Ayahuasca Healings Church – How Are We Legal?

 

How are we legal? How can you experience Ayahuasca legally in America?

The answer isn’t very straightforward.

There are hundreds of pages of legal documentation for you to read and understand, and without having a law background, it’s really easy to get confused with this.

But it’s my job to make everything as clear as I can for you. To bridge the world, between the legal verbiage and history, and to what you all care about most: are you safe in experiencing Ayahuasca with us at our Ayahuasca Healings Church in America?

The simple answer is yes. Absolutely.

We have 100% legal rights to use the sacred sacraments of Ayahuasca, Peyote, San Pedro – any plant that grows from the earth – inside of America, according to the laws of the land.

Anybody who is a member of our church, and our mother church, the Oklevueha Native American Church, has complete, 100% unquestionable legality to sit with this plant medicine and great teacher spirit of Mother Ayahuasca, and any other plant sacraments that grow from the earth.

Trying to control the use of such medicines and plants is like trying to stop you from picking flowers. The fact is, these plants grow from the earth, and according to the Native Americans, “anything that grows from the earth is sacred, and here for our learning and use.”

In order answer the question, “How is this legal?”, I need to take you through a series of questions for you to understand the basis of HOW and WHY this plant medicine is legal to you.

First of all, read my letter here, which gives honor & credence to those who have walked before us, and my teachers, for only because of them, is this possible.

Now, the first question to ask is…

1. What laws protect the Native American Church and its members?

This is the core foundation of how ANY of this is possible, or legal.

There are two bills that were passed by US Congress, to protect the Religious Freedom of the Native Americans.

They are:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

Which is a 1993 United States federal law that “ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected.”[1]

What is religious freedom?

In simple terms, Religious Freedom is the right that we all have to practice our own religion, whatever we personally define that to be, as long as we are not infringing on another person’s rights or safety.

As quoted by the American Civil Liberties Union in their article “Your Right To Religious Freedom”:

“WHAT IS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EXACTLY?

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that everyone in the United States has the right to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all.

Our country’s founders — who were of different religious backgrounds themselves — knew the best way to protect religious liberty was to keep the government out of religion. So they created the First Amendment — to guarantee the separation of church and state. This fundamental freedom is a major reason why the U.S. has managed to avoid a lot of the religious conflicts that have torn so many other nations apart.”

The second law that protects the Native American Church is:

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA)

This is a United States federal law, passed by the US Congress in 1978.

It was enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians.[2]

These rights include, but are not limited to, access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights, and the use and possession of objects considered sacred.

The Act requires any governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native American religion.

That means, particularly pertaining to us, the government cannot interfere with our Native American Ceremonies with our sacraments & sacred plant teachers such as Ayahuasca, Peyote, San Pedro etc.

A primary reason that this Act was created is because the US Government continued to deny Native Americans their First Amendment right of “free exercise” of religion.[3][4]

So this Act was created to add further protection to Native Americans and the free exercise of their religion.

As President Jimmy Carter said, in a statement about the AIRFA:

“In the past, Government agencies and departments have on occasion denied Native Americans access to particular sites and interfered with religious practices and customs where such use conflicted with Federal regulations.”

In many instances, the Federal officials responsible for the enforcement of these regulations were unaware of the nature of traditional native religious practices and, consequently, of the degree to which their agencies interfered with such practices. This legislation seeks to remedy this situation.[5]

So the bottom line is:

There are 2 federally recognized laws (The RFRA and the AIRFA) that protect and allow the Native American Church to exercise their religion, without any interference from the government, and to continue to hold sacred ceremonies with these sacraments & plants that the Native Americans have honored and worshiped as sacred teachers, for thousands of years.

Now, that leads us to our second question:

2. What proof does James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney have that he has a bona fide Native American Church?

Fortunately, this is a lot easier to answer.

All we need to do is look at the lineage of authority that has been passed down to James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney, the Elder Medicine Man of the Oklevueha Native American Church.

This page demonstrates James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney’s Native American genealogy & proof of his ancestry.

Fortunately, we have personally received James’ blessing  to create an Independent Native American Church, and therefor, receive all the legal protection that any Native American Church has the right to, as explained above. (More on this below)

So how can we know that James has this authority?

