• Members of the previous forum can retrieve their temporary password here, (login and check your PM).

Pot and Pretendians

Migrated topic.


Staff member
For your consideration:

Pot and Pretendians
Ruth Hopkins

I’ve heard it dozens of times: folks justify the appropriation of Native culture and the theft of sacred rites and ceremonies by saying there’s no injury; that it’s essentially harmless, or even beneficial.

Wrong. How does redface, be it physical, mental or spiritual, aside from making a mockery of us Originals, further colonial conquest and genocide? Let me count the ways…

I could point you in the direction of studies that show how appropriation harms Native youth psychologically, provide you will a million personal stories from Native people who experience microagressions on a daily basis, or paint the big picture for you, linking hipster headdresses, race based mascots and for-profit sweat lodges to the persistent systemic oppression of Native peoples from Columbus’s arrival to the present, but for now, let me give you one contemporary example.

Recently, officers in Sonoma County, California, confiscated marijuana plants from the Oklevueha Native American Church. Members of the church say the plants are sacred and used ceremonially. They’ve since taken the matter to Federal Court, suing Sonoma County, its Sheriff, and the Governor of California, claiming they’ve been discriminated against under the Constitution of the state of California, and alleging rights violations under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. The group is seeking an injunction and praying for damages as a remedy.

Oklevueha members assert that marijuana is integral to their sacraments, just like peyote.

There’s just one problem. It’s not. While I’m not a member of the Native American Church, I practice Dakota/Lakota spirituality, and marijuana has not, nor has it ever been, used as a part of ceremony. While some species of hemp have always grown in the western hemisphere, the marijuana people smoke today is native to Asia. It’s propagation in the Americas is relatively new. I also know a few individuals who put weed in their canupa (sacred pipe), and were shunned for it.

I spoke to a few Native people who frequent Native American Church ceremonies, and they told me the same thing one of the most well-known Lakota medicine men in the United States told me: marijuana is not a part of our sacrament.

Now don’t misinterpret me here. Marijuana is medicinal, as are many plants utilized by Indigenous people. However, claiming its part of our spirituality to avoid catching a case threatens the rights of actual Natives who deserve protection under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Yes, I said ‘actual Natives.’ You see, the Oklevueha Native American Church, established in April 1997 in Gunnison, Utah, doesn’t appear legitimate. On their website, they offer membership to those who “desire to be blessed by having access to Native American Ceremonies and Medicines (such as Peyote, San Pedro, Ayahuasca and Cannabis) without legal interference.” The leader of this church is James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney. He claims to be Seminole. If you research Mr. Mooney online, you’ll uncover a veritable maze of a pretendian who is desperately trying to prove he’s Native. He claims to be a direct descendant of Osceola, but data on his family tree is sketchy. So is his basic assertion of Native lineage. He’s not enrolled in a state or federally recognized Tribe. As you scroll, be prepared to wade through a swamp of anecdotal evidence and hearsay from unqualified sources offered up as proof of his ancestry and the right to call himself “Medicine Man Emeritus.” By the way, let me clue you in on a little secret: I don’t know a single wicasa wakan (medicine man) who calls himself that. Be suspicious of anyone who is a self-proclaimed medicine man or “shaman.” Yet ‘Flaming Eagle’ would have us believe he was commanded by a Lakota to “take this medicine to the whiteman.”

When non-Natives steal ceremonies from us, it creates a spiritual harm. These sacred rites have real power, and that’s not to be taken lightly. How dare people take a belief system that our Native ancestors have bled for and died to protect, only to twist it and exploit it for personal gain.

The ways of the pipe and the teachings of the Native American Church are not a cover for white people to avoid responsibility, and it’s blasphemous to consider them a means to profit making venture.

Have we learned nothing from the deaths that occurred in Sedona? James Arthur Ray was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide in 2010 for those who died thanks to his improperly run new age “sweat lodge.”

Meanwhile, the legal action of Oklevueha Native American Church in the Federal court system could affect the rights and protections of Natives everywhere.

As we say on Twitter, “This is why we can’t have nice things.” We must remain vigilant against those who seek to desecrate our ceremonies, dehumanize us, and homogenize and erase our cultures. The consequences for failing to keep watch and protect our legacies are real.

Ruth Hopkins (Sisseton Wahpeton & Mdewakanton Dakota, Hunkpapa Lakota) is a writer, blogger, biologist, activist and judge.
Original here.

Pot and Pretendians: ONAC Rebuttal
Oklevueha Native American Church

We with Oklevueha Native American Church (ONAC) are directed by Native Medicine people, Creator and free people.

