the fate of the unbeliever. Reach out to god, to rise above the limitations of the profane and fly to the heavenly realms.

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Children

Children are sacred and are exempt from all religious rules and dogma. No one should put ever put religion or spirituality before children. Contrary to a lot of faiths, we should strive to see the divine through the children and never compromise their comfort for our spiritual indulgence. Children should contribute to religion through their example of connection to nature and with their innocent spirit. We the adults have much to learn from the spontaneity and honesty of kids, especially in terms of the unknown realms of the spirit.

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Children should not be forced to endure any kind of indoctrination or molestation of any kind. Kids should not be taught about religion of any kind, they should be entertained through stories and songs. They should be taught about nature, plants and animals, the natural world. Especially in the city it is important to talk about nature and how, for thousands of years, people lived. If a kid asks you what you believe then you should tell them. If they reply in some coy or irreverent way, consider their wisdom carefully. The children’s reaction to dogma may provide valuable clues to the truths of the spiritual path.

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Have fun with kids and don’t impose any belief structure upon any of them. It is our job as parents to protect their sanctity and to learn from them. If we indoctrinate them into a faith they may never have the chance to accept a better path when it does come along. Teach them to keep an open mind while at the same time questioning authority. They should rely on their own impressions of divinity from within their own hearts. It is more valuable that they be inquisitive than faithful. It is better for them to freely doubt than to blindly trust and that goes for us adults as well.

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Warn the children of danger, tell them the difference between the divine and human traditions. In terms of spirituality tell them to rely upon natures’ instruction rather than peoples instruction. You can explain why things are done a certain way but do not suppose that any book or persons teaching is above the creations’ wisdom. Do not assume that your child shares your spiritual tendency. Not every one is destined to walk the Red Road (spiritual path), but know that all our interactions with children is a divinely guided test. They are here to remind us of the truth and innocence that is inherent in the creation, especially before we, as adults, judge and label it.

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Our church is dedicated to to the free minds of our children. If they think what we do is silly, then we should find out why, they may be able to enlighten us! Too many children miss out on being kids because their parents were too busy with religious obligations. An adults’ belief in no holidays should not be imposed upon their children. Kids should not have to wait in the car while their parents preach from door to door. As spiritual people we must understand that the children are a divine blessing to us and we should never compromise their attention or safety for our spiritual practice. If you have children of your own, you have been bestowed with a divine mission. Children are the spiritual path of parents. Do not neglect the path that the creation has given you, instead, celebrate them as the keys to your spiritual affluence.

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The young ones are closer to the other side just as the elders are. they have a sacred perspective and sacred position in life. Some old habits and attitudes fall away from a person when he or she becomes the elder and wisdom is born. With the child no old habits or patterns are really there, so we can see another type of wisdom known as innocence. In our way of life the child and elder both are exempt of ritual protocol and rules. If the elders or children begin to express discomfort in ceremony we fix the problem, even if we have to skip that part of the ritual.ccsCCS

In Indigenous Culture there exists many different denominations, things are done a little bit differently everywhere. We are child oriented. At a community feast, some feed the leaders and elders first, we feed the children first. If a baby decides to crawl across the altar, we let them, It is a sacred and profound act to us. If an elders’ speech goes unheard because a baby is crying loudly, we will contemplate the deeper significance of this. The divinitory meanings, omens and divine humor that children add to the ceremonies overrides that of the leaders in a purely magical way. Children are pure magic and even in seemingly irreverent acts, they always bring spirituality into better focus.

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Ritual abuse is a serious problem in all cultures. It should be our responsibility as mature adults to grant them the dignity of freedom of choice in spiritual matters. In Indigenous American culture we must rely upon nature for direction, not books. It is important that we get instruction from spiritually advanced teachers, but trust above them what your divine parents show you. Your Mother Earth and Father Sky know much about what is right for you than any spiritual leader. A spiritual leader with integrity will give you the freedom to see the truth for your self and should be mature enough to know that you may receive a different message. In these ways we hear our elders and consider what they say, but do not assume that they are the absolute truth.kids!

NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH – Higher Court Rulings

NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH – Higher Court Rulings 

 

CENTRO ESPIRITA BENEFICENTE UNIAO DO VEGETAL (UDV) v. UNITED STATES – Unanimous Ruling, November 1, 2005

“The Supreme Court heard oral arguments November 1, 2005, and issued its opinion February 21, 2006, finding that the Government failed to meet its burden under RFRA that barring the substance served a compelling government interest.”

“The court also disagreed with the government’s central argument that the uniform application of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not allow for exceptions for the substance in this case, as Native Americans  are given exceptions to use Peyote, another Schedule I substance

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STATE OF UTAH SUPREME COURT UNANIMOUS RULING, June 22, 2004 – State of Utah v. James W. Mooney, aka James W.B.E. Mooney, Linda T. Mooney, and Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church of Utah, Inc.,  

“2 We therefore rule that the exemption is available to all members of the Native American Church

“We hold that the federal Religious Peyote Exemption found at 21 C.F.R. 1307.31 has been incorporated into the Utah Controlled Substances Act” 

“On its face, the federal regulation does not restrict the exemption to members of federally recognized tribes. We therefore rule that the exemption is available to all members of the Native American Church

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UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE – Memorandum to the Drug Enforcement Administration – 12/07/2000  

“Our research has identified no religious organizations, other than the NAC, which would qualify for the exemption under these or similar procedural and substantive requirements.  It seems unlikely, therefore, that in practice the peyote exemption need be expanded beyond an exemption for the NAC.” 

“If, however, a group does appear which can establish that it is a bona fide religion in which the actual use of peyote is central to established religious beliefs, practices, dogmas, or rituals, your agency is obligated to accord it the exemption under the current statutory scheme.”

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UNITED STATES TENTH FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS UNANIMOUS RULING, May 10, 1990 – United States v Robert Boyll
 
Nowhere is it even suggested that the exemption applies only to Indian members of the Native American Church.  Had the intention been to exclude non-Indian members, as the United States argues, the language of the exemption would have so clearly provided.  Indeed, the federal peyote exemption makes no reference whatsoever to a racial exclusion”  
“The District Court, Burciaga, Chief Judge, held that: (1) permitting Indians’ non-drug use of peyote in bona fide religious ceremonies of Native American church, but prohibiting such use by non-Indians, would violate free exercise and equal protection clauses; (2) compelling interest test applied to free exercise challenge to prosecution of non-Indian member, and (3) prosecution would violate free exercise clause. Motions granted..

 

 

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007

 

The General Assembly,

 

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and good faith in the fulfilment of the obligations assumed by States in accordance with the Charter,

 

Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,

 

Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind,

 

Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,

 

Reaffirming that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind,

 

Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests,

 

Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources,

 

Recognizing also the urgent need to respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with States,

 

Welcoming the fact that indigenous peoples are organizing themselves for political, economic, social and cultural enhancement and in order to bring to an end all forms of discrimination and oppression wherever they occur,

 

Convinced that control by indigenous peoples over developments affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs,

 

Recognizing that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment,

Emphasizing the contribution of the demilitarization of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples to peace, economic and social progress and development, understanding and friendly relations among nations and peoples of the world,

 

Recognizing in particular the right of indigenous families and communities to retain shared responsibility for the upbringing, training, education and well-being of their children, consistent with the rights of the child,

 

Considering that the rights affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous peoples are, in some situations, matters of international concern, interest, responsibility and character,

 

Considering also that treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, and the relationship they represent, are the basis for a strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples and States,

 

Acknowledging that the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

(2) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,2 as well as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,

(3) affirm the fundamental importance of the right to self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,

 

Bearing in mind that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny any peoples their right to self-determination, exercised in conformity with international law,

 

Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith,

 

Encouraging States to comply with and effectively implement all their obligations as they apply to indigenous peoples under international instruments, in particular those related to human rights, in consultation and cooperation with the peoples concerned,

 

Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and continuing role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,

 

Believing that this Declaration is a further important step forward for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples and in the development of relevant activities of the United Nations system in this field,

 

Recognizing and reaffirming that indigenous individuals are entitled without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples possess collective rights which are indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples,

Recognizing that the situation of indigenous peoples varies from region to region and from country to country and that the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical and cultural backgrounds should be taken into consideration,

 

Solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect:

 

Article 1

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(4) and international human rights law.

 

Article 2

Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.

 

Article 3

Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

 

Article 4

Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

 

Article 5

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

 

Article 6

Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

 

Article 7

  1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.
  2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

 

Article 8

  1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
  2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;

(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

 

Article 9

Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

 

Article 10

Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

 

Article 11

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
  2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

 

Article 12

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.
  2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.

 

Article 13

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
  2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

 

Article 14

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
  2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.
  3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

 

Article 15

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.
  2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

 

Article 16

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.
  2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.

 

Article 17

  1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law.
  2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment.
  3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.

 

Article 18

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.

 

Article 19

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

 

Article 20

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.
  2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are entitled to just and fair redress.

 

Article 21

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security.
  2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

 

Article 22

  1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration.
  2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

 

Article 23

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development.

In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions.

 

Article 24

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals.

Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services.

  1. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right.

 

Article 25

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

 

Article 26

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
  2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
  3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

 

Article 27

States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’

laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used.

Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

 

Article 28

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.
  2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.

 

Article 29

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.
  2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.
  3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.

 

Article 30

  1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned.
  2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or territories for military activities.

 

Article 31

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts.

They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

  1. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

 

Article 32

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.
  2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.
  3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.

 

Article 33

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.
  2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

 

Article 34

Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards.

 

Article 35

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities.

 

Article 36

  1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.
  2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

 

Article 37

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
  2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

 

Article 38

States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.

 

Article 39

Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration.

 

Article 40

Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights.

 

Article 41

The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

 

Article 42

The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.

 

Article 43

The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

 

Article 44

All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female indigenous individuals.

 

Article 45

Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future.

 

Article 46

  1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.
  2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law and in accordance with international human rights obligations.

Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society.

  1. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.

 

 

 

(2) See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

 

(3) A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), chap. III.

 

(4) Resolution 217 A (III).

Six Degrees of Separation to World Peace

 

 

First Amendment of the Bill of Rights

First Amendment of the Bill of Rights

Congressional Seal

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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

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The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. See U.S. Const. amend. I 



Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, and assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress has interpreted the First Amendment. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments.  See U.S. Const. amend. XIV.

U.S.A.

Religious use of peyote

42 U.S. Code § 1996a – Traditional Indian religious use of peyote

Current through Pub. L. 114-19. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

(a) Congressional findings and declarations

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) Use, possession, or transportation of peyote

(1) Notwithstanding 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. 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 section and section1996 of this title.
(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 October 6, 1994, 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. 2000bb–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) [42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.], 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 U.S.C. 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. 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.
(c) Definitions

For purposes of this section—
(1) the term “Indian” means a member of an Indian tribe;
(2) the term “Indian tribe” means any tribe, band, nation, pueblo, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village (as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians;
(3) the term “Indian religion” means any religion—

(A) which is practiced by Indians, and
(B) the origin and interpretation of which is from within a traditional Indian culture or community; and
(4) the term “State” means any State of the United States, and any political subdivision thereof.
(d) Protection of rights of Indians and Indian tribes

Nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating, diminishing, or otherwise affecting—
(1) the inherent rights of any Indian tribe;
(2) the rights, express or implicit, of any Indian tribe which exist under treaties, Executive orders, and laws of the United States;
(3) the inherent right of Indians to practice their religions; and
(4) the right of Indians to practice their religions under any Federal or State law.

The Spirit

 THE SPIRIT

Fossilized footprint

Fossilized footprint

The term “Spirit” is used in many ways in the English language. When you hear it you may think of the life force responsible for giving the body life. You may think of a supernatural being, a ghost or of one’s disposition, being spirited or having “team spirit”. All of these can be attributed to the the same thing, if we could call it a thing. It is Interesting that there is a word for something that is formless and intangible. Often times the thought of the spirit or the spiritual is seen as being in the realm of fantasy, a fictitious imaginary “thing”. The reason for disbelief in the spirit is simply because it cannot be sensed, detected or measured.

Scientists may detect and measure subatomic particles but they cannot detect the formless. A clairvoyant may sense a ghost but cannot sense the formless (a ghost has form). It could be said that the spirit is an essence but that description is still insufficient. The Elders say that for everything visible, there is also an invisible counterpart but this is not in reference to the spirit. This is in reference to the soul. Everything has an ethereal form as well as a physical form, even modern science can attest to that. The Elders tell us of the soul, the old belief that the soul has many parts that do many different things.

