Category: Peyote

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 black pickup truck parked on Main Street. Mooney was celebrating a huge legal win in June when the state Supreme Court ruled he could legally use peyote as part of his religious ceremonies. A federal exemption that allows use of the hallucinogenic drug in religious

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 protected by law. Utah County charged him as a drug dealer, but Mooney won. James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney’s Oklevueha Earthwalk’s Native American Church has few members today. But they held a sacred pipe ceremony in front of the federal courthouse. They smoked legal herbs to

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 his wife, Linda. But federal prosecutors are now going after the couple. Prosecutors may challenge James Mooney’s assertion that he is part American Indian. In an Aug. 20 letter sent to Mooney, founder of the Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church, U.S. Attorney Paul Warner said

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 cause hallucinations when eaten, is considered a sacrament and a deity in American Indian religion, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was designed to make a legal exemption for its use in religious ceremonies by Indians who are members of tribes. But a unanimous

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, said after the charge against him was dismissed Thursday. “But I think there could have been more courtesy in how things were handled. “ Hamblin was charged in 2000 with one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Federal law allows

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 with a dozen first-degree felony counts after police seized 12,000 peyote buttons during an October 2000 raid. The Mooneys and other church members legally can use the hallucinogenic cactuses under a federal exemption passed in 1970 that is incorporated into Utah law, the high court

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 been using hallucinogenic plants as a doorway to the divine for thousands of years, likely following a tradition carried by their ancestors over the Bering Strait. And now, some U.S. scientists are exploring how these substances might be used by doctors to battle anxiety, mental

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 “dangerous” and prohibited the boy from ingesting the peyote as a minor until he is fully aware of the implications and has permission from both parents. The boy’s father, Jonathan Fowler, 36, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, had

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 W. Dimkoff of Newaygo County Family Court said he would issue a ruling within 28 days. Jonathan Fowler, 36, of Traverse City, attends an American Indian church in the northern Lower Peninsula where peyote, which contains mescaline — a hallucinogen — is ingested as a

American Indian sues to allow peyote for

AP, Dec. 28, 2002 By James Prichard, The Associated Press WHITE CLOUD, Mich. – Jon Fowler wants his 4-year-old son to have the right to take peyote with him. It’s a matter of religious freedom, he says. A member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Jon Fowler belongs to the Native American Church of the Morning Star, where the hallucinogen is taken as a sacrament. Fowler wants his son to join him in the rite, if the boy wishes. But a judge may bar Fowler’s son from doing so, in a case that pits the