Azee Bee Nahgha of Dine Nation Inc

logo

A Historical Overview of the Peyote Ceremony 

  • 1600's - First Inquestors of New SPain and Roman Catholic Church 1st to Establish Anti-Peyote Laws against Indigenous Tribes 
    • Early incidence of Peyote arrests recorded in the Spanish Missionaries/Court 
      • Cases in Santa Fa (1632) and Taos Pueblo- Pubelos arrested for possession of Peyote. 
  • 1800's - US gained territorial control of the Southwest after the Mexican-American War 1842 (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo)
    • Anti-Peyote Laws by the Spanish Govenrment Catholic Churches and Mexican Government influenced Anti-Peyote laws to be adopted by the US Government. 
  • Indian Removal Act of 1830 - Passed by President Andrew Jackson 
  • Congress Passes Indian Religious Crimes Code of 1883
    • Banned the Practice of traditional dances, gatherings and ceremonies for American Indians included:
      • Traditional SOngs
      • Prayers of Offerings
      • Burial Customs/Rituals 
      • use of Ceremonial items, including peyote & traditional tobacco. 
  • 1890 - Comminssioner of Indian Affairs ordered for the "Seizure and Destroy" of Peyote and classified it as an "Intoxication Liquor" under the Indian Territorial 
  • Navajo Government 
  • 1900-1940 - Navajo Nation Police began to arrest Navajo Peyote Practitioners during ceremonies throughout the Navajo Nation. Many Fist fights break out among Navajos and Police - Secretly practiced the ceremony in hidden places 
  • 1940 - Anti-Peyote Law (Resolution No. CJ-1-40) passed by Navajo Nation Council with a vote of 54-1 (Hola Tso only tribal member to vote against Anti-Peyote Law) 
    • Anti-Peyote Laws adopted by Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. 
  • 1944 - Native American Church of Navajo Land Inc. (NACNL) informally estabilshed by Navajo Peyote Leaders in concern of Navajo's being persecuted for use of Peyote. 1st elected officers; Hola Tso, Ambrose Lee, and Stewart Ettsitty 
  • 1944-1950's - Peyote-Way grew rapidly throughtout Navajo Nation and into Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona
  • 1954 - NAC of Navajo Land Leaders attempted to repeal the 1940 Anti-Peyote by introducing a resolution to the Navajo Tribal Council- this failed in council 
  • Navajo Chairman Paul Jones, the Navajo Tribal Council, along with Christian Missionaries strongly apposed the use of Peyote on the Navajo Nation 
  • Meanwhile, many Navajo's were arrested and fined under the Anti-Peyote Law
  • 1956 - NAC of Navajoland made a second attempt to repeal the 1940 Anti-Peyote Law - this was denied again with a vote of 54-5
  • 1959 Native American Curch of North America vs. The Navajo Tribal Council; NAC of North America sued the Navajo Tribal Council for the repeal of the Anti-Peyote Law on the Navajo Nation
  • 1959- The Case went to the 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal in Denver Colorado were a case was denied due to jurisdiction - Declared district courts had no jurisdictional rights over tribal issues 
  • 1959 - NAC Organizations and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took the case to the US Supreme Court in hopes to bring awareness to constitutional rights of the American Indians at a National Level. Supreme Court denied case based on Jurisdiction and Tribal Sovereignty Rights 
  • 1950's - The Nac of North America and NAC of Navajoland began lobbying strategically throughtout New Mexico and Arizona to over turn the States Anti-Peyote Law
  • 1959- New Mexico passed a legislative in favor of legalizing the use and possession of Peyote-Credited to Frank Takes Gun and Navajo NM's Peyote Followers 
  • 1960- Attakai Vs. State of Arizona; Mary Attakai (Dine) was charged with possession of Peyote in Az. Court ruled in favor of Attakai based on the Arizona and US Constitution 1st Admendment of Freedom of Religion-Declared position and use of Peyote Unconstitutional- Credited to NAC of North America, NAC of Navajoland, and ACLU
  • 1959-1963 - The NAC of Navajoland leaders began campaigning to elect it's members into Navajo Tribal Council. 
  • 1963-1966 - NAC of Navajoland endorses and campaigns for Raymond Nakai for Navajo Nation Chairman- Nakai elected 2 terms and promises NAC Leaders the Legalization of Peyote 