Here are the facts:

  • The Rosebud Native American Church legally established their authority with the government to be a federally recognized Native American Church on July 26, 1924.
  • On August 19, 2007 the authority and rights of the Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church of Utah, Utah Inc by Leslie Fool Bull was verified and sustained by Richard ‘He Who Has The Foundation’ Swallow the following President of the Native American Church, Rosebud Reservation of South Dakota and Oglala Sioux Chief of the Eagle Clan.

Stating, “I verify and sustain James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney to be the Chief Executive Officer of Oklevueha Native American Church for the remainder of his life.”

Which answers the question, how do we know that James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney has a bona fide Native American Church?

And most importantly, gives us the reassurance that any blessing that James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney gives us, as the Ayahuasca Healings Church, is rooted in the legal protection that the Mother Church – that is, a legitimate Native American Church – has the rights to.

Now that we can verify James has an official Native American Church, that means everything that we answered in the first question above, all of that legal protection, is applicable to James, and all members of the Oklevueha Native American Church, and most importantly, you and I.

3. How can you ensure our legal protection?

Back in 2004, James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney was serving Peyote in religious Native American Ceremonies off of federally recognized Native American Reservations.

He was helping heroin, cocaine & drug addicts get clean; he was helping alcoholics get sober; he was providing a half-way house for people from prison, to help them re-integrate back into society, get jobs, and get back on their feet; he was providing a home and shelter to homeless women, children & families who were in need.

He was helping transform hundreds, thousands of lives, using this sacrament of Peyote. And you know what happened?

He was charged by the state of Utah with a felony offence being accused as “the largest drug dealer in Utah” and he and his wife were arrested, with several life sentences each.

All he was doing was practicing his Religious Freedom, and based on the laws mentioned above (the RFRA and the AIRFA), he should have the right of “free exercise” to practice his religion.

So, of course, he battled this accusation and court case, and took it all the way to the Utah Supreme Court.

According to a conversation with James, the Government spent over 35 million dollars in tax payers’ money to “take him down” because the fact is, regardless of these laws, the government, and many other parties who simply want control and power, do NOT want these sacred ceremonies taking place (more on this later).

As this court case was brought to the Supreme Court of Utah, looking at the RFRA and the AIRFA, of course he should be allowed to practice his religion and hold these religious ceremonies.

So on Jun 22, 2004, the Supreme Court of Utah ruled a unanimous decision in James’ favor, and the Oklevueha Native American Church won this court case.

A unanimous decision means that every single person who had the authority to rule in James’ favor, or against him, voted for James & the Oklevueha Native American Church (which is extremely rare in court cases).

Quoted from the official court ruling:

“On its face, the federal regulation does not restrict the exemption to members of federally recognized tribes. We therefore rule that the exemption is available to all members of the Native American Church” [6]

The bottom line is: the Supreme Court said that although Peyote is a controlled substance, all members of the Native American Church are protected by the AIRFA, which means, we may continue to have religious ceremonies with Peyote, or other sacraments (which is defined in our Native American Church, as anything that grows from the earth) without putting ourselves in any harm’s way of criminal accusation or prosecution.

In other words, anybody who is a part of the Native American Church, may continue to sit in these sacred Native American Ceremonies, legally.

4. Does the Ayahuasca Healings Church have the same legal protection
as the Oklevueha Native American Church?

Absolutely, 100%.

Through the public Blessing that James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney has given us as the ONAC – Ayahuasca Healings Church, on Dec 10, 2015:

This blessing passes on any legal protection that the Oklevueha Native American Church has to our Ayahuasca Healing Church, and all of our members. That means all of our members have the exact same legal rights and legal protection of the Oklevueha Native American Church. You can view our Official Declaration by clicking here.

Additionally, as quoted in Bullet C of the Declaration from James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney:
(Which, as James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney states at 42:33 in the Blessing above, we will receive in the mail most likely within a week. We will upload this Declaration as soon as we receive it)

This Declaration from James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney states:

“As an American Native Indigenous ‘earth’ based ‘healing’ religion that is known as Oklevueha Native American Church (Native American Church and / or NAC) I, James Warren “Flaming Eagle” Mooney, solemnly swear and declare Ayahuasca Healings Church will receive all rights and protections that the spiritual and incorporated trunk of Oklevueha Native American Church receives. Federal ID Number: 841-402-813”

That means, whether you’re a part of the ONAC – Ayahuasca Healings Church, or the Oklevueha Native American Mother Church, the identical legal protection applies to you, so you are completely safe to sit in any of our Native American Ceremonies, at our Ayahuasca Retreats in America.