Unlike contemporary religious belief, we understand the soul as having four distinct parts. One can be compared to your reflection, another can be compared to your reflection mirrored within the pupil of your eye, yet another aspect of your soul can be seen as being like your shadow. The fourth part of the soul can be thought of as a mirror or a reflective surface. None of these aspects of the soul are in reference to the spirit but this fourth part does describe the location of the Spirit. The Spirit is the reflection of God upon the mirror of the soul.

Many people don’t know the difference between the Spirit and the soul. The body has the soul as it’s ethereal counterpart.The soul is not what gives us life, the soul is like the body. The body is an organic machine made of atoms, molecules and cells. Similarly, the soul is a machine made of sub-atomic particles, a super computer far more complex and stable than the body. What animates the soul and body is the spirit.

Everything has an unseen counterpart every grain of sand gives off and takes in trillions of subatomic particles every second (according to science). You could say that everything is alive in some form or another. Once I asked a famous medicine man if he believed in extraterrestrial life, visitors from outer space. He said, sure there are about 1000 meteorites that enter our atmosphere every day, the Stone Nations visit us all the time. That’s true, in fact, the Earth acquires about 100 tons of rock per day on average!

The Elders tell us that all things are filled with Spirit and that everything has a Spirit. The Spirit is inexhaustible immeasurable and it has no form. All of us know these things with out knowing how we know them. We all know that everything came from the spirit, that it is the origin of everything. People who believe in the Spirit see it as the ultimate truth. We all seem to agree that it is indestructible and everlasting, we also know that there is but one Spirit. One Spirit that reflects upon all of our souls and gives each one of us life. The spirit could be said to be the fuel of our soul, that which animates us.

Life can be said to be a dance between positive and negative, light and shadow, day and night. all substance seems to be held together by the positive and negative attraction of atoms, everything that science knows is about these Ones and Zeros that compose everything. The unknown factor is the spirit, like dusk and dawn it stands between the day and night. Skanskan, the Creator, is the movement from one moment to the next, the dance of time. There is not really just this duality, there is a function of 3 elements at play here and one of them is invisible and formless! This spiritual element is not time, it stands between time, it allows one moment to lead to another. There is no real way to speak of the Spirit and yet we somehow can speak of it, part of the understanding of it is intuitive.

We say that we are all related, Mitaku Oyasin, My relations, all of them. It is true that all humans have but one common mother, even science will attest to this but that is not what is meant by Mitakuye Oyasin. In essence this statement means that we are related to all that there is and not just because we are made out of one substance but because we all share the same Spirit. We are body, soul and spirit, only three steps away from the source of all. Why then do we seek outside of our selves to find the spiritual?

We all instinctively know the truth. We know that the center of the universe is within us and that the whole cosmos is reflected within every cell of our bodies. Likewise we all know that each one of us carry’s a secret within, a divine mystery, the secret of the spirit. Not everything should be known to us but it is true that although you have your own body and soul, we all share the same spirit and therefore, we are each other.

One spirit fuels and touches each experience through all of us, through everything, until eternity has been fulfilled. Then something even more interesting happens. After infinity it reviews everything from another perspective, without time, space or any point of perspective, without a vantage point! This is happening now, somehow the Spirit is everywhere and somewhere else at the same time, deifying time, space. It is outside of math and logic, science cannot prove it nor disprove it. It has no gender, no shape, no color. It is in equal measure every where, even nowhere, in the void, within nothingness.

There is the age old question, why are we here? We are contributing to eternity, we are reaching the totality of all possibilities, that place in the future when everything has been done or at least imagined. This place at the end of time when omnipotence is reached. What is greater than omnipotence but to forget and savor the flavor of the moment?

 

 

Native American Spirituality

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During the Industrial Revolution Native American Culture was persecuted to the point of near extinction. Unknown to most scholars, American Indians would have suffered total genocide had it not been for Christian protests, Theologians, Religious lobbyists and Lawyers. It was public outrage that saved the American Indian, not our prowess on the battlefield.

In the 1890’s, James Mooney, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution, attended Peyote meetings among the Kiowa and the Tarahumara. Finally, in 1918, after testifying in favor of American Indians at Congressional hearings, Mooney advised various tribes to obtain a legal charter to protect their religious freedom. With Mooney’s help, the Native American Church was officially incorporated in 1918. Today it is the most widespread Native  American religion in the world.

When most people think of Indigenous American Spiritual practices they think of the The Sun Dance, Vision Quest and Sweat Lodge. These ceremonials are gaining in popularity but are actually very rare. Very few Sun Dances exist, with around only 300 annual Dances. For the Native American Church on the other hand, there are probably a minimum of 300 Ceremonies every weekend in North America. That sounds like a lot, and compared to The Lakota Sun Dance and Sweat Lodge, it is. For the most part, Indigenous Spirituality is very rare.

Most Native Americans are Christian. There are indigenous spiritual traditions in the United States, The majority of them are very small groups and are very secretive. The Hopi spiritual tradition is literally held together by a handful of people.These great traditions are dwindling because the younger generations are not willing to take part in them and because the elders are not willing to share them outside of their own tribes.

Indigenous Spirituality is wrought with problematic issues. Like most spiritual organizations, many people are attracted to them for the wrong reasons. There are many people who Sun Dance who are alcoholic and have other addictions. There are Native American Church members of 20 years who are not genuinely spiritual. This is an issue in many spiritual paths. On a positive note, Native Traditions have served to attract people from all walks of life to make major changes in there lives and taught many to pray and behave themselves in a spiritual manner when they would not do so otherwise.

The beauty of the Red Road and it’s spiritual journey rests in it’s ability to empower the individual. The seeker is to find his or her’s own answers through a direct connection with the divine. Not to say that there are no intermediaries or leaders, there are. Seekers must push forward on their own steam and make real and personal sacrifices for the spiritual connection. No one can do that for you, your spirituality rests upon you alone and that is a truly universal truth.

No matter what sacrifices you have made, how many dances you have completed, how many ceremonies you have attended, the fact remains that your connection is within you and is dependent only upon your personal effort. Spirituality is an internal process. You may have the great fortune of sharing and celebrating that expression with others within a group, but the genuine connection always occurs within.

At some point the light of spiritual awakening dawns within. At this point one may become aware that others are not sincere and may be involved for selfish reasons. This is an inherent problem in all spirituality everywhere and is all too evident in Native America. Spirituality is a process, so it is very important not to be in a place of judgement.  A path may have attracted someone with the romanticism of Native heritage or the allure of ancient mystic practices. Medicines like Peyote and Ayahuasca attract many people, some are beckoned by narcotic curiosity alone. Whatever the case may be, at some point the seeker is faced with the inevitable spiritual dilemma of one’s own divine connection.

Most American Indian Spiritual leaders hold other spiritual paths in the highest regard and are not in judgement of race. In this day and age it is of utmost importance for all religions to have respect for one another and to learn from one another as well. It is crucial now for us to see the bigger picture, far above our cultural influence and personal opinions is the bigger picture. What is the Center of the Universe’s view on Native Spirituality as opposed to anything else? What does God think about what kind of spiritual group you are a part of? what is important to our Mother Earth in terms of how we pray?

In Indigenous American spiritually we say that “there is no wrong or right way to pray” and “don’t make someone wrong for praying”. When involved in the task of spirituality it is important to keep a clear and unhindered perspective. beyond every thing you think you know, there is the reality of your connection to the divine. It is essential to strip your self of illusions about spirituality, to lay bare and honest ones intentions on the path.

Indigenous spirituality does this very well, but, for the spiritual seeker we advise you to learn everything you can about spirituality. Keep your mind as open as you can. All spiritual paths should lead to the same place and most of them may have some piece of the puzzle. Tolerance between the worlds’ religions may be the key for all of us to having a better relationship with the divine. Try for a moment to disregard the human concept of god and imagine Gods’ perspective of the whole issue.

There should be less emphasis on form and more emphasis on function. Having a pipe (Canupa) means nothing without being on the other end of it with a prayer. Whatever path you follow, others will criticize you for that and if we are to reach world peace , the criticisms need to come to an end. Tolerance, respect and love are what the spiritual paths teach and even an atheist will agree that these things are great. If you are on the Red Road don’t forget why you do what you do.

The Sacred

 

August 2013 014

We live in a world of rapid change, of changing priorities and changes in our perception. Have we as humans recorded this change, Have we measured the the passage of our perceptual change? How much has the light of knowledge dawned and to what degree have the shadows receded? We know there has been a change in the world around us, so what of the change within us? What is the spiritual significance of this change in our lives, for spiritual people?

For the spiritual seeker there is a clear distinction of what is sacred and that which is mundane. Our beliefs and our experience determine the degree and the extents of the boundary of the sacred. It is our perception of the sacred that defines the world around us, not only for the spiritual seeker, but for us all. The way we feel about things, our opinions and our perception paint the world around us. Perception is everything to us and it determines the quality of our life.

To our forefathers and mothers, the world around them was traced with certain dividing lines. There were places of great holiness according to the stories of old. There have always been those geological wonders that inspire in humankind a sense of divinity. Places, that according to the creation stories were blessed from some  divine event. Likewise, in the desolate waste land there exists a not so sacred place, perhaps a place of danger that is to be avoided. Perhaps a place condemned by myth.

For untold thousands of years we have lived with this precept of that which is sacred and that which is profane. In the minds of all of our ancestors were the dividing lines of varying degrees of sacredness, of sacred space. The ancestors listened to the teachings of the elders of the sacred center, Hocoka Wakan. Like the top of the sacred mountain. Not just the mountain that is sacred, but its’ summit. That pristine untouched place, pure and undefiled by man.

The lesson of the medicine wheel is one of sacred space and in it’s center is that neutral ground, the origin of all. From every place in the wheel the center remains, the scenery changes and our awareness of the center changes yet it is still the center. This central point represents the first place, the creators’ first perception, its’ first vantage point. I am here! This is the time before time and it deals with space, the center of the universe!

In all ceremonies you will find such a space, hallowed ground upon the altar, maybe even too divine to touch, like the sacred mountains’ peak! One can locate such places easily, even to the untrained eye looking within the center of the Sweat Lodge or out to the center of the Sun Dance. The elders tell us of the wisdom of walking with sacred foot steps from this center into the rest of our lives. Every foot step taken in humility and respect in a sacred way upon our holy mother earth. Here we define the limits of sacred space, push the boundaries of divinity with our own respect and love for Mother Earth.

In the Creation stories emerge all that there is from the center and then space is measured and divided as the body of the divine mother, made out of the very primordial essence of the Creator. So here we have that level of sacredness that pervades all space, with every thing as sacred and not merely by virtue of its’ origin but also by virtue of its existence. It is sacred because it is, because it is not void. Void, then, could represent the mundane, the boring, even with the understanding that these are special too. There is this sense then, that a cursed place of wondering ghosts and wicked spirits is within the realm of this holy creation even though it is profane and cursed.

Here we venture into the realm of consecration, the act of forgiving a place. This is the idea of lifting a curse on a broken space, of filling the void of desolation with love and the acknowledgement if its divine origins. In the act of forming the altar of soil we consecrate it and by showing its center with the placement of the staff or blessed object we affirm the center of the universe and the origins of all space. Making a place a physical representation of the creation stories, redeeming a mundane place by acknowledging it as part of the goddess’s body.

With our minds we cast the divisions of sacred places even into modern day. The most non-spiritually focused person will still have that special warmth for ones place of birth. Affinity for ones childhood home and places of play are sacred within the mind of desacralized man. De-sacralized : to have removed the aura of sacredness from; secularize. For those with no concept of holiness, some things are still definitely special and for them, and therefore, sacred.

Within all creation myth is that sacred point of beginning which is marked by the center. From that center something very special happens, Movement! Like the center of the Aztec calendar we can see the central glyph of Ollin, motion, the Lakota God, Skanskan. This speaks of movement that came from stillness and stagnation, time that elapsed after timelessness. Just as form came from the void, motion came to the stagnant.

Here we have another thing that can be measured and perceived. Like space, it is the quality of our perception that determines the relativity of time. If you are waiting in vain for a very late friend, that time spent can be downright nasty, not sacred! Finally when the point of meeting with your friend and joy begins, time quickens and is savored as sacred in every cherished movement.