  • 1964-1966 - NAC of Navajoland recommended to Nakai Administration for the establishment of a Bill of Rights or a Navajo Constitution - Protect peoples rights (use Peyote) 
  • 1967- Nakai Administration establishes a Basic Human Rights for the Navajo Nation as reccomended by NACNL Leaders. 
  • October 9th 1967- A Declaration of Basic Navajo Human Rights and Revocation of Resolution. Was presented and passed by Navajo Tribal Council - Navajo Bill of Rights 
  • October 10th 1967 - NAC of Navajoland presented the 1st Amendment to the new Navajo Nation Bill of Rights Legislation titled "Delcaring the Freedom of Religion as a Basic Human Right, Repealing Certain Tribal Council Resolutions and Legalizing Peyote as a Sacrament within Native American Church Services" overturn the 1940 Anti-Peyote Law.
  • October 11th 1067 - The Nac Amendment to the Navajo nation Bill of Rights was passed by a vote of 29-26.
  • August 28th 1967 - State of Texas enacts the 60th Legislation - Prohibiting the possession, harvesting, transporting and sale of Peyote in the State of Txas. 
  • 1967 - NAC Leaders throughout the country met to strategize efforts to overtunrn the 60th Legislation- State of Texas Bill of Rights will need to be tested.
  • February 9th 1968 - David S. Clark (President of NAC of Navajoland) was arrested in possession of two hundred Peyote Buttons in Mirando City Texas. 
  • in 1968 - State of Texas vs. David S. Clark court case ruled in favor of Mr. Clark stating the Ariticle 726-d of the Penal Code of the State of Texas Amended by Acts of 60th Legisture to be Unconstitutional under the US Constitution 1st Amendment RIght and also under the State of Texas Constitution Bill of Rights, which both guarantees the Right of Fredom of Religion 
  • The People vs. Jack Woody; Jack woody was arrested in position of Peyote in Needles, California - Supreme Court of California ruled that the States's Law was unconstitutional based on the US Constitution 1st Amendment of Relrgious Freedom
  • Employment Division Department of Human Resources of Oregon vs. Smith - Us Supreme Court ruled that Peyote use was not protected under the US Constitution for American Indian Religious Practices 
    • Peyote Coalition: Rueban Snake (Winnebago Tribe)
    • Peterson Zah (Navajo Nation) Senator Daniel K. Inouye, NAC of North America, NAC of Navajoland, and Native America Rights Fund, Coalition worked extensivly to Amend the Native American Religious Freedom Act (NARF) of 1973
  • US Congress passes the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 
  • the Act returned basic civil rights and to protect and preserve American Indians inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and excercise the tradtional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians. Rights include 
    • Access of Sacred Sites
    • Retrieval of Sacred Objects held in Museums 
    • Freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rites (including within prisons) 
    • Freedom to practice traditional ceremonies without repercussions from federal government. 
  • 1994 - Congress passes the Amends of American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 94' 
    • The use, possesion or transportation of Peyote by an American Indian shall be protected when used in a Bona Fide Traditional Ceremonial Way in connection with the practice of a traditional religion is lawful, and shal not be prohibited by the US or any State
    • No American Indain shall be penalized or discriminated against on the basis of such use possession or transportation
  • AIRFA - Also included new sections 
    • Protection and use of sacred objects including: eagle feathers, hawk feathers, eagle bone, etc. 
    • Prisoner rights to use sweat lodge for American Indians 
    • Access to Sacred Sites
  • 2003 - Name changed from NAC of Navajoland to Azee Bee Nahagha of Dine Nation- Practice and use of Peyote "shall be used in a bona fide traditional ceremonial way in connection with the practice of a traditional religion"
  • Protection from non-natives abusing the use of Peyote - since "Church" legally open to anybody - Congress cannot establish a church and cannot deny a persons religious right - the name needed to change. 
  • The historical protection and persererance of the Peyote from the Dine perspective is vital to understand as ABNDN moves forward