Religious Freedom

Ratified on December 15, 1791, the amendment reads, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof … at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890 Native Americans were slaughtered for conducting a relgious ceremony known as The Ghost Dance, among such “Banned by Law” religious rights were the Sun Dance, Sweat Lodge, ceremonial use of the eagle feather and peyote. Many Natives had to pray and hold their ceremonies in great secretcy and still do. It was not until August 11, 1978, that Congress passed the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act. Many Native American Nations abroad now fight to preserve their ceremonies and beliefs from exploitation by banning photographs, “outsider” attendance and some are seeking congressional movement towards laws illegalizing Non-Native practices and teachings of sacred ceremonies such as the Sun Dance and Sweat Lodge.

Leave a Reply