In essence, the act of ceremony is the re-enactment of the creation stories. The religious rite is now enacting the dawn of time and space. In the Sweat Lodge, Yuwipi, Sun Dance and every spiritual rite in every sane and sacred tradition one can find this division of sacred time and space. For the ancestors, the beginning of time was a holy time and the act of ceremony transformed the mundane time into sacred time, The consecration of time!

Our ancestors had a lot of sacred time. The four sacred divisions of the day and night, the dawn of light being the beginning of time and a space between time. The midday when the shadows are smallest and mark the apex of the sun, then dusk in its calmness and rest, also a space between time. Then midnight ( some say 2 or 4) when all is at rest and the Eagle is said to take a drink of water and the Mole ascends to feel the air. As it is with space, in the big picture we can see that all time could be seen as sacred by virtue of it not being non-movement.

For the Spiritual, time is a sacred movement of Great Mystery from beginning to end, from the time of the creators first awareness until the very fulfillment of that awareness all the way into omnipotence! From the first motion until that point that every thing that could have been done, moved and realized has been done. So the ancestors listened to the wisdom of the storyteller account that each passing moment in this life is to be lived in respect and honor and that each transition from one moment into the next is a sacred dance of the divine.

To modern man time is limited and not as vast as it was for his ancestors. It is measured by its limit and not by its infinity. For him time is running out and he is waiting, waiting for that place in time that, to him , is sacred. We live in a time where special time exists in leisure, after work. For our ancestors work was sacred, ritual drama and thought were seen as sacred acts and not as mundane things. To the original ancestors, leisure was more mundane than the hunt and the work.

Rather than speculating through the lens of our myopic spiritual opinions, let us look at what can be measured and counted with scientific processes. The elders speak of vast expanses of space and time as being sacred, The Sacred Mountains. Now they are seen more as national resources and places of leisure rather than the breasts of Mother Earth. Time can be counted for the domestic human in terms of seconds, minutes and hours rather than by experiences.

For industrialized humans, all time is mundane until those special moments finally arrive. Now the sacred has become the weekend, the party and for him the only true rituals are weddings and funerals. Most of the time is in passing now and in wait for something not boring. Such sacred events such as giving birth have been reduced to a medical procedure. The holiest of holy, in women’s time, the menses or moon-time is seen with shame and embarrassment, especially the first Moon-Time. Time is slipping away for the domestic human, and yet it is a dance for the aboriginal. Time always seems to be running out for those attempting to not be late and for Industrial man, death awaits him to mark the end.

Lets look at the modern spiritual seeker and domestic man on the timely path of salvation and redemption. Here we can easy measure that sacred time has been scheduled as a day of the week and sacred space has been confined to the inside of a church building! Even for the religious, the sacred has receded, it has been extracted from within the home. The personal shrine within the home and hearth and has been placed behind lock and key under the charge of a “spiritual middle man” who will intercede with God on you behalf. The spiritual path has devolved into an academic pursuit rather than being measured in terms of experience alone.

At the center of spirituality as well as life it’s self is our perception and our perception determines what we are aware of. Like all domesticated animals, we are focusing on our thought rather then our emotions. domestication is where neurosis are born and the mind prods and judges the feelings (which is the reverse for the untamed). The intellect is over shadowing bodily awareness and it can be proven scientifically. At the expense of our direct instinct we seem to be trading our knowing-ness for reflection, thinking about things.

Our modern cultures’  pursuit of intelligence may cost us our symbolical mind altogether. The symbolical mind has receded into our subconscious with the increase of language, meaning that we think more and more with words and less and less with symbols. This allows humans to be more intellectual at the expense of our ability to directly perceive things. This is scientific fact. What people are not measuring scientifically (anthropologically), are the changes in spiritual experience among domestic culture.

We now live in a world where the earth itself is seen as profane and something to be harnessed and dominated. With our perception we paint the world around us and as we open our minds to rationalization we can also be seen as closing our our minds to the Spiritual. The spirit is outside of math, measurement and logic. The spiritual defies the mind just as the void defies form. The Sacred is becoming superstition and collectively the human race is shutting itself off from non-rational possibilities. “Miracles” are quickly becoming “impossibilities”.

It is up to us to keep the dream alive and who knows what fate awaits our kind? Do not rely too heavily upon the mind. Many wonderful things are coming from the organization of human affairs, let’s not cast ourselves into the mundane in the process. Hold on to the magic unbridled, release everything you think you know and deify the unnatural ways though which you have been conditioned. Arrive alive in sacred space and time. Here and now, everywhere and forever! Shine as brightly as you can.

Show Father sky and Mother Earth your urgency, live life aloud and rise above your petty comfort zones. Resist being comforted into a state of complacency, refuse being lulled away into the suckling comforts of domesticated inertia. Fight and overcome what is rightfully yours as humans, for the wildness and unpredictable spirit untamed. Reclaim what you really want of your selves, feel the power of Nature and the timeless connection to the very center of all that is. You are an Immortal being, fearless and impervious to everything on this earth.

Claw through your thin domestic veneer and be who you were always meant to be. Come alive and face the storm with abandon. Show some backbone in your life and roar aloud! Be bold and real, stop cradling your precious internal dialog and false self image. Go beyond all that and break through to your savage, real and animal connection to your Mother Earth.

Aho Mitaku Oyasin!

 

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.

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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.

 

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 § 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.
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§ 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.

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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.
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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

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.”

Members Only Songs

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

 

Sun Dance Songs

Sun Dance and Pow Wow

Willard Pipe Boy

 

Olowan Yuhamani – by Lorenzo Eagle Road.

Wanbli Gleska Cikala 1 by Little Spotted Eagle.

Wanbli Gleska Cikala 2 by Little Spotted Eagle.

Wanbli Gleska Cikala 3 by Little Spotted Eagle.

J.R. Whitehat

Native American Church Songs

J.J.  Kiowa/Cheyenne

Greg Willow

 

 

DISCLAIMER No copyright infringement intended. All rights to these songs belong to the artists and their record companies. I do not own some of this material.

Religious Rights

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 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.

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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.

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.powwow 2012 069

 

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. Honor 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.

sining

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.

Buffalo

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.

 

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. 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. “(c) For purposes of this section– “(1) the term ‘Indian’ means a member of an Indian tribe; “(2) the term ‘Indian tribe’ means any tribe, band, nation, pueblo, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village (as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. l601 et seq.)), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provide by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians; “(3) the term ‘Indian religion’ means any religion– “(A) which is practiced by Indians; and “(B) the origin and interpretation of which is from within a traditional Indian culture or community; and “(4) the term ‘State’ means any State of the United States and any political subdivision thereof.

108 STAT. 3126
Oct. 6
AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
P.L. 103-344

“(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating, diminishing, or otherwise affecting– “(1) the inherent rights of any Indian tribe; “(2) the rights, express or implicit, of any Indian tribe which exist under treaties, Executive orders, and laws of the United States; “(3) the inherent right of Indians to practice their religions; and “(4) the right of Indians to practice their religions under any Federal or State law.”.

Approved October 6, 1994.

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 American 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.

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.

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.

H.R. 4155

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.” SECTION 2. FINDINGS.The Congress finds that- (1) unlike any other established religion, many traditional Native American Religions are site-specific in that the Native American religions hold certain lands or natural formations to be sacred; (2) such sacred sites are an integral and vital part of the Native American religions and the religious practices associated with such religions; (3) many of these sacred sites are found on lands which were formerly part of the aboriginal territory of the Indians but which now are held by the Federal Government; and (4) lack of sensitivity or understanding of traditional Native American religions on the part of Federal agencies vested with the management of Federal lands has resulted in the lack of a coherent policy for the management of sacred sites found on Federal lands and has also resulted in the infringement upon the rights of Native Americans to religious freedom. SEC. 3. MANAGEMENT OF FEDERAL LANDS SO AS TO NOT UNDERMINE NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES.Public Law 95-341 (42 U.S.C. 1996), popularly known as the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new section: “SEC. 3. (a)(1) Except as provided by subsection (b), no Federal lands described in paragraph (2) may be managed in a manner that undermines and frustrates a traditional Native American religion or religious practice. “(2) The Federal lands referred to in paragraph (1) are those lands that- “(A) have historically been considered sacred and indispensable by a traditional Native American religion, and “(B) are necessary to the conduct of a Native American religious practice. “(b) Subsection (a)(1) shall not apply to a management decision that is necessary to protect a compelling governmental interest. In making such a management decision, the Federal agency shall attempt to accommodate the various competing interests and shall, to the greatest extent feasible, select course of action that is the least intrusive on traditional Native American religions or religious practices. “(c) An Indian tribe or a member of an Indian tribe may, upon showing of actual harm suffered by such tribe may, upon showing of actual harm suffered by such tribe or member, bring an action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who is violating, or who has violated, the prohibition contained in this section. In any such action, the court may enjoin such violation or issue such orders as may be necessary to enforce such prohibition or to require that action be taken to remedy such violation, or any combination of the foregoing. “(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as requiring any Federal agency to totally deny public access to Federal lands. “(e) As used in this section- “(1) The term ‘Federal Lands’ has the same meaning as provided by section 2(5) of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. 3001(5). “(2) The term ‘Indian Tribe’ means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians. “(3) The term ‘tribal lands’ includes Indian reservations; public domain Indian allotments; former Indian reservations in Oklahoma; land held by incorporated Native groups, regional corporations, and village corporations under the provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.); an dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States, whether within the original or subsequently acquired territory thereof and whether within or without the limits of a State.”.

 

H.R. 4230

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, many 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 of the 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 in violation of the religious guarantees of the First Amendment of the Constitution. “(b)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, the use, possession, or transportation or peyote by an Indian who uses peyote in a traditional manner for bonafide ceremonial purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian religion is lawful, and shall not be prohibited by the United States or by 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 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. “(c) For purposes of this section- “(1) the term ‘Indian’ means a member of an Indian tribe; “(2) the term ‘Indian tribe’ means any tribe, band, nation, pueblo, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village (as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.S. 1601 et seq.)), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians; “(3) the term ‘Indian religion’ means any religion- “(A) which is practiced by Indians, and “(B) the origin and interpretation of which is from within a traditional Indian culture or community; and “(4) the term ‘State’ means any State of the United States, and any political subdivision thereof. “(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating, diminishing, or otherwise affecting- “(A) the inherent rights of any Indian tribe; “(B) the rights, express of implicit, of any Indian tribe which exist under treaties, executive orders, and laws of the United States; “(C) the inherent right of the Indians to practice their religions under any Federal or State law.”.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993107 STAT. 1488, Public Law 103-141[Partially overturned for state-law matters on June 25th, 1997]Passed by 103rd Congress, Nov 16, 1993

AN ACT

    To protect the free exercise of religion.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 “Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993″.

SECTION 2, CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSES.

  1. FINDINGS.—The Congress finds—
    1. the framers of the 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 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 v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion; and
    5. the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.
  2. PURPOSES.—The purposes of this Act are—
    1. to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) 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.

SECTION 3, FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION PROTECTED.

  1. 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).
  2. EXCEPTION.—Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it determines that application of the burden to the person—
    1. is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    2. is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
    3. JUDICIAL RELIEF.—A person whose religious exercise has been 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.

SECTION 4, ATTORNEYS FEES.

  1. 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″.
  2. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS.—Section 504(b)(1)(C) of title 5, United States Code, is amended—
    1. by striking “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).

SECTION 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 PuertoRico, and each territory and possession of the United States;
  3. the term “demonstrates” means meets the burden of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion; and
  4. the term “exercise of religion” means exercise of religion under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

SECTION 6, APPLICABILITY.

  1. 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 the Act.
  2. 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.
  3. RELIGIOUS BELIEF UNAFFECTED.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize any government to burden any religious belief.

SECTION 7, ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE UNAFFECTED.

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 (referred to in this section as the “Establishment Clause”). 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. As used in this section, the term “granting”, used with respect to government funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not include a denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.

Approved November 16, 1993.


Nov. 16, 1993
[H.R. 1308]
Sec. 2 is 42 USC 2000bb
Sec. 3 is 42 USC 2000bb-1
Sec. 4 is 42 USC 2000bb-1
Sec. 5 is 42 USC 2000bb-2
Sec. 6 is 42 USC 2000bb-3
Sec. 7 is 42 USC 2000bb-4


LEGISLATIVE HISTORY — H.R. 1308 (S. 578):


HOUSE REPORTS: No. 103-88 (Comm. on the Judiciary).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 103-111 accompanying S. 578 (Comm. on the Judiciary).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 139 (1993):
May 11, considered and passed House.
Oct. 26, 27, S. 578 considered in Senate; H.R. 1308, amended, passed in lieu.
Nov. 3, House concurred in Senate amendment.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 29 (1993):
Nov. 16, Presidential remarks.

