Church seeks probe of peyote prosecutions

Utah County: Members claim officials unduly burdened the free practice of their religion PROVO – Less than two weeks after two of its co-founders agreed to stop using and distributing peyote in exchange for the dismissal of federal charges against them, their Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church called for a probe into the role of […]

Charges Dropped vs. Couple in Peyote Case

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Federal prosecutors on Wednesday dropped charges against a husband and wife accused of illegally distributing peyote after they agreed to stay away from the hallucinogenic drug. James Mooney, 62, and his wife, Linda, 52, leaders of the Oklevueha EarthWalks Native American Church of Utah, had pleaded not guilty to multiple […]

No harm in Navajos’ peyote use, study finds

BOSTON — A study of the effects of peyote on American Indians found no evidence that the hallucinogenic cactus caused brain damage or psychological problems among people who used it frequently in religious ceremonies. In fact, researchers from Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital found that members of the Native American Church performed better on some psychological tests […]

Court tosses suit seeking return of seized peyote

A judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed by an American Indian church and its founder that sought return of peyote seized by Utah County authorities five years ago. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said the Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church of Utah and James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney had failed to serve the defendants […]

A Rare and Unusual Harvest

Man Collects Peyote Buttons From Cactus for American Indian Rites MIRANDO CITY, Tex. — In the heart of Rio Grande brush country, Salvador Johnson works a patch of land just east of the Mexican border that is sacred to Native Americans. Spade in hand, eyes scanning the earth as he pushes through the spiny brush, […]

Navajo Nation president signs peyote bill into law

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) – Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. has signed a law that makes it legal for Navajos to transport and possess peyote for ceremonial purposes on Navajo Nation land. The new tribal law also allows peyote that Navajo police confiscate from people who have it illegally to be given to the […]

No bail for Utah County peyote promoter

Called a danger to community: Witnesses testify James “Flaming Eagle” had threatened them for cooperating in an investigation A federal magistrate said Tuesday that a Utah County man who promotes the use of peyote in American Indian religious ceremonies is a danger to the community and ordered him held until his trial on drug charges. […]

Medicine man, wife arrested again on peyote charges

SPANISH FORK — Medicine man James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney and his wife, Linda, were arrested Thursday by Drug Enforcement Agency officials. DEA agents originally attempted last week to arrest the Mooneys at their home in Benjamin, but were unable to take them into custody because they were out of town visiting relatives. Background James Mooney: […]

Medicine Man

A nightmarish childhood experience moved James Warren “Flaming Eagle” Mooney to take up one of the oldest jobs in North American history. Once charged with a dozen felonies for giving peyote to ‘non-Native Americans’ in religious ceremonies, Mooney’s legal battle culminated in a landmark court ruling that protected him from prosecution in Utah courts. But […]

Peyote and peyote law

When Spanish explorers first stepped onto America’s soil, several tribes in northern Mexico had already used peyote for a dozen generations. Today, peyote grows chiefly in northern Mexico and south Texas. The plant is a small, woolly cactus shaped like a button and is traditionally consumed either in tea made from dried buttons or by […]

Puffs on peace pipes hail court win

More than a dozen undercover officers observed a downtown peace-pipe ceremony Wednesday morning by James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney to honor his attorney and recent win at the Utah Supreme Court. The plainclothes officers mainly stayed on the outskirts of the Exchange Place ceremony, although some videotaped the proceedings from the audience and even from a […]

Judge Rules Peyote Use is Legal

A Utah County man today celebrated his right to religious freedom. The Native American Church leader fought for his right to use peyote and the Utah Supreme Court agreed. Four years ago James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney was thrust into a struggle that pitted religious freedom against US drug laws. Mooney argued his peyote ceremonies were […]

Feds may weigh in on peyote case

Though the Utah Supreme Court has approved peyote use for Native American Church members regardless of race, Utah’s federal prosecutors may not. In June, the Utah Supreme Court OK’d religious peyote use for any member of the Native American Church. As a result, state drug charges were dropped against local medicine man James Mooney and […]

Peyote, Indian Religion and the Issue of Exclusivity

What makes someone a member of a religion? Is it something gained as a birthright, at a baptism, a result of devotional church attendance or even race? A case in Utah over peyote use has unearthed such questions, and the discussion seems to be just getting started. Peyote, a small cactus whose buttonlike tops can […]

Peyote Charge Against Provo Man is Dismissed

PROVO, Utah (AP) — A drug charge against a Provo man accused of distributing peyote to non-Indians has been dismissed in the wake of a Utah Supreme Court ruling that use of peyote in religious ceremonies cannot be limited to Indians. “I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad the charge was dismissed,” David Hamblin, 49, […]

Justices uphold religious peyote use

The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday ensured that Utah members of the Native American Church, regardless of their race, cannot be prosecuted for using peyote as part of their religion. The justices unanimously ruled in favor of Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church founder James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney and his wife, Linda. The couple were charged […]

Peyote may have medicinal benefits

Experts are debating the benefits, risks of hallucinogenic drugs PHILADELPHIA — Long before Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey and the counterculture generation discovered hallucinogenic drugs, the Indians of western Mexico were using peyote to commune with their gods. Anthropologist Peter T. Furst, who spent 30 years among the Huichol people, says that Indian shamans have […]

Mich. Judge Bars Peyote Use for Boy

AP, Apr. 23, 2003 Wednesday April 23, 2003 7:49 AM WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (AP) – A 4-year-old boy must wait until he is physically and emotionally ready before he can ingest sacramental peyote at American Indian ceremonies, a family court judge said. In his 31-page decision Tuesday, Judge Graydon W. Dimkoff described peyote as […]

Judge weighs issues about father’s religious freedom, child’s health

AP, Mar. 21, 2003 By JAMES PRICHARD, The Associated Press WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (AP) — A judge who has been asked to allow a 4-year-old boy to receive peyote during American Indian spiritual ceremonies must consider the child’s health as well as the father’s religious rights. At a hearing that concluded Friday, Judge Graydon […]
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