Category: Peyote

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 the Utah County Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of the pair. David Lee Hamblin, a spokesman for the Benjamin-based church, contended Monday that the county attorney’s office violated federal acts that bar the government from passing laws that unduly burden the free exercise of religion,

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 counts of distribution of peyote. They said they used the drug only in American Indian religious services. The government allows limited use of peyote for ceremonies by members of federally recognized tribes. The tribe in which the Mooneys claimed membership, the Oklevueha Band of Yamassee

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 than other Navajos who did not regularly use peyote. A 1994 federal law allows roughly 300,000 members of the Native American Church to use peyote as a religious sacrament. The five-year study set out to find scientific proof for the Navajos’ belief that the substance,

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 official notice of the suit within the required 120-day limit. In addition, the judge noted that the plaintiffs had filed a motion to stop court proceedings in the lawsuit while a separate criminal prosecution related to their alleged peyote possession is pending, “which indicates that

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, Johnson searches the ground carefully. “This is good terrain for peyote,” he says. “There’s a low hill — the rain starts on top and goes down to water this — and there’s a lot of brown ground.” He stops, points the tip of his shovel

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 Native American Church to be used for approved ceremonies. Shirley said the legislation is a way to preserve the Navajo way of life, preserve the herb and preserve the Navajos as a people. Officials attending Friday’s signing and an all-night ceremony in a sacred teepee

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. But U.S. Magistrate Samuel Alba allowed Linda Mooney, 51, wife and co-defendant of James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney, to be released from jail pending the trial. The two were arrested Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted them on charges of illegal possession and distribution of

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 Peyote and peyote law The Mooneys and Nicholas Stark, of Ogden, were indicted June 15 by a grand jury. Those indictments were unsealed Thursday, according to a statement by Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City. Stark was not

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 Mooney’s legal troubles are not over. The latest swords to hang over him are a brewing federal criminal case and a bill that could change Utah’s drug law to forbid peyote use by non-American Indians. James and Linda Mooney remember the date — Oct. 10,

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 swallowing the buttons. Along with causing its user to become violently ill, peyote eventually results in a feeling of intense well-being and produces a number of other psychological effects, including hallucinations and richly colored visions. See Also James Mooney, Medicine Man In federal law, peyote