Yuwipi Ceremony

YUWIPI CEREMONY

        We believe in the night sing, the power of Inyan the 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 as a hollow bone for the spirits’ work.

Yuwipi Ceremony

Click this link to read Yuwipi details before attending.

Painted Buffalo Skull

A Yuwipi  Ceremony is known as a Night Sing. Invocation songs are sung in a darkened room to call upon the help of woodland spirits. Fairies, little people, stone spirits, and animals arrive creating an almost indescribable situation.  This ritual is a profound experience of spiritual beings manifesting into the physical.

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If you are planning to attend a Yuwipi\Lowanpi, there are some details that must be mentioned.

Women on their Moon Time (menses) may not attend this Ceremony. Women who do attend must be fully clothed covering shoulders and knees. It is traditional for women to wear a shawl but not mandatory. No shiny objects or electronics are allowed (cell phones, watches, or jewelry). Children are welcome to attend and usually fall asleep so blankets and pillows are helpful. Participants may bring a pillow or blanket to sit on as well. There will be no bathroom breaks so try not to drink large amounts of liquid before the Ceremony. 

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This ceremony truly defines what Shamanism is and it is considered by many anthropologists and archaeologists to have been the Neanderthal’s primary religion. The Yuwipi, Sweat Lodge and Vision quest are considered a trinity of rites. This practice is used for healing, connecting with spirits, finding things and solutions to problems.  We begin with a sweat lodge rite (Inipi) and an explanation of the evening’s events (hanblagloka).1.16.11 008

The Medicine Man is bound within a sacred blanket and laid down upon a special altar to commune with spirits and enter into their world.  Flickering lights can be seen in the darkness along with many other hard to describe things.  The spirits are able to remove illnesses from people as well as answer questions from beyond.  The spirits can be sent to find lost objects or people and even perform healings outside of the circle.  Yuwipi is also known as the tent shaking rite and is famous for its levitation and other unexplained phenomenon.  This experience lasts a few hours and always takes place after dusk.  The event is followed by a meal and another optional sweat lodge the next morning.

PETA WAKAN

The Night Sing, or Lowanpi, is probably the most fascinating rite in the western hemisphere. Anthropologists believe that it has its origins in Siberia and that it spread from there to many places throughout the world. It is believed to have been practiced in Nepal and northern China thousands of years ago.  There are ancient traces of it among the Laplander, The Mongols, The Icelandic peoples and The Amazonian. Recent findings suggest it was prevalent among the Maya and Aztec.

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Ainu of Japan

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In the 1960′s it is said to have died out in Siberia but it has made a recent come back from North America. Versions of the Yuwipi/Lowanpi have long been practiced by tribes of the Northern and Eastern United states. The Tent Shaking rite among the Ojibwa were well documented in the 1800s, as well as the various plains tribes.

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When the Medicine Man is tied and bound it is known as a Yuwipi rather than Lowanpi, which uses no bindings. It is this act of tying, untying, the frame drum, as well as the general events of the ceremony are what allowed Anthropologists to trace the yuwipi to Siberia and beyond. The Canli Pahta, or prayer ties are a purely Lakota element in this beautiful practice.

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Recently, people say things like “these ceremonies came about when our people had to hide their spiritual practices”. These views are inconsistent with Anthropological and Archaeological facts as the Yuwipi is thought of as the Neanderthal’s primary religion. The Yuwipi, Sweat Lodge and Vision quest are considered a trinity of rites. There is some question that the Yuwipi/Lowanpi was ever one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the White Buffalo Calf Woman. Elders have varying opinions on the subject. In the case of the Lakota version of Yuwipi, the  Prayer Ties and the use of the Sacred Pipe were, at some point, added to the Yuwipi. Similarly  songs as well as other elements have come from the Yuwipi/Lowanpi and entered into the Sundance.

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These ways may have come from Siberia, but the reverse may be the case just as well. One thing is definite, the Yuwipi, Inipi (Sweat Lodge) and Hanbleceya (Vision Quest) spread with the mastodon hunters who followed the herds. It is Well documented that the yuwipi, the ceremony that truly defines Shamanism, moved with the migration of the mastodon. The Lakota primarily hunted Unhcegila (Mastodon), as did various other tribes.

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The healing that occurs in these ceremonies  may not be accompanied by any tactile sensations. This does not affect the power of the healing.  The most difficult manifestation seems to be for the spirits to make sound. Auditory experiences seem to occur less (the singing or speaking of spirits) than tactile ones. There are no real generalizations though, it is up to the Spirits alone, next it is up to the Medicine Man’s relationship with those beings and last but not least the faith of the participants.

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It is strange to see the (new-age) shamanic drumming sessions that are so popular now. This practice is directly mimicking the ancient ways without any of the outward manifestations or initiation  that are usual to these ceremonies. On the same token, it is Interesting to note that certain individuals are born with, or acquire the ability to create situations characteristic to Yuwipi. Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli are two individuals known to have brought about such situations outside of Native American culture.

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First thing one could experience in a Yuwipi or Lowanpi is levitation and movement the rattles and various other objects. Second thing would be flickering lights, rain, hail, wind and other similar sensations. The third type of manifestation one could expect is the touch of a spirit’s hand, the touch of an animal, Little person, or other such being’s touch. The fourth thing that can happen is teleportation.

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The Yuwipi man may experience asphyxiation, usually followed by resurrection. This is not always the case as sometimes “the man in the middle” experiences dream like visions and communications without flat-lining. The visions are usually followed by the untying. The untying does not always occur, even in profound situations. Another thing that the Yuwipi man may experience is levitation, being touched or lifted. Other than that, the Yuwipi man Has a very different experience from the rest of the people.

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A Yuwipi man has a tremendous responsibly as he literally lays his life down for the sake of the people. He is fettered not only by his bindings but by the Yuwipi Spirits themselves  He is no longer a free man, in this life, or the next. It is said that each time he holds a ceremony he sacrifices part of his soul until his power is finally exhausted. After passing he works as a healer from the other side, though the ceremonies. I say “man” because it is for the “empty” man to be the (hollow bone) sacrifice for the fullness of the woman. There are accounts, though, of women, that after menopause, have done Lowanpi-like ceremonies. One does not DECIDE to practice Yuwipi, They are chosen during Hanbleceya (Vision Quest). Do not reach out to the yuwipi spirits. let them reach out to you (this saying is meant figuratively as well as literally). 

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The Yuwipi ritual may be held for very specific purposes.  Among them are healings, finding lost or stolen objects, and finding solutions to problems.   It is part of a trinity of rights, Yuwipi, Sweat lodge and Vision Quest.  After performing a sweat lodge, the rite begins in a room in which all lights can be extinguished.  The leader or Yuwipi man is bound within a quilt and laid face down in the center of the room, (Yuwipi means they tie him up).  The room is plunged into total darkness as the lead singer begins to drum and sing with great enthusiasm.  In the darkness the spirits play the rattles and untie the leader.

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The lights are turned on and the Yuwipi man narrates the events of the ceremony and the sacred Canupa is passed round.  This all takes about four to six hours and is an evening event.  Yuwipi is followed by a  pot luck. The Yuwipi is an important Ceremonial that we are excited to have in our community as well as visitors from all over.

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Singing for the Yuwipi/ Lowanpi ceremonies

Singing for Yuwipi / Lowanpi is a very serious matter. The lead singer and the accompaniment should not take it lightly. It is of utmost importance for the singer to be able to sense the man in the middle within the cover of total darkness as well as the coming and going of the various spirits that may be present. To get started the sacred Canupa will be filled with Cancasa with the accompaniment of the Pipe filling song or Opagipi Olowan. Sometimes two other pipe songs may be sung with it. Then for the tying this song can be sung although it is not necessary. Sometimes a special tying song is sung.

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It is important that this all happens swiftly and without delay (tying). As soon as the man is in the center face down the lights are extinguished and the directional song (Tatetopakiya Olowan) is sung. There are some very important things to know about this song. This song is received by the medicine man during vision quest and is his personal song. It is sometimes known as an altar song or as Wicakicopi Olowan (they call them song). This type of song can only be learned in person unless a regular directional song is being used. A good example of this would be the directional song of the sweat lodge.

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Following the Directional song one usually hears spirit calling songs. This is usually accompanied by the spirit’s rapping,  shaking rattles (Wagmuha) or any such manifestations signalling the spirit’s arrival. These songs may vary greatly as each medicine person will need to call particular spirits. This part of the ceremony is leading up to the prayer round in which the intention will be stated to the spirits. Questions may be put to the spirits if needed or sometimes they may be dispatched to look in on a situation or to do something.

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Prayer songs would be sung in preparation of the prayers. They are sung immediately following the calling songs in one continuous stream of music. The music then comes to a halt. Prayers will be made by the sponsor,  the Leader, the helper or by all present  depending on the ceremony’s purpose. After the prayers are made, singing would resume as the healing round begins.  Healing songs would be sung after the prayers as the spirits get to work on the sponsor and whomever requests to receive a healing. This usually happens after the prayer round. In some cases calling songs or animal songs could be added to these to effect a cure.

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Depending on the medicine men a wide variety of songs can be sung now. It is common to hear Kettle songs, Ceh’ohomni Olowan. These are better known as Heyoka songs or Thunder being songs. These clown songs originally are used as part of the Kettle Dance and other Heyoka rites. It is said that the ghosts of the Heyoka Medicine men intervene in the Yuwipi /Lowanpi ceremony to affect a cure, who really knows? These songs may be sung solely to call the Thunder beings as well as other related spirits.

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Many other songs can be sung, there are the stone songs, spider songs, and all the various animal songs. The spirits Do the untying with the untying song. This song is known as Wicayujujupi Olowan. No matter how the ceremony progresses or how it is performed or whatever, the Spirits go home song and the closing song ( quitting ) are always sung. Sometimes a few songs are sung  just before this.

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The singers actually call the spirits, they are the conjurers. The Yuwipi man is the conduit or medium of the spirits work. Usually, the spirits choose new yuwipi men from among the singers.

Una ceremonia Yuwipi es conocido como Night Sing. Cantos de invocación se cantan en un cuarto oscuro para recurrir a la ayuda de los espíritus del bosque. Hadas, gente pequeña, los espíritus de piedra, y los animales llegan creando una situación casi indescriptible. Este ritual es una experiencia profunda de los seres espirituales que se manifiestan en lo físico.

Esta ceremonia realmente define lo que es el chamanismo y es considerado por muchos antropólogos y arqueólogos que han sido la religión principal del Neanderthal. Esta práctica se utiliza para la curación, la conexión con los espíritus, la búsqueda de las cosas y las soluciones a los problemas. Comenzamos con un sudor lodge rito opcional y una explicación de los acontecimientos de la noche.

The Medicine Man está obligado dentro de un manto sagrado y lo acostó en un altar especial para estar en comunión con los espíritus y entrar en su mundo. Luces parpadeantes se pueden ver en la oscuridad junto con muchos otros difíciles de describir las cosas. Los espíritus son capaces de eliminar las enfermedades de las personas, así como responder a las preguntas de más allá.Los espíritus pueden ser enviados a buscar objetos o personas perdidas e incluso realizar curaciones fuera del círculo. Yuwipi es famoso por su levitación y otros fenómenos inexplicables. Esta experiencia dura unas pocas horas y siempre tiene lugar después del anochecer. El evento es seguido por una comida y otra casa de sudor opcional a la mañana siguiente.

PETA WAKAN

Painted Buffalo Skull

 

 

 

The power of Native song

Sept 09 054The power of Native song is felt not only in how it is sung but most importantly in it’s origins. Hearing someone sing Amazing Grace can be riveting and moving experience.  The reasons for this are found in the circumstance in which that song was composed like many old church hymns, Amazing Grace was written under conditions of great duress and emotional intensity.  When one hears such songs it actually invokes the spirits involved and the flavor of the moment that imbues the song with real magic. This can be seen as evident in a very pragmatic and scientific way.

