Native American Church essay


NativeAmerican Church


The Native AmericanChurch, which began emerging among the Indian nations in Oklahomaaround the nineteenth century, is among the greatest Pan-Indianmovements in the past two centuries. The federal policy aimed atconverting all the Native Americans to Christianity and therefore thespiritual movement targeted at achieving the same. Additionally,Native Americans were also oppressed in regards to the use of thepeyote as a sacrament. Despite the fact that the exact origin of theNAC is not clear, most native believers maintain that it started inthe southwest and spread its way up from Mexico where it was readilyaccepted by the Omahas, Winnebagos, Sioux and the Plains Indians(White, 2000).

Among the majorrituals of the NAC is the all-night ceremony that takes place in alodge or a tipi. During the ceremony, a sacred fire is lit near analtar mound of earth, and a grandfather peyote button must bepresent. Besides singing peyote songs, prayers are offered, cedar isburnt, tobacco is smoked and peyote is ingested. Although most NativeAmerica Church practices are in today’s Christianity, NativeAmericans differ since they believe Christians go to church and talkabout God, while the got to church to speak toGod.

Because some people view the as ahindrance to civilization, the Indian Religious Act of 1978 wasenacted to provide protection for the NAC including its use of thepeyote. Regardless of being accepted by some people, missionaries andthe governments are against the existence of the NAC (White, 2000).Some people believe that the peyote is a dangerous and addictive drugand therefore argue that it should not be part of church practices.Even though Americans have the freedom to enjoy whichever religionthey wish, the law does not offer any provisions regarding theceremonies and the sacraments.


White, P. M. (2000). Peyotism and the Native American church: Anannotated bibliography. Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press.