American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978

American Indian Religious Freedom Act

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469 (Aug. 11, 1978) (commonly abbreviated to AIRFA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1996, is a United States federal law, enacted by joint resolution of the Congress in 1978. It was enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American IndiansEskimosAleuts, and Native Hawaiians. These rights include, but are not limited to, access of sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights and use and possession of objects considered sacred.

The Act required policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native American religion, based on the First Amendment, and to accommodate access to and use of religious sites to the extent that the use is practicable and is not inconsistent with an agency’s essential functions. It also acknowledges the prior violation of that right.

Passage

Due to the complex nature of American Indian religious beliefs, American Indian religions have often been at odds with existing federal laws and government policies. There have been three general areas of conflict. Firstly, American Indians did not have access to a number of sacred places that were used in religious ceremonies. Native American religious practices often came into conflict with the idea that American public lands exist for the use and benefit of the American people. The results of the passage of the Indian Removal Act and the General Allotment Act were the displacement of hundreds of tribes, including the Five Civilized Tribes of the southeastern United States, and the forced assimilation of Native American families into agricultural settler societies.

The second conflict was the possession of ceremonial items that are restricted by United States Law, such as eagle feathers or bones (a protected species) or peyote. The conflict lies in the fact that items such as peyote are integral parts of ceremonies practiced by members of churches such as the Native American Church. The use of eagle bones in ceremony has been brought up in any case involving Indian claims on hunting and fishing rights allowed for tribal member to hunt for eagles.

The third general area of conflict was an issue of interference. Sacred ceremonies were sometimes subject to interference from overzealous officials or curious onlookers.

The act itself was more a policy statement, and it acknowledged prior infringement on the right of freedom of religion for American Indians by denying them their First Amendment right of “free exercise” of religion. President Jimmy Carter said, in a statement about the AIRFA, a very similar thing:

In the past, Government agencies and departments have on occasion denied Native Americans access to particular sites and interfered with religious practices and customs where such use conflicted with Federal regulations. In many instances, the Federal officials responsible for the enforcement of these regulations were unaware of the nature of traditional native religious practices and, consequently, of the degree to which their agencies interfered with such practices.

This legislation seeks to remedy this situation.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Religious_Freedom_Act

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Obama Proclaims Río Grande del Norte a National Monument, Significant Site for Natives

3/26/13 indiancountrytodaymedianetwork

Yesterday, March 25, by proclamation, President Obama established Río Grande del Norte as a National Monument. The announcement of a national monument designation has come in response to considerable input from the community including local businesses, sportsmen, elected officials, Latino organizations, Native American tribes and nearly the entire New Mexico congressional delegation.

The Río Grande del Norte National Monument will boost economic growth in northern New Mexico while permanently protecting the heritage,  water and approximately 240,000 acres of natural areas and wildlife habitat in the region.

Hispano leaders and organizations, small business owners and the Taos and Mora Valley Chambers of Commerce, sportsmen and ranchers, Native American Pueblos and elected officials, and conservation organizations have come together to thank President Obama for protecting Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

“I applaud President Obama protecting Rio Grande del Norte National Monument because many of the wildlife species that live in that corridor come in and out of this area.  Left unprotected, there may be very few animals available that the Native American people of Taos Pueblo depend on for food, clothing and shelter,” says Benito Sandoval, Taos Pueblo War Chief.

For more: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/03/26/obama-proclaims-rio-grande-del-norte-national-monument-significant-site-natives-148361

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Securing Indigenous Rights to Sacred Places With the UN Declaration

5/16/12 Karla E. General – indiancountrytodaymedianetwork

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples presents a new opportunity and a new kind of legal authority that could help Native peoples to secure rights to sacred places, and to preserve and protect cultural, religious, and spiritual practices.

The Declaration recognizes and affirms the rights of indigenous peoples to their cultural, religious, and spiritual practices, to have private access to sacred sites (Arts. 12(1), 11(1)), as well as to maintain and strengthen their spiritual relationship with their traditionally held lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources (Art. 25). With the Declaration, Native peoples have rights acknowledged by the international community of nations, including rights to sacred places both within existing reservation or territorial boundaries and beyond.

As rights-holders, Native nations and individuals have the right to cultural, religious, and spiritual practices. As duty-bearer, the U.S. has the responsibility to prevent infringement of these rights.