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  A song of any kind represents a connecting link to a time and place of  it’s origins.  This takes place the way that electricity follows the current of a long copper wire.  It is simple to determine if a song carries power, what feelings does it evoke?  In our numb domestic culture it has become increasingly hard for people to sense the spiritual beings because they come as feelings.  In a domesticated world where most people aren’t even in touch with their own feelings, sensing the feelings in the wind like a wild animal does is quite unlikely.  Every so often you may sense a spirit without knowing what’s really happening.

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  Let’s say you’re going through some old boxes and you handle an old hairbrush.  You look at it’s color or design and put it somewhere else thinking nothing of it.  Later around dusk you get a peculiar sensation reminding you of the smell of soap that was in your grandmother’s bathroom during your childhood.  This scenario represents the visitation of a spirit.  As humans we may link the sensation we had of spirits in our grandmother’s bathroom with the smell of her soap.  This is one reason why aromatic smudge herbs are used in any ritual in any culture.

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Most people would think nothing of these kinds of feelings and would call them “memories”.  In a similar way one could get feelings handling a personal item that belonged to someone else’s family.  One may get an odd sensation or deja vu without realizing that they are sensing a spirit’s presence.  One too may assume, from the explanation, that the spirits sensed are ghosts, like the sensation of the grandmother.  What these sensations are, are elemental beings that follow an ancestral lineage like the water spirits sensed by the child in the grandmother’s bathroom.  Using this story as an analogy one may say that the smell of the soap or the handling of the hairbrush are like the songs in the act of calling the spirits.  Singing Amazing Grace in an all night Tipi Meeting you can feel the energy, or the flavor of the moment, dramatically shift.  Although the song is still within spiritual content it is still totally different in it’s origins and the mood from which it was born.

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In the sweat lodge when someone sings a European based pseudo Indian camp song it feels like the generated momentum of the lodge is all of a sudden  flushed away leaving the strange barbaric feeling of Spanish Conquistadors or the lineages of other early settlers. The spirits in this case follow the families, the languages and other European influences, as well as the line of the song.  What I mean by the line of the song is it’s history.  Like an electric wire this line has the means of transmission.

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There’s another aspects of songs where the concept of the “line of the spirits” is concerned.  Let’s say you made up a song with the intention of attracting a spirit.  Within the “flavor of the moment” that characterizes the spirits presence, you sing your song, and with it calling attention to yourself with this song.  You then have created a direct line to that specific spirit.  (Although this works do not assume that the spirits will behave the way you want or expect).  One could use a fragrance in the same way there is a connection between memory of smells with emotions.  In invoking spirits we are invoking memories, feelings.  The spirits are these feelings directly.  When you have a certain feeling of any kind you are actually embodying a spirit.  So by all this one can see that for a domestic human to summon the spirits of the wild, without a direct spiritual line of connection, is nearly impossible.  That is another one of our reasons for protecting and sharing these sacred ancient songs.  They can be of immeasurable aid to the future population of nerds that our culture is creating.  At a time when intelligence eclipses intuition altogether there can still be the hope of the spirits possible intervention.

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Taking a close analytical analysis of primordial spiritual songs we can find some very interesting points.  First of all, ancient spiritual traditions of the world use what is known as the pentatonic scale.  It is based upon the number five and it predates the harmonic scale.  Pentatonic scale is used exclusively for spiritual applications even in cultures predominated by the harmonic scales.  The pentatonic scale flourishes in American culture through Blues and Gospel music which have African roots.  In all indigenous cultures when invoking the spirits, a falsetto is employed.  This clearly illustrates an emotional relationship between man and spirit and it shows that some spirits are attuned to crying.

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Another marked difference in primordial spiritual music is the beat.  Domestic music uses a beat that is to the time of the song that is how children in industrialized cultures are taught to clap hands in school.  Native American music, like African and other aboriginal societies, utilizes the opposite.  Professional drummers from modernized cultures have to unlearn the tendency to clap to time, finding the heartbeat in the background of the song.singing andrea and Chris

In all Lakota spiritual songs and Native American spiritual music the songs start out high and end up low following the natural laws of gravity.  In hearing song birds in nature even when a bird’s song goes high it is always followed by a radical plummet back down again.  Even when the Catholic Church banned the pentatonic scale they still used it along with falsetto  and the high to low intonations for Latin prayer recitations._LAN9309

It is obvious that the difference in native dance music and others is that the volume is louder and the range is further breaking through the yodel all the way to the other side.  Anyone can do this with practice by building the muscles of the larynx and learning how to relax other muscles at the same time.  Lakota song, like it’s language, are toned from the center of the head rather than from the soft palate   This gives it a resonant nasal quality.  This is lacking in English where all the sounds are projected out of the mouth with the front of the mouth, unlike primordial languages.  In domestic society we have found changes in human language, our thoughts as well as our habits. An interesting change that has occurred is that the male alto voice types are becoming rarer.  This may be due to hormonal changes related to domestication.

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The most important difference in aboriginal music are the origins of the songs.  A song is a gift from the spirits.  A person receives a vision with a gift of the song for the people.  Most all of the native songs have come about in this way and not from regular composition.  This is illustrated by the lyrics which are in first person from the spirit’s standpoint.  This is a very important point to remember because it too defines authentic aboriginal song and is totally absent in industrialized cultures.  A Lot of people find our blog site looking for English sweat lodge songs.  There is no such thing as an English sweat lodge song nor is there such a thing as a Spanish sweat lodge song.  None of the Spanish and English so called Indian songs were gifted by the spirits, these songs were all composed.  None of these contemporary songs are in first person from the spirits point of view.  None of them use falsetto, pentatonic scale, have a back beat or go from high to low.  So if you hear someone singing a song claim to have been a Native American spiritual song yet it is in a harmonic scale do not take them serious.summer 11 151

To recognize a fraudulent song, as you can see, is very simple.  But there are other things that define domestic compositions.  “We all fly like eagles,  high above the earth, circling the universe, with wings of pure light”.  The example begins not only with a fantasy statement but also completely untrue in every way.  It expresses the need to be greater out of a low self esteem which is a distinct character trait of this modern culture.  It is common in the Lakota songs to hear this statement “I am a common man” or “a common man is saying this”.  The most prevalent phrase in Lakota songs is“pity me” (have compassion).  Secondly is “help me” as well as ”God I am suffering”.   This is reflected by most spiritual songs of any traditions regardless of age or culture.02907292013_1242

The purpose in making distinctions in spiritual and non spiritual songs is to defend true spirituality without allowing fraudulent mystics to damage the authentic power.  Even if it is done innocently and inadvertently, measures need to be taken to safe keep the ancient traditions of the earth.  In the same way there should never be a drive thru or email confessionals in the church, there should never be bogus Indian songs as part of any sweat lodge.  the reason for this preservation is not to stop the evolution of a native path but to stop the domestication of it.  That de-claws it making it an obedient pet rather than a fierce panther that inspires reverence and change.  It controls the spirit by denying it access to the people, it transforms the medicine power into a badge of honor rather than as a spiritual gift.

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A Blossoming Tradition

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. The Navajo 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. Like most nations of the earth, a small percentage of them are involved in Lakota ceremonials!

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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).

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 any one else that expressed an interest, this is a natural phenomenon that can be seen everywhere. The Catholic Pope is nether Jewish, Greek, or Italian right now he’s of American Indian heritage! 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 Navajo they too are international, global citizens!

Like 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!

Black Bear

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!

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.

Many do not realize that the Lakota Sun Dance is an international religion, for example. There has emerged many powerful medicine men and spiritual leaders representing Lakota traditions from the world over. Many people are against this (mostly nonspiritual 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.

220px-Daniel-Dunglas-Home-levitation

There are hundreds of cases of human foot prints fossilized in stone, any where from 1 million to 90 million years old, a testimony to the awesome mystery of human kind and what lurks deep within our human consciousness. Modern Indigenous American Spirituality is in constant flux as we our selves 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 (whats left of it).

Ceremonial songs in the Lakota language

Spirit Helpers
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 Sweat Lodge Stone song

 Spotted Eagle song

Miye toka heya anpetu owakinyelo

Wanbli gleska wan heyaya u welo

Miye toka heya anpetu owakinyelo

As the sun rises, I am first to fly

A spotted eagle is coming saying this

As the sun rises, Iam first to fly

 Animal calling song

Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo. Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo,

Wankantanhan wanbli gleska oyate wan, Kola wica wayelo, sitomniyan wanmayank u ye.

Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo. Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo.

Makata sinte sapela oyate wan, Kola wica wayelo, sitomniyan wanmayank u ye.

Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo. Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo.

Wankantanhan wahe oyate wan, Kola wica wayelo, sitomniyan wanmayank u ye

Somewhere, someone is my friend. Somewhere, someone is my friend.

From above, a spotted eagle nation, do not doubt his power, he is my friend, Everyone behold! He comes to see me.

Somewhere, someone is my friend. Somewhere, someone is my friend.

From the earth, a black tailed deer nation, do not doubt his power, he is my friend, Everyone behold! He comes to see me.

Somewhere, someone is my friend. Somewhere, someone is my friend.

From above, a mole nation, do not doubt his power, he is my friend, Everyone behold! He comes to see me.

 Black Tail Deer Song 2

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.

 Spider song

Maka sitomniyan, okiya wau yelo, Iktomi wan heyaya uwelo, Miye mawakan yelo.

Maka sitomniyan, okiya wau yelo, Iktomi wan heyaya uwelo, Miye mawakan yelo.

All over this world I come to help, a spider says these things as he comes, Me, I am sacred.

All over this world I come to help, a spider says these things as he comes, Me, I am sacred.

 Prayer song

Tunkasila Wakan Tanka heya hoye wayelo, Tunkasila Wakan Tanka heya hoye wayelo.

 Tunkasila omakiyayo makakijelo.

Grandfather, Great Spirit, a voice I am sending, Grandfather, Great Spirit, a voice I am sending.

Grandfather, help me for I am suffering.

 Kettle dog song

leceya sunka wan yuta pe, leceya sunka wan yuta pelo, wiohpeyata wakinyan oyate wan

sunka wan yutape wakan yutapelo

 Stone Calling Song

Hoyemakiyayo cemakiyayo, Taku ya chinkia iyece tu ktelo, Tunkan sabicya eya ce hoye wakiyelo.

Cemakiyayo hoyemakiyayo, Taku ya chinkia iyece tu ktelo, Tunkan sabicya eya ce hoye wakiyelo.

Send a voice to me, pray to me, What you want will be given to you, A blackened stone, you have said, So a voice I send to you.

Pray to me, send a voice to me, What you want will be given to you, A blackened stone, you have said, So a voice I send to you.

This is The Singing Stone’s Yuwipi set in the order that they are sung.

1. Pipe Filling Song

Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo.

Hecanuki nitunkasila waniyang u ktelo.

Canunpa wanji yuha ilatake ci.

Miksuya opagi yo.

Hecanuki taku yacinki iyecetu ktelo.

 Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo.

Hecanuki nitunkasila waniyang u ktelo.

Hocoka wanji yuha ilotake ci.

Miksuya opagi yo.

Hecanuki taku yacinki iyecetu ktelo.

English

My friend do it like this, My friend do it like, this My friend do it like this.

When you do it this way the Grandfathers will come down to see you.

With this one Sacred Pipe sit down.

Remember as you fill the pipe.

When you do it this way what you want will happen.

My friend do it like this, My friend do it like this, My friend do it like this.

When you do it this way the Grandfathers will come down to see you.

In this one Sacred Circle sit down.

Remember as you fill your pipe.

When you do it this way what you want will happen.

Español

Mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi

Cuando se hace haci los abuelos bajan a verte

Con esta pipa sagrada siéntate

Recuerda que cuando llenas tu pipa

Cuando lo haces haci, lo que quieres sucede

Mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi

Cuando se hace así, los abuelos bajan a verte

Con esta pipa sagrada siéntate

Recuerda que cuando llenas tu pipa

Cuando lo haces haci, lo que quieres sucede

2. Song To Tie

 Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo, Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo,

 Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo ,Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo.

English

This day belongs to me, This day belongs to me,

This day belongs to me, This day belongs to me.

Espanol

Este dia me pertenece, este dia me pertenece

Este dia me pertenece, este dia me pertenece

3. Yuwipi Altar song Is learned in person and should never be sung outside of ceremony.

4. Stone Song 1

Wakan oyate wan waniyang u ktelo, Wayankaya yo.

English

A sacred nation is appearing, Come and see.

Espanol

Una nación sagrada se levanta ven a ver.