5. Are there other Churches who are legally holding Ayahuasca Ceremonies in America?

Yes, there are.

We have previously claimed to be the first public, legal Ayahuasca Church in America.

Keyword: “Public”.

We made this claim because we are the first ones who are using the internet to make information about our Church activities public and available to the masses. No other Ayahuasca Churches in America have done this before.

I emphasize, we are not saying we are the first legal Ayahuasca Church. There have been others before us, and we are so grateful for them paving the path.

There have been several other churches that have been holding sacred ceremonies with these sacraments throughout America for decades. Ever since the early 1990s actually.

However, they have been very underground, very private, and very difficult to get into. Usually, you need to receive a private invitation from somebody who is already a part of the church. That was the only way information about these ceremonies was passed on, and rightfully so, protected.

The other churches are:

  • The Peyote Way Church in Texas (who works with the sacrament of Peyote)
  • The Santo Daime Church of Brazil, located in Oregon (who works with the sacrament of Ayahuasca)
  • The União do Vegetal (UDV) Church of Brazil, located in New Mexico (who also works with the sacrament of Ayahuasca).

Because of the privacy that these churches like to uphold, there is very little information on how to join their ceremonies online, or made available to the general public.

And here is something very important about the UDV:

On November 22, 2000, the UDV filed a lawsuit against certain agencies of the federal government for violations of the First Amendment to the US Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

This was brought on because government officials previously raided the Church, and seized several gallons of the sacramental Ayahuasca tea.

On February 21, 2006 the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision affirming Religious Liberty in the case of Gonzales vs. O Centro Espirita Beneficente União do Vegetal.

That means, not only did James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney and The Oklevueha Native American Church face the Supreme Court and win, but so did Jeffrey Bronfman and the UDV, both winning their respective court cases unanimously and unquestionably.

This sets a legal precedent, for everything that we are doing, and the bottom line is, there is no question if what we are doing is legal or not.

You and I are unquestionably protected with our Ayahuasca Healings Church, and our Mother Church, The Oklehueva Native American Church.

Nobody has ever been arrested inside of the Oklevueha Native American Church for sharing the sacramental tea of Ayahuasca.

I believe in this so strongly, I am willing to put my entire life, my reputation, my name, and everything I am about, on the line, to stand up for this.

To stand up for OUR Religious Freedom, and our right to sit with this life-changing tea, sacrament, and Spirit, of Mother Ayahuasca, and any other plant medicines for that matter.

To bring healing to our hearts, one by one, and ultimately, healing to the heart of the world.

This is why we have created our Church, and are publicly, openly, honestly, sharing our mission, our vision & philosophy, and passionately doing everything we can to bring this medicine, this healing, and this depth of spiritual opening, available to anybody and everybody who needs it.

6. Why would people still say this is not legal?

Two reasons:

1) Prior to the ONAC – Ayahuasca Healings Church receiving it’s Blessing from James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney and the Okleveuha NAC on Dec 10, 2015, there was a political misunderstanding in our legal status.

We were initially under the impression that we had full legal protection under the New Haven Native American Church, previously known as the Oklevueha Native American Church of Missouri. For months prior, we had been in communication with the NHNAC Chief and President, Paul ‘Man Found Standing’ Dean. We followed all of his guidance, and received the full declaration and protection of his Independent branch of the Native American Church, which had also received the same blessing from the Oklevueha Native American Mother Church.

However, in the beginning of December 2015, we found out there was a political dispute between Oklevueha NAC and New Haven NAC. As a result, we immediately made contact and were advised by James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney that we would have the strongest possible legal protection if we followed his guidance, to re-organize our public image to come into total compliance with the Oklevueha NAC Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct, and in doing so, earned James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney’s respect and the full blessing from the Oklevueha Native American Mother Church.

This unfolding of events was a huge gift, and eventually led to this beautiful partnership between Oklevueha NAC and our Ayahuasca Healings Church. We now have the full blessing, support, recognition, and legal and energetic backing of James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney, the Oklevueha Native American Mother Church and their Council of Elders.