We do permit adults regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ancestry, religious or political affiliation, marital status and socioeconomic status to participate in our ceremonies, in hopes that all people will receive the invitation into the sacred hoop. This originally came about because of first leaders of the Native American Church and prominent roadmen like Quanah Parker (Comanche) and most recently because of direction by Chief Leslie Fool Bull (Lakota Sioux) to take this medicine to the White Man. Chief Richard Swallow (Lakota Sioux) reiterated that blessing and purpose years later. We honor and intend to protect the Native ways and ceremonies. We count many indigenous peoples in our membership and invite all (Native and non-Native) to participate with us in circle. History shows that we work hard to prevent mockery, conquest or genocide and have worked all our history to defend the native ways and protect and restore the culture and healing that is offered to the world. We strive to teach young and old to take 100 percent responsibility, which is empowering versus the position of being a victim, which creates a generational down spiral.

Here is the actual complaint and request for injunction mentioned in the Indian Country Today column.

Historically, Native Americans did not call their spirituality a religion. The concept of a Native American Church and protecting the use of Peyote in a religious context is a fairly recent development. However, it is a development that has the blessing of the US Government and by extension and intention, protects the ceremonies, culture and various medicines of the tribes regardless of their history. Originally when founded, ONAC worked only with Peyote. As natives and others came forward expressing how the medicines, ceremonies and sacraments of other groups in North and South America had blessed and healed them, we counseled together and realized that the traditions, new, old and current, of other tribes deserved to be protected as well. There has been a conscious effort by some in the US Government and in big business to wipe out Native spirituality and their medicines and ceremonies. Had it not been for Flaming Eagle’s grandfather’s argument for Native rights to seek Creator in 1918 before Congress, our ceremonies would have been eliminated. These entities still want more land, more wealth and more power – usually at the expense of native peoples that have already been decimated by wrong thinking.

Various types of natural medicine can bless most anyone. Medicine does not always need to be a pharmaceutical. And medicine does not always have to be ingested. Medicine can be a loved one’s laughter, a song, a good book or a smile from a stranger. Every tribe and indigenous people have been given spiritual and physical things such as natural plants, by the Great Spirit to assist them in healing, seeing and understanding - and to walk in a good way. Where is the love to exclude any group of people from ceremony or from something naturally given to us by Creator for our benefit? The Constitutional and God-given right of religion is a shared freedom. We believe these ideals are vital to support and defend.

We require the person who conducts ceremonies and administers the sacraments to strictly abide by ONAC Code of Ethics.

The article questions the legitimacy of James (Flaming Eagle) Mooney. Co-founders of ONAC, James Mooney and his wife Linda were arrested and cleared. The case went to the Utah Supreme Court where the judges unanimously decided it was proven beyond doubt and by DNA evidence that James and Linda are both Native American. This is in spite of the best efforts by the State of Utah legal authorities to disprove their lineage in the effort to lock them up for life. This is mentioned on a number of websites and in the official court records. The state’s zeal to discredit the Mooney’s is also an attempt to eliminate the healing reality of our ceremonies and Creator’s gifts.

The Mooneys have stolen nothing. Rather they have given all they have to give to simply share what is already free. They honor and give respect to the people and the ceremonies that are all our heritage. Oklevueha NAC shares with all people, in fact ONAC members and spiritual leaders from the many tribes participate with us and conduct ceremonies to include: Lakota Sioux, Paiute, Apache, Cheyenne, Navajo, Cherokee, Shoshone, Southern Ute and others.

ONAC leaders have served and are blessed in the following ways: sanctioned to conduct ceremonies on Naval ships of the US Navy; developed the most successful Prison Native American Program in the United States (which brought recidivism for participants down from 90% to less than 30%); and honored by a Mexican consulate proclamation endorsing our cultural/spiritual exchange with the Huichole culture of Mexico.

James Mooney is not only a blessed Sacred Prayer Pipe Holder through his Tribal Chief Little Dove and Her Tribal Council, but is a direct descendant of James Mooney, the Ethnologist of the Smithsonian Institute who was the author of the first Native American Church by-laws in 1918. These facts are easy to verify.

ONAC leadership agrees that James Arthur Ray, who was responsible for the deaths of three people on Oct. 8, 2009 along with countless others he harmed, is a shyster and conman and could have cared less about indigenous peoples, our beliefs nor for the sacredness of humanity in general. He required $20,000 for ceremonies. ONAC does not charge for ceremonies. We do accept gifts, as do all medicine people and leaders of churches of all faiths.

It is a common practice among Indigenous people not to charge for spiritual ceremonies nor sacred things. Our ceremonies and sacraments are not for sale from the Church. It is the Native Way.

In the Catholic Church this is called “simony.” Simony describes the act of selling church offices and roles. The name comes from Simon Magus in Acts 8:9-24 who tried to buy spiritual powers to impart the power of the Holy Spirit. Two disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, refused the payment.

