Peyote Essay, Research Paper


A Native Americans Way of Life

The Native American tribes of Mexico and North America have used peyote in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. Peyote in an Indians eye is a healing drug, a medicine . North Americans might say it s a hallucinogenic drug and that it is very dangerous to one s health. In the United States of America we have freedom of religion. That would be unconstitutional to prohibit the use of peyote to Indian tribes. The use of peyote in Native American religious ceremonies is an inherent right of Native American Tribes.

Spanish Conquistadors were the first founders of peyote in the sixteenth century as they were discovering the New World. They hoped to find gold and glory. (James) The Spaniard thought peyote formed the first American drug problem . They called the use of peyote peyotism . They thought of peyote as the Devils root , (Mendelson, Mello) and put it in the same category as witchcraft and cannibalism. They started anti- drug laws against peyote and wanted to end the Indians use of it. (James) Spaniards tortured and killed many Indians for the usage of peyote and forced them to keep their religious ceremonies in secret. Indians were not allowed to fish, they were removed from their own lands, and they were not allowed to use Peyote. Peyote was in fact kept a secret until the twentieth century. (Mello)

Lives on the reservations were horrible. Low food supply, bad drinking water, and poor living conditions encouraged new forms of spiritual life for the Natives. In the south the Comanche s turned to peyote. They only used it occasionally as a vacation from reality. After eighteen seventy-five they only used it for religious purposes. In the eighteen eighties peyote spread through North America. (Carlon) In nineteen eighteen the Native American Church was formed. It is an intertribal religion that includes 250,000 members. Today more that eighty chapters of the church have formed and it has more than seventy different tribes involved. (Mims) They believe that God created peyote for the Indians to show each other the way of life . (Life Time, 119.)

Native American Church was formed to teach brotherly love , high moral principles, and abstinence from alcohol. The Native American Church and its sub-groups are the most well known groups for the peyote religion. Before the nineteen hundreds peyote was more commonly known to the areas of its natural growth, the Chihuahuan Desert. The Tarahumara and Huicol peoples are most popularly known for its peyote use. They live near where peyote is native. (Peyote.Net FAQ) To join the Native American Church, or other sub-groups, you have to registrar. In some different states laws vary. In nineteen ninety-six The Peyote Foundation was formed. The reason this foundation was formed is because non- Indian, sacramental uses of peyote was caught with several hundred peyote cactuses. The Peyote Foundation is to conserve the peyote and use it properly as in their ritual back round. Services The Peyote Foundation will provide are, number one, education. You ll learn information concerning peyote and the religion behind the cactus. Another service is conservation, you protect peyote and it grows on. Inspiration is another. You love the religion, and respect peyote. You are allowed to apply to a variety of Churches that all basically practice the same thing. ( FAQ.)

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