5. Stone Song 2

Wankata peta wanlakelo, Henake tunkan pica wanlakelo.

Wankata peta wanlakelo, Henake tunkan pica wanlakelo.

English

Up above you have seen a spark, They are stones that you have seen.

Up above you have seen a spark, They are stones that you have seen.

Espanol

Arriba alto, has visto una chispa, Hay piedras que has visto

Arriba alto, has visto una chispa, Hay piedras que has visto

6. 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.

7. Mole Song

Maka takiya taku wakan wan u welo, Maka takiya taku wakan wan u welo.

Wahehela wan u welo, Wani yanku yelo.

Taku wakan wan echela, Wana u welo, Wana e yelo, Wani yanku welo.

English

From the earth something sacred is coming, From the earth something sacred is coming.

A mole is coming, It is coming to see you.

There is nothing not sacred, He is coming, He is here, It is coming to see you.

Espanol

Desde la tierra algo sagrado viene. Desde la tierra algo sagrado viene

Un topo viene., viene a verte.

No hay nada, que no sea sagrado, el viene, el esta aqui, viene a verte.

8. Bat Song

Hanhepi ki mita wayelo wayankiye yo, Hupakiglake wan heya u welo.

English

The night belongs to me  look this way, A bat has come, saying this.

Espanol

La noche me pertenece mira hacia aca,  Un murciélago ha venido diciendo esto.

9. 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.

10. Doctoring Song

Wanktahan wau welo, Wanktahan wau welo,Wanktahan wau welo,

Wicatancan piya ,wakaginkta ca wau welo, Wanktahan wau welo.

English

Up above I am coming, Up above I am coming, Up above I am coming.

A body I am going to make well, so I am coming, Up above I am coming.

Espanol

Desde arriba yo vengo, Desde arriba yo vengo, Desde arriba yo vengo,

Un cuerpo voy a hacer bien, haci yo vengo, Desde arriba yo vengo.

11. Aurora Borealis Song

Makpiya tahin ki le miyelo, Makpiya tahin ki le miyelo

Wamayankiyo, inyan wasicun ca nape wayelo.

Makpiya tahin ki le miyelo,

Wamayankiyo, inyan wasicun ca nape wayelo.

English

The aurora borealis this is me, The aurora borealis this is me

Behold the power stone of a dreamer is my healing hand.

The aurora borealis this is me,

Behold the power stone of a dreamer is my healing hand.

Espanol

La aurora borealis, este soy yo, La aurora borealis, este soy yo

Siente la poderosa piedra de un sonador, es la mano sanadora

La aurora borealis, este soy yo

Siente la poderosa piedra de un sonador, es la mano sanadora

12. Stone Doctoring Song

Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo.

Tunkan tatioblecha wan, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tip i ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo.

English

Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this.

The lodge of the stones, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this.

Dentro de las  chispas brilladoras yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto.

El temascal de piedras, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto.

13. Medicine Song

Pejuta wan cicu ktaca wayankiyeyo.

English

A medicine I am going to give you, look this way.

Espanol

Una medicina te voy a dar, mira hacia aca.

14. Spider Song

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

English

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Espanol

Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibe la escuchame.

Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibe la escuchame.

  • Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibela escuchame.

Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibe la  escuchame.

15. Spider Song 2

Iktomni wan tahia mani u welo, tahia u welo tahia mani u welo, Iktomni wan tahia mani u welo.

Tahia u welo tahia mani u welo, Iktomni wan tahia mani u welo.

English

A spider comes walking, He comes walking, he comes walking,              A spider comes walking.

He comes walking, he comes walking, A spider comes walking.

Espanol

Una araña viene caminando, el viene caminando, el viene caminando.

Una araña viene caminando.

el viene caminando, el viene caminando Una arana viene caminando.

16. Thunder Being Song 1

Leciya ya tuwa maki pan pelo, Leciya ya tuwa maki pan pelo, Wiohpeyata wakinyan oyate wan, Kola maki pan pelo

Leciya ya tuwa maki pan pelo, Wiohpeyata wakinyan oyate wan, Kola maki pan pelo.

English

Over here they are calling for me, Over here they are calling for me, To the west a thunder being nation., My friends are calling for me.

Over here they are calling for me, To the west a thunder being nation, My friends are calling for me.

Espanol

Por aqui estan llamando por mi, Por aqui estan llamando por mi, Desde el oeste una nación de seres relámpago, Mis amigos llaman por mi.

Por aqui estan llamando por mi,  Desde el oeste una nación de seres relámpago Mis amigos llaman por mi.

17. Thunder Being Song 2

Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo.

Tehi ya wamiconza pe, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo.

English

People move aside, I walk in the wind, People move aside, I walk in the wind, People move aside, I walk in the wind.

A difficult time is predicted for me, People move aside, I walk in the wind, People move aside, I walk in the wind.

Espanol

Gente muévase  hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento, Gente muévase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento, Gente muerase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento.

Un tiempo difícil  esta predecido para mi, Gente muévase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento, Gente muerase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento.

18. Thunder Being Song 3

Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo, Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo, Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo

He wamakaskan wanji gyi Cante eiyapa wayelo, Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo.

English

Over here I walk first, Over here I walk first, Over here I walk first.

I make some animals’ hearts beat, Over here I walk first.

Espanol

Por aqui yo camino primero, Por aqui yo camino primero, Por aqui yo camino primero.   

 Yo hago que  lata  el corazón  de algunos animales, Por aqui yo camino primero.

19. Thunder Being Song 4

Wankata taku wakan ke he wanla ke, Wankata taku wakan ke he wanla ke lowan, Makasitomniya kola ceyakiya pelo wan, Wankata taku wakan ke he wanla ke lo .

English

Up above something sacred you have seen, Up above something sacred you have seen, All around the world you have prayed to him, Up above something sacred you have seen.

Espanol

En lo alto algo sagrado has visto, En lo alto algo sagrado has visto,

En todo el mundo has rezado por él, En lo alto algo sagrado has visto.

20. Calling Song

Tunkasila wamayank uye, Tunkasila wamayank uyeyo, Tunkasila wamayank uyeyo

Ikce wicasa ta canunpa wan Yuha hoye wayelo

Mitakuye ob wani ktelo, Heyaya hoye wayelo.

English

Grandfather come and see me, Grandfather come and see me, Grandfather come and see me.

With the common people’s pipe I send a voice

So I may live with my relatives, I keep sending a voice.

Espanol

Abuelo ven a verme, abuelo ven a verme, abuelo ven a verme.

Con la pipa del pueblo, Yo mando una voz.

Par así  vivir con todas mis relaciones, Yo sigo mandando una voz.

21. Sone Song 3

Hot anin ye, Hot anin ye, Wankata hot anin ye, Hot anin ye, Wankata hot anin ye, Hot anin yelo

Wankata inyan wan, Hot anin ye, Hot anin ye, Wankata hot anin ye, Hot anin yelo.

English

Voices are heard, voices are heard, Up above voices are heard, voices are heard, Up above voices are heard, voices are heard.

Up above a stone, voices are heard, voices are heard, Up above voices are heard, voices are heard.

Espanol

Voces se escuchan, voces se escuchan, desde lo alto se escuchan voces, voces se escuchan, desde lo alto se escuchan voces, voces se escuchan

por encima de una piedra

22. Spider Untying Song (1)

Cokata wankan y mica kta ca, Cokata eya ya nawajin yelo, Kola ehek’un lecun we yelo, Kola ehek’un lecun we yelo.

English

He is preparing a sacred center for me, I am standing in the center sending a voice, My friend, you have said this, do it this way, My friend, you have said this, do it this way.

Espanol

El prepara un centro sagrado para mi, Estoy parado en el centro mandando una voz, Mi amigo, tu has dicho esto, hazlo de esta forma, Mi amigo, tu has dicho esto, hazlo de esta forma.

23. 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.

24. Pipe Offering Song

Wayankiye, wayankiye, wayankiye, Canunpa kile wakan yelo wayankiye.

Wayankiye, wayankiye, Canunpa kile wakan yelo wayankiye.

English

Take a look, Take a look, Take a look,This pipe is sacred. Take a look.

Take a look, Take a look, This pipe is sacred. Take a look.

Espanol

Toma una vista, Toma una vista, Toma una vista, Esta pipa es sagrada, Toma una vista, Toma una vista, Toma una vista,  Esta pipa es sagrada.

25. Offering Song

Lenake, wayang u yelo, Lenake hiyo uye

Waunye ki lena hoye miciciyiyo He mitakuye ob wani wacin yelo, Tunkasila omakiyayo.

Canli pahta ki lena hoye miciciyiyo, He mitakuye ob zaniya waon wacin yelo Tunkasila omakiyayo.

English

Look, all of these I have given you, Come take what I have offered you

With this cloth I have pledged myself to you, With my relatives I want to live, Grandfather help me.

With these tobacco ties I have pledged myself to you, With my relatives in good health I will live, Grandfather, help me.

Espanol

Mira todo esto que te e dado, Ven a coger lo que te e ofrecido

Con esta manta me ofresco hacia ti, Con mis relativos quiero vivir, Abuelo ayudame

Con estos amarres de tabacco me ofresco hacia ti . Con mis relativos en buena salud voy vivir, abuelo ayudame

26. Offering Song 2

Hoye yayo, hoye yayo, Hoye yayo, hoye yayo, Tunkasila le ampelo.

Ikce wicasa ta canunpi ki leyuha, Hoye yayo, hoye yayo, Tunkasila le ampelo.

English

Sending a voice, sending a voice, Sending a voice, sending a voice, Grandfather on this day.

A common man is holding this pipe, Sending a voice, sending a voice, Grandfather on this day.

Espanol

Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Abuelo en este día

Un hombre común  aguanta una pipa, Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Abuelo en este dia

 

27. Closing Song 1

Tunkan unsi unlapi yelo, Tunkan unsi unlapi yelo, He mitakuye ob wani kta ca, Lena cicu welo.

English

Stone spirits have pity on us, Stone spirits have pity on us, With my relatives I will live, So I give you these offerings

Espanol

Espíritus  de piedra ten piedad de nosotros, Espíritus de piedra ten piedad de nosotros, Con toda relaciones yoy a vivir haci te ofresco todo esto

28. Closing Song 2

Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Tunkasila ta wokonze ca, Lena cicu welo. Hot aninyan kin najin pelo.

English

As we leave our voices are heard, As we leave our voices are heard, It is Grandfather’s will, That I give you these offerings. As we leave our voices are heard.

Espanol

Mientras partimos, nuestras voces se escuchan, Mientras partimos,nuestras voces se escuchan, Es la voluntad de el Abuelo, Que te doy estas ofrendas, Mientras partimos, nuestras voces se escuchan.

 29. Ending Song

Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo, Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.

Anpetu okihica cicu welo, Kola lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.

English

My friend, I have given you these. Behold them, My friend, I have given you these. Behold them.

The day has made it possible to give you these offerings, My friend, I have given you these. Behold them.

Espanol

Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo, Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo

El dia ha hecho  posible poder darte estas ofrendas, Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo

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Ceremonial songs in the Lakota language and lakota sweat lodge song lyrics

Important Details
When singing this style of song, be sure to pay close attention to the drumbeat. It is either a fast steady beat or a slow thunder beat, like a heartbeat. Some of these songs are hard to play without the right beat. When singing along it is helpful to tap along with the drum. Another point of consideration is distinguishing between vocables and lyrics. Vocables are sounds and are not written among the lyrics. Usually the syllable and melody of the vocables match the lyrical part of the song. Usually the song begins with vocables. Very rarely are the vocables after the words.

When singing alone or without accompaniment you would sing the songs the way they are written. When singing with others you would use a call and response. That is when the song leader calls out the first line of the song; the group would then repeat that line. Some of these recordings have a call and response although they are written without it. As a rule of thumb with the call and response the group joins in just before the leader sings the vocable sound He. This sound is found at the end of some of the sentences He.

Other things to consider in singing these songs

Some of these songs are specific to particular lineages. In that case only one or two words may be different from one tiospaye to another. Most of these songs are general and are sung by many groups and at different ceremonies. An animal calling song is for calling in the power of specific animals. A stone song is for calling in the powers of stones. Be sure you are not calling things unnecessarily.

These songs are very powerful and not to be idly whistled or sung in the shower. Put down a pinch of tobacco as an offering first. This can be placed in a special spot, it can be rubbed or sprinkled upon the drum. A little water is good for the spirit of the drum, but before singing songs always put down tobacco. It is important not to “cry wolf” with the spirits. If these songs are sung idly too much the Spirits may stop responding.