Additionally, Paul wrote these words to his young protégé, Timothy, in 1 Timothy 5:17-19: “The elders who are good leaders should be considered worthy of an ample honorarium, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. The Complete Jewish scripture goes on to say, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain and, the worker is worthy of his wages.’” The Jewish scripture goes on to warn, “Never listen to any accusation against a leader unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.”

We agree that we must remain vigilant against those who seek to desecrate our ceremonies, dehumanize us and homogenize and erase our cultures. If we only allow the healing to be for the indigenous, what does that make us? We in Oklevueha NAC take a stand to protect the rights of the Ruth Hopkins’s of the world and every person who can be blessed by these ways and understandings. We speak for those who cannot stand for themselves. We give voice for those who are suffering and need help - red, yellow, black and white; and respect their right to choose whether they enter the circle or not. Let us celebrate not condemn. We invite everyone to join us in sacred circle as we each walk our own paths in a good way.

We believe individuals who are healthy and at peace will contribute to the peace of their families, their nation and the world. Individuals who are incomplete, fearful, and hopeless do harm to themselves, others and all of society. We believe Indigenous ceremonies, sacraments and medicines can assist all individuals in healing the effects of abuse, damage, fear and ailments. These approaches do not carry the side-effects of chemicals and can effectively heal the world.

We thank Indian Country for giving a voice to all people and for giving ONAC an opportunity to present truth. We are all related.
Original here.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Native American church sues postal service over seizure of 'sacramental' marijuana

Leaders of a Native American church have sued the U.S. Postal Service in federal court after the government seized marijuana that church leaders say was intended for religious use by a member in Ohio.

Leaders of the Utah-based Oklehueha Native American Church said the federal government violated their right to religious freedom when authorities seized marijuana intended for use as part of "Native American spiritual healing practices" by a member who suffers from cancer.

Joy Graves leads a Cottage Grove branch of the church. Graves and James Mooney, the church's spiritual leader, are listed as plaintiffs in the suit, filed this month in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The church, which the suit says serves the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge as well as other Native American tribes, incorporates "medicine men," cannabis "and various other natural herbs and plants" into its religious practices, according to court documents.

The suit claims that the church's use of the U.S. Postal Service to send "sacramental cannabis" to a member in Ohio are protected by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which among other things protects Native American use of peyote.

In a written statement, the U.S. Postal Service said the package was seized "based on obvious signs that it contained a controlled substance... Under federal law, regardless of state law, a person is prohibited from sending controlled substances -- such as marijuana -- through the mail."

In early December, Graves attempted to mail a package that included about five ounces of marijuana to the Ohio church member. Graves sent the package via priority mail from a Eugene post office.

Later that month, Graves learned that law enforcement seized the package at a postal facility in Portland. Graves, according to the suit, told the official that the marijuana was to be used as part of the church's "spiritual healing practices."

The official told Graves that it is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act to mail marijuana and that the package would not be "returned, released or delivered to the church member in Ohio."

"Each day the sacrament is delayed, the healing process provided through the church is denied to its member," the suit states.

The lawsuit asks the court to grant a temporary restraining order requiring the postal service to return the cannabis to the church.

-- Noelle Crombie

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie
So the recipient lives in cottage grove, Oregon? And they used usps to move pot? And they're weird about it being seized?

Seems to me they should just be growing, ibeing n a legal state, in a rural area.

That is, if the sacrament claim holds water.

im soooooooo bored with these legal games.

im old school on all this,
fawk all legalities, we get high anyway.
they are over run,and we have em surrounded.
why negotiate with legalista terrorists?

ill be damned if i have to join some hokey church of posers to buzz up.
ive ate as much mesc as anyone , never once in a +5 trip did the gods say one word to me
about these guys being exalted.

by definition its all buzz kill.
the only thing worse is waiting for some gubbamint agent to bring the mail.

some of us didnt fight the drug war 40 yrs to " ask for mail back"
the mail?
use the mans system , take your chances.

anyone with sense still loads up and transports smokey and bandit style,
trunk packed, extra leaf springs , and wild rabbit motorcycle escorts.
preferably in convoy.

fact is , you dont need state approval and next day air to buzz up,
what ya really need is your own initiative, and logistics.

if your waiting for the mail, for a certificate and a buzz box,
maybe your in the wrong game.
all the big kids and old people, didnt need it.
in the new age, you need a mail order buzz box and sheepskin even less.

how dare these alleged churches capitalize on a war we won thru logistics.

as for the anti drug crusaders , they lost already, even if they didnt get the memo.
modern logistics and communications, and good ol grow teks,
trounced em.
they are lucky we dont bury them in grow lab waste.
( or send them to the hague for war crimes against humanity!)

serving thyself, serves thy enemies best.
stand and buzz up unrepentant.
supplies get captured......
they can be replaced faster than they are taken down.
its proven.

