Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Land of Ghosts

The Salt Lake Tribune is running a story about native americans and their right to use peyote in religious ceremonies. There is a debate over who can use peyote. It seems like many people do not like this practice and, therefore, are looking to limit the use of the drug to members of federally recognized indian tribes.

The problem is that many indian tribes have not been recognized by the federal government. Though these people have ancestors who have lived in north america for thousands of years, apparently, they don't count as native americans because Uncle Sam hasn't put his stamp on them. Why not? Because when a tribe is recognized the government has to give them money and land. Does Uncle Sam like to give those things? No. It doesn't seem to bother anyone that people in this country are denied their own heritage because the government doesn't want to pay for it. But the real culprit in protecting the use of peyote is the United States Constitution (Which, it so happens, was heavily inspired by the Iroquois people. It's got to be some kind of conspiracy! Look it up.); damn freedom of religion. We'll see if the first amendment is good enough for the courts. And to native americans who fail to be recognized... you will need to content yourself in the land of ghosts.

4 comments:

Gordon said...

God I hate this issue. I'm completely unsympathetic to arguments that "it's tradition." So damn what. My people had a tradition of smacking fools with a chain mace. And believe you me I find myself itching to smack a fool on a daily basis.

That being said, let's just say I find arguments against drugs less than compelling. Rednecks sitting around the TV watching NASCAR can swill beer until they pass out, but the natives can't use a little peyote? What a crock.

ShootingStar said...

So I'm all for the leagilization of Peyote--outlawing any plant is such a strange practice. But, while I understand that the belief that smoking it is sacred began w/ the Native Americans--isn't it kind of arbitrary now to say that only Native American can smoke it? It just seems that if you have the belief that its sacred (no matter you ancestery) then it should be okay. I know the govt. then is worried they won't know who thinks it is sacred and who is just smoking it to get high. Don't they have something else to worry about--like educating our youth?

Native Minnow said...

Next time I'm in SLC I want you to share some peyote with me.

I love Gordon's comment. I too would love to smack a fool with a chain mace.

your mother said...

There were a lot of issues in this blog. One of them being peyote. At stake for american indians is the right to be. No other people on this earth have to prove their pedigree.....