Native American Peyote Controversy
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In 1978, Congress passed the American Indian Religious Act that pledged to protect American Indian religious practices. Despite that pledge, the use of the psychedelic cactus peyote -- a staple of Native American ceremonies -- was repeatedly under siege.

In 1990, the Supreme Court upheld the firing of two Native Americans who ingested peyote at their church, despite their argument that using peyote was part of a religious practice and should be protected under the First Amendment.

It took four more years, until 1994, for Congress to pass the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments that specifically allowed for the legal use of peyote as a sacrament in Native American religious services.
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
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Peyote set, from the Children's Museum of Indianapolis- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Dschwen (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Peyote buttons seized by police- Wikimedia Commons- US government photo

Peyote ceremony, 1892- BAE GN 01456d 06275400, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Peyote Cacti- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Frank Vincentz (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Jenkins, Philip , 2004. Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press.
Web Source(s)
American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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