For more:  http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/05/16/securing-indigenous-rights-sacred-places-un-declaration
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List of Native American Tribe Websites A-Z

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US Govt & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-201(ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

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18 thoughts on “American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978

  1. WH

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama vacations in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:45 PM
    President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Latest Political Developments in Iraq
    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

    5:00 PM
    5:55 PM
    President Obama attends a DSCC
    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. American Indian Religious Freedom Act

    Aug 11, 1978 – American Indian Religious Freedom Act Public Law No. 95-341, 92  Stat. 469, enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians,EskimosAleuts, and Native Hawai’ians

    These rights include, but are not limited to, access of sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights and use and possession of objects considered sacred.

    For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Religious_Freedom_Act

    • Obama Proclaims Río Grande del Norte a National Monument, Significant Site for Natives

      3/26/13 indiancountrytodaymedianetwork
      Yesterday, March 25, by proclamation, President Obama established Río Grande del Norte as a National Monument. The announcement of a national monument designation has come in response to considerable input from the community including local businesses, sportsmen, elected officials, Latino organizations, Native American tribes and nearly the entire New Mexico congressional delegation.

      The Río Grande del Norte National Monument will boost economic growth in northern New Mexico while permanently protecting the heritage, water and approximately 240,000 acres of natural areas and wildlife habitat in the region.

      Hispano leaders and organizations, small business owners and the Taos and Mora Valley Chambers of Commerce, sportsmen and ranchers, Native American Pueblos and elected officials, and conservation organizations have come together to thank President Obama for protecting Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

      “I applaud President Obama protecting Rio Grande del Norte National Monument because many of the wildlife species that live in that corridor come in and out of this area. Left unprotected, there may be very few animals available that the Native American people of Taos Pueblo depend on for food, clothing and shelter,” says Benito Sandoval, Taos Pueblo War Chief.

      For more: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/03/26/obama-proclaims-rio-grande-del-norte-national-monument-significant-site-natives-148361

    • Securing Indigenous Rights to Sacred Places With the UN Declaration

      5/16/12 Karla E. General – indiancountrytodaymedianetwork
      The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples presents a new opportunity and a new kind of legal authority that could help Native peoples to secure rights to sacred places, and to preserve and protect cultural, religious, and spiritual practices.

      The Declaration recognizes and affirms the rights of indigenous peoples to their cultural, religious, and spiritual practices, to have private access to sacred sites (Arts. 12(1), 11(1)), as well as to maintain and strengthen their spiritual relationship with their traditionally held lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources (Art. 25). With the Declaration, Native peoples have rights acknowledged by the international community of nations, including rights to sacred places both within existing reservation or territorial boundaries and beyond.

      As rights-holders, Native nations and individuals have the right to cultural, religious, and spiritual practices. As duty-bearer, the U.S. has the responsibility to prevent infringement of these rights.

      For more: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/05/16/securing-indigenous-rights-sacred-places-un-declaration

  3. Job Market Tilts Toward Workers as U.S. Enters Virtuous Cycle

    Aug 10, 2014 4:01 PM PT By Rich Miller and Victoria Stilwell – bloomberg

    The balance of power in the job market is shifting slowly toward employees from employers.

    Bob Funk sees it firsthand from his position as chief executive officer of staffing agency Express Employment Professionals.

    “We’re short of people in a number of cities,” he said.

    So he’s changing the focus of his $2.5 billion, Oklahoma City-based business. Instead of concentrating on finding jobs for those who want them, Express Employment is putting more effort into finding workers for companies that need them.

    “We’re back in the recruiting market again,” Funk said.

    The 74-year-old industry veteran isn’t the only one to notice the change. Americans who have been hunting for employment for more than six months are finding they’re having better luck landing a job, while people who had given up looking are returning to the labor force to resume their search.

    Companies, meanwhile, are beefing up their in-house recruiting teams and increasingly using complicated computer algorithms to scour the Web for prospective job candidates.

    This is all good news for the economy, according to Nariman Behravesh, the Lexington, Massachusetts-based chief economist for IHS Inc. He said the U.S. has entered a “virtuous cycle” where job gains are leading to increased household expenditures, encouraging employers to hire more workers. Consumer spending rose in June by the most in three months, according to Commerce Department data published Aug. 1.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-10/job-market-tilts-toward-workers-as-u-s-enters-virtuous-cycle.html

  4. Retired generals back FLOTUS in food fight

    By HELENA BOTTEMILLER EVICH | 8/11/14 1:58 PM EDT

    First lady Michelle Obama has an unexpected force backing her up in the simmering fight over school lunch standards: retired admirals and generals.

    Mission: Readiness, a group of nearly 500 former military leaders, is planning to “storm the Hill” when Congress comes back to town next month and urge lawmakers to keep new school nutrition standards intact.

    “We’re not going to retreat our way out of the problem,” said Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, who served in the Air Force for 35 years and is now a vocal advocate for the group.