Any statements made about our legality by ONAC, or James ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney, prior to Dec 10, 2015, have been recalled when we received our blessing.

2) The second reason people will still say this isn’t legal is because:

People don’t want this happening. It’s simple.

Our world is just starting to really be ready for this depth and level of Spiritual Awakening for the masses.

But there are so many people, organizations, and energies that are out there that want the world to stay asleep. Stay stuck in the system, stay stuck in the same daily grind, the Monday to Friday work trap, and the same repetitive unfulfilled day again and again…

So many energies are in the world that feed off of the suffering and misery of our humanity.

That is why we need this NOW.

In creating this public, legal Ayahuasca Healings Church, it’s absolutely mind-blowing to me, to see how many people judge, point fingers, criticize, and direct anger towards what we are doing.

It’s out there, and no matter what we do or say, some people will continue to have negative energy about this.

And I give them nothing but love. I truly believe this has more to do with them, than it has to do with us. People can be angry, and I send nothing but love to them. It is that demonstration of negativity that shows where we are in our collective consciousness. It really emphasizes and puts an exclamation mark on the dire and urgent need we have for this medicine.

Even in “spiritual communities” where the whole premise of what it means to be “spiritual” is to be loving, kind, compassionate, non-judgemental, and embody the virtues that we all know in our hearts are the most important.

You know what they are.

But no matter what you do, if you’re speaking your truth, just like we are, people will be bothered. People will try to stop what we’re doing. We know that. People will take their time to write extensive articles on why this is not legal, and why you shouldn’t trust us, etc.

We’re not here to convince you of anything.

We’re not here to tell you what to believe.

We’re simply here to lay out all the facts, just like I did on this page, share our heart & intention, and let you decide what to do for yourself.

For centuries, different government & religious bodies, as well as billion dollar corporations, have tried to stop the Native Americans from holding their Ceremonies.

Thousands of lives have been lost, and countless drops of blood have been shed in this religious-political struggle for power and money.

Other churches don’t want this happening. The Christian Church has done everything in their power to outlaw and put a stop to what the Native Americans have been doing for thousands of years. They call our Ceremonies “sacrilegious” because instead of talking about God, we create a space where you can connect and commune with the Creator yourself.

The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want this. Billions of dollars are stuffed into the pockets of large pharmaceutical corporations, who rely on people being SICK to be paid.

The government doesn’t want this. I can tell you story after story about the disgusting slaughter that’s been brought to the heads of Native Americans to extinguish their culture and traditions. You may not know the details, but I’m sure you’re aware: thousands of Native Americans have been killed for their land, and for practicing their religious beliefs.

The fact is, there are energies that are out there that don’t want this happening, and these energies will convince some of us to be against this, for whatever reason you can imagine.

Again, believe what you want to believe.

These are the facts, and I simply ask you to think for yourself.

Or better yet, FEEL for yourself. Don’t let other people tell you what to believe.

Trust yourself. First and foremost.

Listen to your heart, and whatever that says, I support you to follow that. Unconditionally.

Even if it goes against the “societal expectations” that people have for you. The expectations your parents and friends have for you. All the things that are in the world that tell you what you “should” do, and who you “should” be…

Throw all of it away.

And listen to your heart.

If that is difficult for you, and you want to get more clarity on your purpose, on your path, on exactly what your heart & soul are calling of you, then maybe our Ayahuasca retreats are for you. Maybe not. Only you can know.

Thank you for your time, and for reading these words.

And most importantly, thank you, for following your heart, following the call to Mother Ayahuasca, and asking the questions… that led you to this page.

With so much love!

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.

To all our relations.

The Ayahuasca Healings Family

 

 

References:

[1] http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf

[2] http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00001996—-000-.html

[3] skc.edu. “skc.edu on the AIRFA”. Archived from the original on April 30, 2006. Retrieved August 1, 2006

[4] doe.gov. “DOE on the AIRFA”. Archived from the original on September 28, 2006. Retrieved July 29, 2006.

[5] presidency.ucsb.edu. “President Carter on the AIRFA”. Retrieved August 1, 2006.

[6] http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ut-supreme-court/1082812.html