American Indian Religious Freedom Act

Native American Justice  VIDEOS

“I was 4 years old when we were "allowed" to pray. So it wasn't that long ago. Imagine that! "Allowed" to pray in our way on our homelands." - Dawn Bjoraker, Sicangu Lakota Oyate, Burnt Thigh Nation

On August 11, 1978 the Carter administration passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act which returned to the Indigenous communities of the USA, the right to their cultural and spiritual practices. And, in theory at least, access to their sacred sites.

"And yet today, our sacred sites and places of worship are being targeted by the extractive industries."

That their First Amendment rights had been taken away at all was bad enough: one of the most hypocritical acts of American colonialism. That they had lost access to many of their sacred sites was the most egregious misuse of the eminent domain doctrine. Unsurprising given the history is that the return of these rights was instantly challenged by states and continues to this today.

"I was 4 years old then. I'm now 47 and still fighting to pray."

Acknowledgement of these small steps forward, by celebrating this day for instance, is important, but let’s make no mistake, the crimes and insults against the Indigenous population of this continent have far to go to be 

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