    Formed in 2008, Mission: Readiness aims to ensure kids are healthy and educated enough to serve in the military — or just be productive civilians. For the top military brass, the obesity epidemic is increasingly seen as a threat to national security.

    About 75 percent of young adults are not eligible to serve in the military because of obesity, lack of education and/or criminal records, according to Defense Department data cited by the retired military leaders.

    The organization strongly backed the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, a bipartisan law that overhauled the National School Lunch Program and set new health standards for all food sold in schools. Now, the admirals and generals are gearing up for a back-to-school campaign to ensure that Congress doesn’t weaken the standards this school year — or in 2015, when the law is set to be reauthorized.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/michelle-obama-school-lunch-fight-109914.html?hp=l7

  5. August 11, 2014

    Statement by the President on Iraq

    Martha’s Vineyard, MA

    5:08 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I wanted to provide an update on recent developments in Iraq, including some important steps forward as Iraqis form a new government.

    Over the past few days, American forces have successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil, and to protect American civilians there. Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend their city, and we’ve stepped up military advice and assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the fight against ISIL.

    At the same time, we’ve continued our daily humanitarian efforts to provide life-saving assistance to the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar, and deployed a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team to help. Some have begun to escape their perch on that mountain, and we’re working with international partners to develop options to bring them to safety. I want to thank in particular the United Kingdom, France, and other countries working with us to provide much needed assistance to the Iraqi people. And, meanwhile, our aircraft remain positioned to strike any terrorist forces around the mountain who threaten the safety of these families.

    This advances the limited military objectives we’ve outlined in Iraq: protecting American citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle these terrorists, and joining with international partners to provide humanitarian aid. But as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government — one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against ISIL.

    Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort. Last month, the Iraqi people named a new President. Today, President Masum named a new Prime Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi. Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government that can unite Iraq’s different communities.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/11/statement-president-iraq

  6. August 11, 2014

    Remarks by the President at a DSCC Event — Tisbury, MA

    Private Residence
    Tisbury, Massachusetts

    6:05 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Well, first of all, can we all thank Roger and Linda for this unbelievable setting? (Applause.) This is absolutely gorgeous. And I understand that we also have some outstanding young musicians from the Berklee school. So let’s give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) Thank you very much.

    Two other hotshots we got here. First of all, those of you from Massachusetts, your own Ed Markey. Thank you for the outstanding work that you do every single day. (Applause.) And Michael Bennet, one of the finest public servants we have out of Colorado, also has the challenging but fulfilling tasking of heading up — (laughter) — or enormously gratifying task up heading up the DSCC. Please give Michael a big round of applause. (Applause.)

    So I’ve got a lot of old friends here, in addition to Linda and Roger, so I’m not going to give a long speech at the front end. On a day like today, in a setting like this, I think a conversation works better. I’ll just make a couple of points.

    First of all, it’s really wonderful to be at Martha’s Vineyard, especially when the weather is this good. And Michelle and the girls are having a wonderful time. And we were hanging out with some seals this afternoon who came by and said hello. I found, as somebody from Hawaii, the water is still a little cold. (Laughter.) But it couldn’t have been nicer.

    Obviously, we are at a very challenging time. When I first came into office, the big challenges were economic. And we were still in the midst of two wars, but we also had an immediate crisis where the financial system had melted down and that it affected Main Street in all sorts of ways. People were losing homes, losing jobs. It wasn’t clear where the bottom was going to be. And we had to act quickly. And as a consequence of the resilience and the strength of the American people, but also some good decisions that we made early on, and the help of a strong Democratic Senate, we were able to right the ship.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/11/remarks-president-dscc-event-tisbury-ma

  7. WH

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama vacations in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  8. Job Openings in U.S. Increase to Highest Level Since 2001

    Aug 12, 2014 7:38 AM PT By Nina Glinski – bloomberg

    Job openings rose in June to the highest level in more than 13 years, firming up the U.S. labor market picture for the second half of the year.

    The number of unfilled positions climbed by 94,000 to 4.67 million, the most since February 2001, from a revised 4.58 million in May, a report from the Labor Department showed today.

    Today’s figures are among those on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s labor-market “dashboard,” which she uses to help guide monetary policy. Rising openings, fewer firings and an increase in the number of people quitting their jobs would signal the improvement is broadening, which could prompt central bankers to raise interest rates faster.

    The figures are “just one more factor that will input into the whole Fed calculus,” Kim Rupert, a Hillsborough, California-based economist for Action Economics LLC, said before the report. “It will help build the case, but we’re still quite a ways off from Fed rate hikes.”