( for those that have missed it in other threads,
my mom is a member of a federally recognized tribe,
so i absolutely have a direct stake and interest in this)

also, as a final note on this topic.
how come i eat mesc and the gods tell me how to grow more lophs fast,
and ,share the knowledge, with everyone.
but , the gods tell these guys to get a P.O. BOX and mail pot?

im gonna run with my gods advice ,
at least until these guys renounce mail order as an answer.
Costa Mesa marijuana raid hit Native American church, not a dispensary, lawyer says


Native American church, known for using peyote and marijuana, to open branches in former O.C. pot shops

Native American church fights for right to use cannabis & peyote

.... saw somethng of note here:

AIFRA Amendments of 1994 do not include Marijuana

Mooney has a website where he claims to have been given a blessing in 1998 by the late Leslie Fool Bull, who served as the Chairman of the Native American Church of South Dakota. Mooney alleges that he was told by the late Fool Bull to “take this medicine to the white man.” He also claims on his website that this “blessing” was witnessed by Kirk Fool Bull, son of the late spiritual leader.

However, in an affidavit dated January 28, 2016, Kirk Fool Bull denies witnessing his late father giving Mooney any kind of blessing to distribute peyote to non-Indians. The late Leslie Fool Bull only wished Mooney safe travels, after the non-Indian paid the late Fool Bull an impromptu visit in the Rapid City Regional Hospital. Kirk also states in his affidavit he only gave Mooney his phone number so the non-Indian could call when he returned home safely.
Another blow to the Wannabe Tribe

National Council Does Not Condone Faux Native American Churches or Marijuana Use

Native American Churches
There is a growing trend in the United States, of organizations adopting the name “Native American Church” as a means of trying to obtain the protection of federal law, which was established by the government to recognize and protect the legitimate indigenous religions that have prospered on the North American continent since long before European settlers arrived.

In the case of the Peyote Religion, archaeological and ethnographic evidence demonstrates its presence in North America for more than 10,000 years. However, organizations and individuals claiming protection under the umbrella of these organizations want to capitalize on this ancient practice despite having no connection to it whatsoever.

Some of these illegitimate organizations, comprised of non-Native people, are now claiming that marijuana, ayahuasca and other substances are part of Native American Church theology and practice. Nothing could be further from the truth. We, the National Council of Native American Churches are now stepping forward to advise the public that we do not condone the activities of these illegitimate organizations.

The National Council of Native American Churches consists of legitimate, indigenous member organizations that include the Native American Church of North America, the Azzee’ Bee Nahaga of Diné Nation, the Native American Church of the State of Oklahoma, the Native American Church of the State of South Dakota, and invited Leaders of the Consejo Regional Wixarika of Mexico. We member organizations of the National Council speak for all of our chapters and the individual members of the chapters on this matter of national importance.

Federal laws protecting legitimate, indigenous Native American Churches have a long and purposeful history. Back in our history, there was a time when our spiritual beliefs were outlawed. People were jailed, put in insane asylums and killed for participating in the Sun Dance and other ceremonies. This, too, includes taking peyote as our sacrament. Federal laws enacted first in the late 1970s were intended to protect our right to practice our religion. We oppose the attempts of non-Natives to come in and misuse government protection of traditional Native American religion to conduct illegal activity that has nothing to do with our traditional ways.

We do not recognize, condone, or allow the use of marijuana, or any other substance other than peyote, in any of our religious services. To the contrary, the only plant that serves as a sacrament is peyote, and without peyote, our ceremonies cannot take place. We reject and condemn any claim by these illegitimate organizations that marijuana or any other plant serves or has ever served as a sacrament in addition to peyote in indigenous Native American Church ceremonies.

To the extent that the claims of any of these organizations rest on allegations or inferences of an affiliation with traditional Native American Church organizations or with any legitimate chapter of the Native American Church, such claims should be rejected. The mere use of the term Native American Church does not entitle any of these illicit organizations to any legal protection under federal law.

We know who we are, and we know where we come from. We know the atrocities visited upon us. We reject the attempts to grasp onto our indigenous ways and deceive the public by claiming them as their own for their own personal enjoyment or for profit.

The National Council of Native American Churches wrote this letter on February 13. It was signed by Sandor Iron Rope, President
Native American Church of North America; Steven Benally, President
Azzee’ Bee Nahagha of Dine Nation; Charles Haag, President
Native American Church of the State of Oklahoma; Albert Red Bear, Jr., President
Native American Church of the State of South Dakota Native; and Santos De La Cruz Carrillo, Consejo Regional Wixarika Mexico.

Read more at National Council Does Not Condone Faux Native American Churches or Marijuana Use
Have we learned nothing from the deaths that occurred in Sedona? James Arthur Ray was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide in 2010 for those who died thanks to his improperly run new age “sweat lodge.”

What a dumb thing to pay for in Sedona. They all have a free sweat lodge. It's called "outside."
Top Bottom