Establishment of Authority
Even though we believe in our inalienable rights as children of the Creator, we also recognize that we live in a world with different countries that have established their own laws that we choose to respect and uphold. In the United States of American the law (AIRFA, NAFERA, RFRA, and so forth) dictates what may be expressed as a Traditional Organization, Band, or Native American Tribe. These laws are the rules that we must follow and therefore have established the New Haven Native American Church within these rules.
The word 'Tribe' is a legal word used by the conquering US Government to legally describe those Native Americans that have treaties with the USA and were allowed to live on a 'reservation'. The Law of the Land is uses the word 'reservation' as a way to establish Government Trusts, Allotments, Hunting Rights, Living Area, and so forth. Under the Law the word 'Tribe' does not legally apply to the New Haven Native American Church so we do not use that legal word to describe our organization. Now the words of "Lodge" or "Band" are used more by the Native American People than the Conquering Government so we can easily apply these words to the New Haven Native American Church.
The Conquering Government rule allowed many people to conspire to deny the Native American’s their God given and civil liberties. The Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890 culminated the Conquering Governments “extermination” agenda and was the last directly sanctioned murder of the members of the Native American Religion. Because of this atrocity and the political opinion associated with it, the Conquering Government changed to a softer agenda that targeted the “cultural genocide” of the Native American by expanding the Native American reeducation boarding school program and that forcibly took Native American children from their families.
Because of these atrocities, the Native American Church went “underground” for almost three decades. In 1918 the Bureau of Indian Affairs petitioned congress to outlaw the Native American Religious Culture. Lucky, for the Native Americans and their religious beliefs, there was some wisdom by the people in the Senate and the bill was defeated. (Sadly however the battle for religious freedom is still ongoing.)
After the bill was defeated a group of inspired individuals decided to use the Conquering Governments legal system to try to protect the Native American Church. Because of the wisdom of our Ancestors, in 1918 the first legally established Native American Church was successfully recognized and established under the United States laws. This lead to other branches of the Native American Church being formed in the surrounding counties, including the Lakota Sioux Rosebud Reservation on July 26, 1924. Over the last century there have been more legal actions to further assist in establishing the rights of the Native American Church.
Under the law the Native American Church is a Traditional Organization. As a Traditional Organization its members and ministers still cannot take advantage of the Government Trusts, Allotments, Hunting Rights, Living Area, and so forth, but they can use other points in the law to practice their religion. Like most all religions, the Native American Church includes many individuals from all different ethnic backgrounds not just those comprised of government recognized tribes.
The New Haven Native American Church has a direct establishment of Authority from the Rosebud Native American Church. Our ministers therefore have both the Spiritual Authority and legal protection of being directly affiliated with the Native American Church. This protection is far greater than what can be obtained from a federally regulated Tribe.
Below is the line of authority of how the New Haven Native American Church and its Ministers received their authority to establish their branch of the Native American Church.
The Rosebud Native American Church legally established their authority with the government on July 26, 1924.
Federal Law states that a Native American Medicine Person, also known as a Native American Practitioner, or Traditional Spiritual Leader must be either an enrolled member of a Federally Recognized Tribe or Band, or he/she must be recognized as such by Tribes, Bands, or other Native American Traditional Organizations. Therefore because of the establishment of our authority, every single member of the New Haven Native American Church enjoys protection and recognition, not as Tribal Medicine People, such as Lakota or Yankton, but as New Haven Members, Medicine Men, Medicine Women, Ministers, Natural Practitioners, or so forth of the New Haven Native American Church.
Our Establishment of Authority, as stated above and proven in the links below, does not depend upon the will of every changing political faction within the Tribes, but upon the nature of the Native American Religion that once acknowledgment have been given it can never be taken away. This message was upheld by the United States Supreme Court when it delivered its verdict in Gonzales vs O Centro de Espirto Vegetal – that blood quanta and Tribal enrollment are incidental if the organization is recognized by Tribes, Bands, or Traditional Organizations. This is also the same ruling that the Supreme Court of the State of Utah delivered in Utah vs James W. Mooney, et. al. This is also the message that the United States Department of Land Management delivered when 800 acres of the Siskyou Wilderness was given to the Maca Oyate Sundance Society of the Nemenhah (essentially giving Federal recognition to another independent branch of the Native American Church).