    The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, contextualizes monthly payrolls figures by measuring dynamics including resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-12/job-openings-in-u-s-rose-by-94-000-to-4-67-million-in-june.html

  9. MoveOn Warns Clinton After Knocking Obama On Foreign Policy

    AUGUST 12, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT ByDANIEL STRAUSS – tpm

    The liberal group MoveOn.org issued a stark warning to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in response to her not-so-subtle knock on President Barack Obama’s foreign policy approach.

    In a statement on Tuesday Ilya Sheyman, the executive director of MoveOn Political Action, said that Clinton or “any other person thinking about seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016, should think long and hard before embracing the same policies advocated by right-wing war hawks that got America into Iraq in the first place and helped set the stage for Iraq’s troubles.”

    The statement follows comments Clinton made to The Atlantic where she said that Obama should have taken action in Syria. Specifically, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg asked Clinton what she thought of the Obama Administration’s foreign affairs motto, “Don’t do stupid shit.”

    “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Clinton said in response.

    Read the full statement from Sheyman below:

    Secretary Clinton, and any other person thinking about seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016, should think long and hard before embracing the same policies advocated by right-wing war hawks that got America into Iraq in the first place and helped set the stage for Iraq’s troubles today. These hawkish policy stances are also threatening to undermine the peaceful international resolution of Iran’s nuclear program.

    Voters elected President Obama in 2008 to bring the war in Iraq to an end. MoveOn members will continue to stand with elected officials who oppose military escalation that could put us back on a path to endless war.

  10. President Obama Issues a Statement on the Death of Michael Brown

    David Hudson August 12, 2014 05:02 PM EDT

    This afternoon, President Obama issued a statement on the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was fatally shot on Saturday by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri:

    The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.

    READ MORE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/08/12/president-obama-issues-statement-death-michael-brown

    • August 14, 2014

      President Obama Statement on Displaced Iraqis and Shooting in Ferguson, Missouri
      Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

      (Excerpts)

      I want to address something that’s been in the news over the last couple of days and that’s the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country, as police have clashed with people protesting. Today, I’d like us all to take a step back and think about how we’re going to be moving forward.

      This morning, I received a thorough update on the situation from Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been following it and been in communication with his team. I’ve already tasked the Department of Justice and the FBI to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown, along with local officials on the ground.

      The Department of Justice is also consulting with local authorities about ways that they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of peaceful protest and while avoiding unnecessary escalation. I made clear to the Attorney General that we should do what is necessary to help determine exactly what happened, and to see that justice is done.

      I also just spoke with Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. I expressed my concern over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground, and underscored that now is the time for all of us to reflect on what’s happened, and to find a way to come together going forward. He is going to be traveling to Ferguson. He is a good man and a fine governor, and I’m confident that, working together, he is going to be able to communicate his desire to make sure that justice is done and his desire to make sure that public safety is maintained in an appropriate way.

      Of course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was 18 years old. His family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when something like this happens, the local authorities –- including the police -– have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death, and how they are protecting the people in their communities.

      There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests, or to throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. And here, in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground. Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/14/statement-president

    • Thursday, August 14, 2014 doj.gov

      Statement by Attorney General Eric Holder on Latest Developments in Ferguson, Missouri
      Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Thursday following his meeting earlier today with President Obama to discuss the latest developments in Ferguson, Missouri:

      “This morning, I met with President Obama to discuss the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Like the President, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Brown. While his death has understandably caused heartache within the community, it is clear that the scenes playing out in the streets of Ferguson over the last several nights cannot continue.

      “For one thing, while the vast majority of protests have been peaceful, acts of violence by members of the public cannot be condoned. Looting and willful efforts to antagonize law enforcement officers who are genuinely trying to protect the public do nothing to remember the young man who has died. Such conduct is unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned.

      “By the same token, the law enforcement response to these demonstrations must seek to reduce tensions, not heighten them. Those who peacefully gather to express sympathy for the family of Michael Brown must have their rights respected at all times. And journalists must not be harassed or prevented from covering a story that needs to be told.

      “At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message. At my direction, Department officials have conveyed these concerns to local authorities. Also at my direction, the Department is offering – through our COPS office and Office of Justice Programs – technical assistance to local authorities in order to help conduct crowd control and maintain public safety without relying on unnecessarily extreme displays of force. The local authorities in Missouri have accepted this offer of assistance as of this afternoon.

      For more: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/August/14-ag-854.html

  11. White House Award Ceremony with Youth and Environmental Educators

    Published on Aug 12, 2014

    Senior White House and Administration officials join an awards ceremony honoring recipients of the Presidential Environmental Youth Award and the Presidential innovation Award for Environmental Educators. August 12, 2014.

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