By learning songs from a C.D. or computer they may attract lesser nearby spirits. They may not have the same impact until they are sung along within a genuine tradition. The more powerful spirits follow an oral line of association that is lost without actual contact with lineage holders. By singing and learning these songs here the spirits may eventually draw you into the ceremonies and traditions that use them.

Do not sing any thunder being songs at night out of context. This will attract ghosts, it could be very dangerous. Thunder being songs call thunder beings during the day and ghosts at night. Honestly, one should never really sing any kind of song carelessly outside at night. In the event of attracting ghosts sing the “Sending the Spirits Home” closing song. It is good to know that song to send spirits back home, especially when it is helpful to them. Thunder being songs include any heyoka or kettle songs. The dog song should only be sung at the Kettle Dance unless practicing.

Healing songs are for doctoring people. The songs themselves are a healing medicine. They can be sung in sweat lodge, Yuwipi, or on their own as a treatment. Canupa songs (pipe songs) should generally be sung when the pipe is present. If you carry a canupa it is O.K. to sing those songs whenever but always give a tobacco offering to the drum, especially when rehearsing. Pipe filling songs should only be sung while loading the pipe facing west. Again it is alright in the process of learning to sing the pipe filling songs, having offered tobacco to the drum and ending your lessons with the “Sending the Spirits Home” closing song.
There are various different closing songs when reaching near the end of a ceremony. For instance, in the fourth round of the sweat lodge one might sing a closing offering song. Be sure to check with your leaders about this as they vary from tradition to tradition. Some of our closing songs may not be used by other lineages to close. It all depends on what the spirit helpers of a tradition are used to. When visiting a sweat lodge you know little about it would be safest to not lead any closing songs at all.

There are a handful of songs not available here that are too specific. These are the opening Yuwipi/Lowanpi songs for calling in the directional spirits. They vary from ceremony to ceremony and from one medicine man to another. To get these songs you will have to learn them in ceremony. That is the only time those songs are ever sung. By learning all of these songs on our site we will become a Lowan Wicasa (song man) or a Lowan Winyan (song woman). Although not a prerequisite to being a medicine man or woman in the Lakota tradition you would have to be crazy to even attempt to embark on that path without most of these songs. Singers are integral to these ways, anyone knowing all of these songs are needed and honored regardless of race, creed, or color. If you put yourself out there you could travel the world over with expenses paid just singing at ceremonial events.

Sundance coyote song

kola lemiyeca he wau welo, kola lemiyeca he wau welo,

wama yanka yo wau welo, anpe wi ki iyoh’late he

ociciya kinte ca he wau welo, wama yanka yo wau welo wau welo,

kola lemiyeca he wau welo, kola lemiyeca he wau welo,

wama yanka yo wau welo, hanhe wi ki iyoh’late he

ociciya kinte ca he wau welo, wama yanka yo wau welo wau welo.

My friend, this is me that is coming, My friend, this is me that is coming

Look at me, I am coming, Under the sun, I have something to say

I have something to tell you, that is why, Look at me, I am coming

My friend, this is me that is coming, My friend, this is me that is coming

Look at me, I am coming, Under the moon, I have something to say

I have something to tell you, that is why, Look at me, I am coming

Stone Song 

Makasitomniyan hoye wayelo, Makasitomniyan hoye wayelo.

Tunkasila wamayanguye, Makasitomniyan hoye wayelo.

All around the earth I am sending a voice, All around the earth I am sending a voice.

Grandfather hear me, All around the earth I am sending a voice.

Pipe Song

Maka cokayan canunpa wan ahi unpahpelo wayankiyeyo,Hecaya uha hoye wayelo.

Thank you Song

Wakan tanka tunkasila, Wakan tanka tunkasila, Pilamaya yelo, Canunpa wakan ca mayaku welo, Pilamaya yelo, Wicozani wa mayaku welo, Pilamayaye pilamaya yelo.

Canunpa wakan ca mayaku welo, Pilamaya yelo, Wicozani wa mayaku welo, Pilamayaye pilamaya yelo.

Great Spirit, grandfather, Great Spirit, grandfather, I thank you, You have given me a sacred canunpa, Thank you, You have given me a good healing, Thank you, thank you.

You have given me a sacred canunpa, Thank you, You have given me a good healing, Thank you, thank you.

Heyoka Thunder Being Song:

Makpiya mimemeya canku yape, Makpiya mimemeya canku yapelo, Henake akicita pica winyan wakan a canku yapelo.

Makpiya mimemeya canku yape, Henake akicita pica taku wakan a canku yapelo.

Clouds circling is their road, Clouds circling is their road, They are warriors, upon a road around a sacred woman.

Clouds circling is their road, They are warriors, upon a road around a sacred thing.

Hanbleceya Song 1

Tekiya wahi najin yelo, Tekiya wahi najin yelo, kola wamayankiyo.

Tekiya wahi najin yelo kola wamayankiyo.

Wiohpeyata kiya hoye wayelo kola wamayankiyo, Tekiya wahi najin yelo kola wamayankiyo

With difficulity I am standing, With difficulty I am standing, friend take a look at me.

With difficulty I am standing, friend take a look at me.

A voice I have sent to the West, friend take a look at me.

With difficulty I am standing, friend take a look at me.

Prayer Song

Makpia tipiwa ogna micagelo helo, Tunkashila ehapikun lecanu we

A dwelling in the clouds, he has made for me, Grandfather you have said and done this.

Ghost Nation Song

Tuwa tokiya kola lowanpelo, Tuwa tokiya kola lowanpelo, Tuwa tokiya kola lowanpelo.

Anpo hinapeki itokabya tuwa Lowanpe hena ehapi ca, Kola lowanpelo.

Somewhere my friends they are singing, Somewhere my friends they are singing, Somewhere my friends they are singing

They have said this, My friends they are singing

Prayer Song

Hoksila wamayankayo, hoksila wamayankayo, Miyohan wan wakanca wanji koyag Cinktelo, anpe wikiheyaca kola wayelo.

Child, take a look at me, child take a look at me, My power I have made you wear in a sacred manner ,The sun has said this, so I am his friend.

Doctoring Song

Ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye, Winyan ta canupi ki, ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

Winyan ta canupi ki ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

Ga glinajin miye Ikce wicasa ta canupi ki ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

Ikce wicasa ta canupi ki ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

It has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

a woman’s pipe had made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

A woman’s pipe has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it It has made me stand before it.

The common man’s pipe has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

The common man’s pipe has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

Prayer Song

Wankantanka unsimala yo, He makakijelo, Canupa kile he uha hoye wayelo

Wankantanka unsimalayo, He makakijelo, Canupa kile he uha hoye wayelo

Great Spirit have pity on me, For I am suffering, This pipe I have prayed with

Great Spirit have pity on me, For I am suffering, This pipe I have prayed with

Stone Song

Inyan wan hinajin wayanka piye

Before you a stone I have made appear. Come and see.

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

Stone Song

Hokaowin u welo, Hokaowin u welo, Inyanwan wakan yankina, wana Hokaowin u welo

Hokaowin u welo wakanyan u welo

It is coming around, It is coming around, A stone in a sacred manner, Now it is coming around

In a sacred manner it is coming.

Doctoring Song

Inajin yo he waniyankinte,Tunkashila he waniyankintelo, Inajin yo he waniyankintelo.

Inajin yo he waniyankinte, Tunkashila he waniyankintelo, Inajin yo he waniyankintelo.

Stand up, he is going to take a look at you, Grandfather is going to take a look at you, Stand up, he is going to take a look at you.

Stand up, he is going to take a look at you, Grandfather is going to take a look at you, Stand up, he is going to take a look at you.

 

Hanbleceya song

kola kawinga yo ehapelo, kola kawinga yo ehapelo, kola kawinga yo ehapelo. wiohpeyata inawajina ahitun nawajin yelo, kola kawinga yo ehapelo.

my friend turn around you have said,my friend turn around you have said, my friend turn around you have said.to the west I stand looking toward you, my friend turn around you have said.

Religious Freedom Links

The internet can be an amazing resource for Religious Freedom Links. here are some of our favorites! If you are are experiencing Religious persecution click the links below to learn what to do about it. be sure to read our other posts under the category of  L.A.W.

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

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International 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

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.

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.

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.

Foundation for Religious Freedom, Educating the public as to religious rights.

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.

 

 

ALTAR DESIGNS

ALTAR DESIGNS

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Often people ask us about ritual protocol.  Why are things done a certain way?  What color prayer flags (robes) go in which direction?  There are very specific reasons for these details but most importantly know that the rules vary from one medicine person to another.  In addition to this each root family or tiospaye has specific rules. An altar design from Fools Crow would differ from that of Henry Crowdog.  The directional colors vary as well as some of the songs that are used.  Each Medicine Man or Woman receives from the Universe a vision.  The vision usually instructs the changes that should occur in the altar design.  although the changes maybe slight they are powerful symbols to the spirits that they call.  So that’s one reason why an altar design is different from another, they call different spirits.  Such a vision (of an altar) comes with a song.  That is why the Yuwipi or Lowampi ceremony have different altar songs.

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So when attending a different sweat lodge don’t expect that the songs you are used to will be sung.  One word may be changed, there may not be a drum or there might be a rattle ( wagmuha).  The sweat lodge door may face a different direction. Generally, as with the Sundance, it faces west to call the Wakinyan or Thunder Spirits ( Lakota ).  

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If you are encountering difficulty or any problematic situations you can most likely look no further than the altar to find the solution. An altar cluttered with crystals and unnecessary items is usually the root cause of strife in any ceremonial event. Do not allow participants to place unrelated objects upon the altar. What we want here is a flow directed by the spirits themselves, so without proper instruction, having nothing upon the altar would be far better than clutter!

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Oftentimes we will sponsor a sweat lodge with other Pipe carriers and or medicine people.  We will have to ask them, what color prayer flags (robes) do you want and in what direction?  Do you want a buffalo skull on the altar and which direction should it face, toward the lodge or the fire?  Should we make prayer ties and what color?  After we find out which way everything goes, you can find out the reasons why things are the way they are.  The leader should know all the answers to the directional colors their presiding animals, spirits, the altar design, the meanings of the songs as well as when and why they are sung. 

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An All Night Tipi Meeting may vary profoundly from one Roadman to another.  This is especially so because The native American Church is an inter-tribal religion.  There are two branches in general the Half Moon and the Cross Fire.  Each Roadman / Roadwoman facilitates the ceremony differently.  Usually it is understood that at a different fireplace or altar the form of the ritual will be different in a lot of ways, yet basically structurally the same.  Even the symbolism can have different explanations.

Yuwipi/Lowanpi

Yuwipi\Lowanpi

        We believe in the night sing, the power of inyan, the 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 as a hollow bone for the spirits’ work.

The Night Sing, or Lowanpi, is probably the most fascinating rite in the western hemisphere. Anthropologists believe that it has its origins in Siberia and that it spread from there to many places throughout the world. It is believed to have been practiced in Nepal and northern China thousands of years ago.  There are ancient traces of it among the Laplanders’, The Mongols, The Icelandic peoples’ and in Amazonia.

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In the 1950′s it is said to have died out in Siberia but it has made a recent come back from North America. Versions of the Yuwipi/Lowanpi have long been practiced by tribes of the Northern and Eastern United states. The Tent Shaking rite among the Ojibwa were well documented in the 1800s, as well as the various plains tribes.                      

When the Medicine Man is tied and bound it is known as a Yuwipi rather than Lowanpi. It is this act of tying, untying, the frame drum, as well as the general events of the ceremony are what allowed Anthropologists to trace the yuwipi to Siberia and beyond. The Canli Pahta, or prayer ties are a purely Lakota element in this beautiful practice.

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Recently, people say things like “these ceremonies came about when our people had to hide their spiritual practices”. These views are inconsistent with Anthropological and Archaeological facts as the Yuwipi is thought of as the Neanderthal’s primary religion. There is no question that the Yuwipi/Lowanpi was never one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the White Buffalo Calf Woman. This suggests that the Prayer Ties and the use of the Sacred Pipe were, at some point, added to the Yuwipi. Similarly  songs as well as other elements have come from the Yuwipi/Lowanpi and entered into the Sundance.

