National Council of Native American Churches Speak Out Against Illegitimate Organizations
On Friday, February 12, 2016, official representatives of the National Council of Native American Churches met in Laredo, Texas, to discuss among other business matters the proliferation of organizations appropriating the “Native American Church” name, despite the fact that these appropriators have absolutely no ties to the indigenous worship of the holy sacrament Peyote.
The National Council consists of legitimate, indigenous member organizations that include the Native American Church of North America, the Azzee’ Bee Nahaga of Dine’ Nation, the Native American Church of the State of Oklahoma, the Native American Church of the State of South Dakota, and invited leaders of the Consejo Regional Wixarika of Mexico.
On February 13th, the member organizations of the National Council signed a statement to make it publicly known that they do not condone the activities of these illegitimate organizations. Some of these organizations, comprised of non-Native people, are now claiming that marijuana, ayahuasca, and other substances are part of Native American Church theology and practice. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only plant that serves as a sacrament is Peyote, and without Peyote, indigenous Native American Church ceremonies cannot take place. We reject and condemn any claim by these illegitimate organizations that marijuana or any other plant serves or has ever served as a sacrament in indigenous Native American Church ceremonies.
For over 30 years, the Native American Rights Fund has represented the Native American Church of North America and in that capacity has worked with the other member organizations of the National Council.