Defend the SacredNative American Religious Freedom beyond the First Amendment

Defend the SacredNative American Religious Freedom beyond the First Amendment

Michael D. McNally

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780691190907

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Abstract

From North Dakota's Standing Rock encampments to Arizona's San Francisco Peaks, Native Americans have repeatedly asserted legal rights to religious freedom to protect their sacred places, practices, objects, knowledge, and ancestral remains. But these claims have met with little success in court because Native American communal traditions don't fit easily into modern Western definitions of religion. This book explores how, in response to this situation, Native peoples have creatively turned to other legal means to safeguard what matters to them. To articulate their claims, Native peoples have resourcefully used the languages of cultural resources under environmental and historic preservation law; of sovereignty under treaty-based federal Indian law; and, increasingly, of Indigenous rights under international human rights law. Along the way, Native nations still draw on the rhetorical power of religious freedom to gain legislative and regulatory successes beyond the First Amendment. This book casts new light on discussions of religious freedom, cultural resource management, and the vitality of Indigenous religions today.