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 These ways may have come from Siberia ,but the reverse may be the case just as well, especially in the case with mastodon hunters who followed the herds. It is believed that the yuwipi, the ceremony that truly defines Shamanism, moved with the migration of the mastodon. The Lakota primarily hunted Mastodon before the buffalo, as did various other tribes.

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The healing that occurs in these ceremonies  may not be accompanied by any tactile sensations. This does not affect the power of the healing.  The most difficult manifestation seems to be for the spirits to make sound. Auditory experiences seem to occur less (the singing or speaking of spirits) than tactile ones. There are no real generalizations though, it is up to the Spirits alone, next it is up to the Medicine Man’s relationship with those beings and last but not least the faith of the participants. It is strange to see the (new-age) shamanic drumming sessions that are so popular now. This practice is directly mimicking the ancient ways without any of the outward manifestations (or initiation  that are usual to these ceremonies. It is Interesting to note that certain individuals are born with, or acquire the ability to create situations characteristic to Yuwipi.

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Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli are two individuals known to have brought about such situations. first thing one could experience in a Yuwipi or Lowanpi is levitation and movement the rattles and various other objects. Next would be flickering lights, rain, hail, wind and other similar sensations. The third type of manifestation one could expect is the touch of a spirit’s hand, the touch of an animal, Little person, or other such being’s touch.

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The Yuwipi ritual may be held for very specific purposes.  Among them are healings, finding lost or stolen objects, and finding solutions to problems.   It is part of a trinity of rights, Yuwipi, Sweat lodge and Vision Quest.  After performing a sweat lodge the right begins in a room in which all lights can be extinguished.  The leader or Yuwipi man is bound within a quilt and laid face down in the center of the room, (Yuwipi means they tie him up).  The room is plunged into total darkness as the lead singer begins to drum and sing with great enthusiasm.  In the darkness the spirits play the rattles and untie the leader.  The lights are turned on and the Yuwipi man narrates the events of the ceremony and the sacred Canupa is passed round.  This all takes about four to six hours and is an evening event.  Yuwipi is followed by a  potluck. The Yuwipi is an important Ceremonial that we are excited to have in our community as well as visitors from all over.

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Singing for Yuwipi / Lowanpi is a very serious matter. The lead singer and the accompaniment should not take it lightly. It is of utmost importance for the singer to be able to sense the man in the middle within the cover of total darkness as well as the coming and going of the various spirits that may be present. To get started the sacred Canupa will be filled with Cancasa with the accompaniment of the Pipe filling song or Opagipi Olowan. Sometimes two other pipe songs may be sung with it. Then for the tying this song can be sung although it is not necessary.

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It is important that this all happens swiftly and without delay (tying). As soon as the man is in the center face down the lights are extinguished and the directional song (Tatetopakiya Olowan) is sung. There are some very important things to know about this song. This song is received by the medicine man during vision quest and is his personal song. It is sometimes known as an altar song or as Wicakicopi Olowan (they call them song). This type of song can only be learned in person Unless a regular directional song is being used. A good example of this would be the directional song of the sweat lodge. Other spirits are called in now with the calling songs, the Deer, Mole, Bat and stone spirits’ (Yuwipi Wasicunwould take precedence for us. The calling songs can vary greatly with circumstance and the Yuwipi Bundle itself.

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A prayer song is sung signaling the time of prayer. This can happen in a number of ways depending on the situation. Basically this is when the spirits are asked for healing or the whereabouts of someone or something. The spirits may go look to check something out or retrieve an object or Ghost.  Healing songs would now be sung as the spirits get to work on the sponsor and whomever stands to receive a healing. This usually happens either by the sponsor, select individuals or by everyone.

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The spirits’ may perform tasks in answer of the prayers during the healing round but may continue working into the next set of songs. Depending on the medicine man a wide variety of songs can be sung at this point. Now it is common to hear Kettle songs, Ceh’ohomni Olowan. These are better known as Heyoka songs or Thunder being songs.

 These clown songs originally are used as part of the Kettle Dance and other Heyoka rites. It is said that the ghosts of the Heyoka Medicine men intervene in the Yuwipi /Lowanpi cerimony to affect a cure, who really knows? These songs may be sung solely to call the Thunder beings as well as other related spirits. Many other songs can be sung, there are the stone songs, spider songs, and all the various animal songs.

The spirits Do the untying with the untying song. This song is known as Wicayujujupi Olowan. Now Spirit dancing songs are sung. This songs known as Waci Olowan are sung in the sweat Lodge as well as the Sun Dance. In the lodge it is used in the most active time for the spirits which is the third door. During Sundance it is sung while the pierced dancers are breaking free or just after that. During Yuwipi this is at the point of untying. Sometimes in a ceremony such as this a version is used calling the stone spirits to dance, it is up to the Yuwipi man. At this point regular Sweat and Sundance songs may be sung for the spirits pleasure, for them to dance.

No matter how the ceremony progresses or how it is preformed or whatever, the Spirits go home song and the closing song are always song. Sometimes a few songs are sung just before this.

28. Closing Song           ( spirits go home song ).                  This is a must know song! For most every ceremony whether its’ for a simple Sweat Lodge or to end a Sun Dance!!!

Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Tunkasila ta wokonze ca, Lena cicu welo. Hot aninyan kin najin pelo.

English

As we leave our voices are heard, As we leave our voices are heard, It is Grandfather’s will, That I give you these offerings. As we leave our voices are heard.

Espanol

Mientras partimos, nuestra voces se eswchan, Mientras partimos,nuestra voces se eswchan, Es la voluntad de el Abuelo, Que te doy estas ofrendas, Mientras partimos, nuestra voces se eswchan, 

 29. Ending Song

Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo, Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.

Anpetu okihica cicu welo, Kola lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.

English

My friend, I have given you these. Behold them, My friend, I have given you these. Behold them.

The day has made it possible to give you these offerings, My friend, I have given you these. Behold them.

Espanol

Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo, Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo.

El dia ha echo posible poder darte estas ofrendas, Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo.

Black Bear

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Rules for singing Ceremonial Songs

Important Details about Ceremonial songs

“Rules for singing Ceremonial Songs”


Click here for songs!

  When singing this style of song, be sure to pay close attention to the drumbeat.  It is usually either a fast steady beat, Like a ruffle, or a slow thunder beat or like a heartbeat. In general there are these two types of drum beat with many different styles and variations, fast and slow. Some of these songs are hard to play without the right beat. Slow songs work best with a fast beat while fast songs seem to fit a slow beat  When singing along and not drumming it is helpful to tap along with the drummers. this will help to learn the correct rhythm.

The easiest mistake in the act of singing Lakota songs is singing to the beat of the drum. We are taught in school to clap to time with a song. In most drumming systems of Indigenous cultures and even our modern culture, we use an off beat. While clapping, most of us use an on beat rather than an off beat. An on beat is the opposite of an off beat.

Usually, when clapping one would start a song with the clap and the clapping would happen at each syllable, that’s the on beat. What you want is the drum beat between each syllable, starting the song after the clap and the syllables of the lyrics occurring between the beats. Lets use an example, the song “Mary had a little lamb”, what you want is to hear the drum beat * between the syllables. Ma*ry* had* a *li*ttle* lamb*. Like that.

A good way to get it right is to practice drumming with a heart beat (thunder beat), that’s a two beat. One two, one two, one two, the “one” being the loud beat and the “two” being the more quiet of the heart beat. Practice starting the song on the “two”. If you were clapping you would start the song when your hands are furthest apart and each syllable would occur when your hands are apart (the off beat).

 Another point of consideration is distinguishing between vocables and lyrics. Vocables are sounds and are not written among the lyrics.  Usually the syllables and melody of the vocables match the lyrical part of the song. Vocables can be compared to the European equivalent: Fa La La La La, La La La La (deck the halls).  Usually songs containing vocables, begin with vocables. Very rarely are the vocables after the lyrics or between the words.

When singing alone or without accompaniment you would sing the songs the way they are written.  When singing with others you would use a call and response.  That is when the song leader calls out the first line of the song; the group would then repeat that line. Ladies would join in on the third line, unless of course there are only two singers, a man and a woman. Some of these recordings have a call and response although they are written without it. As a rule of thumb with the call and response the group joins in just before the leader sings the vocable sound He.  This sound is found at the end of some of the sentences, He.

Other things to consider in singing these songs

Some of these songs are specific to particular lineages. In that case only one or two words may be different from one Tiospaye (family lineage)  to another. Most of these songs are general and are sung by many groups and at different ceremonies. An animal calling song is for calling in the power of specific animals. A stone song is for calling in the spirits of stones. Be sure you are not calling things unnecessarily.

Saguache

These songs are very powerful and not to be idly whistled or sung in the shower. Put down a pinch of tobacco as an offering first. This can be placed in a special spot, it can be rubbed or sprinkled upon the drum. A little water is good for the spirit of the drum, but before singing songs always put down tobacco. It is important not to “cry wolf” with the spirits. If these songs are sung idly too much the Spirits may stop responding.

By learning songs from a C.D. or computer they may only attract lesser nearby spirits. They may not have the same impact until they are sung along within a genuine tradition. The more powerful spirits follow an oral line of association that is lost without actual contact with lineage holders. By singing and learning these songs here the spirits may eventually draw you into the ceremonies and traditions that use them.

Kid's songs

Thunder Being songs are for addressing the Thunder Beings who are the law enforcement branch of the Creator.They sung to invoke the healing power of the thunders. Do not sing any thunder being songs at night out of context. Thunder being songs call thunder beings during the day and ghosts at night. Honestly, one should never really sing any kind of song carelessly outside at night. In the event of attracting ghosts sing the sending the spirits home Closing Song and the Ending Song. It is good to know these songs to send spirits back home, especially when it is helpful to them.

Thunder being songs include any Heyoka or “kettle songs”.  Heyoka people, or sacred fools, may sing these songs at other occasions. If you are not initiated as a Heyoka, meaning that if you have not performed a kettle dance successfully, you should avoid singing these songs out of context. Any one can sing most of the Thunder Being songs in the sweat lodge and yuwipi ceremonies provided that they are followed by the proper closing and ending songs.

When Heyoka people sing, since they are contrary to the proper way, they will use an “on beat” with the drum rather than an “off beat”. The dog song should only be sung at the Kettle Dance (Heyoka Initiation). Heyoka people may sing this song out of turn, don’t do this, it is asking for the spirits to “take” a dog as an offering.

Healing songs are for doctoring people. The songs themselves are a healing medicine. They can be sung in sweat lodge, Yuwipi, or on their own as a treatment. Canupa songs (pipe songs) should generally be sung when the pipe is present. If you carry a canupa it is okay to sing those songs whenever but always give a tobacco offering to the drum, especially when rehearsing. Pipe filling songs should only be sung while loading the pipe facing west. Again it is alright in the process of learning to sing the pipe filling songs, having offered tobacco to the drum and ending your lessons with the “Sending the Spirits Home” closing song.

There are various different closing songs when reaching near the end of a ceremony. For instance, in the fourth round of the sweat lodge one might sing a closing offering song. Be sure to check with your leaders about this as they vary from tradition to tradition. Some of our closing songs may not be used by other lineages to close. It all depends on what the spirit helpers of a tradition are used to. When visiting a sweat lodge you know little about it would be safest to not lead any closing songs at all.

class

There are a handful of songs not available here that are too specific. These are the opening Yuwipi/Lowanpi songs for calling in the directional spirits. They vary from ceremony to ceremony and from one medicine man to another. To get these songs you will have to learn them in ceremony. That is the only time those songs are ever sung.

Always remember the origins of these songs, some of them are 12 thousand years old, some of them are relatively new. The important part is that they came to people through dreams and visions and were not composed in a mundane fashion. A song, then, connects to a spirit, a group of spirits and a person.

In essence it is not essential to know the meaning of a song for it to be effective. It is really good to know the meaning, but the songs are for the spirits. There should not be any element of performance in singing these songs. All these songs are for the sake of the spirits, not for entertainment purposes. Some domestic scholars are under the impression that the drum is used to lull the people into a “trance like state”. The drum is to call the spirits, any “trance like states” should be attributed to the presents of the spirits.

By learning all of these songs on our site we will become a Lowan Wicasa (song man) or a Lowan Winyan (song woman). Although not a prerequisite to being a medicine man or woman in the Lakota tradition you would have to be crazy to even attempt to embark on that path without most of these songs. Singers are integral to these ways, anyone knowing all of these songs are needed and honored regardless of race, creed, or color. If you put yourself out there you could at least get well fed!