Indigenous leader pen letter stating that legalizing peyote could lead to extinction
Indigenous peoples lawyers recently wrote a letter to drug reform advocates and media saying that peyote should not be included in the current wave of psychedelic decriminalization efforts, as reported by Marijuana Moment (where you can read the statement in full).
The Indigenous Peyote Conservation Communication Committee describes the reform efforts as “a morally and ethically decisive moment for the psychedelic movement”.
“Can members of the movement choose to act with respect, listen, offer support, and ultimately stand behind Native American strategies and plans?” it went on. “If so, in 40 years we will look back and know that the human community has been successful. If not, it will be another Native American colonial failure. “
The question of access to peyotes becomes more pressing as the decriminalization and legalization movement of psychedelics gains momentum. Across the country, state and local jurisdictions have expanded access to a variety of hallucinogens.
Legal use of peyote in the United States is currently limited to the native communities, for whom the plant plays an important role in their beliefs. While tribal leaders insist they have no problem with the psychedelic ban being lifted in general, they believe that non-native access to the plant could cause it to become extinct.
This is mainly due to the slow-growing nature of peyote plants, which the IPCCC says can take five to 20 minutes to reach full maturity and even longer to grow large enough for the plant to split apart once it is harvested can continue to regenerate.
“Peyote is a special organism on this continent, just like salmon or orca, and can have its own regulatory path,” says the letter.
Not all decriminalization efforts have ignored the problem. In California, a Senate bill to expand access to psychedelics would not include peyote out of respect for the local communities who use the plant as part of their beliefs.
The Decriminalization of Nature, a coalition actively campaigning for the decriminalization of psychedelics across the country, responded to the IPCCC letter that access to the succulent could be expanded even if its conservation is investigated.
Peyote “is a key ally in our collective struggle to awaken the masses from the fear-based sleep of separation from ourselves, each other and nature,” wrote Carlos Plazola, chairman of Decriminalize Nature, in a statement, noting that the The group supported the formation by government task forces to investigate how the plant can be saved from extinction.
The IPCCC, however, appears apparently unimpressed by the prospect of such government-led efforts. “What is needed is not an evaluation of this conservation strategy, but support for it as it develops,” the letter said.
When David “Dr.” Bronner said, “It is extremely disrespectful to assume that the [Native American Church] do not know what they are doing to preserve their medicine and instead suggests forming a government committee to lead those efforts, especially given the long history of broken contracts and promises made by US government agencies. “
The IPCCC is a group established by the National Council of Indian Churches to focus on conservation issues that affect “all indigenous peyote peoples” and operates a “spiritual home” that promotes the culturally appropriate use of the sacred plant in the Peyote-growing land in the south benefits Texas.
The group’s letter included a helpful checklist of supportive behaviors for Native American allies that we include below in case anyone needs a reminder:
– Respect and defer representative indigenous leadership even if it is difficult for you to understand.
– Understand that there are processes of change in these indigenous cultures that require time and support to develop.
– If you have technical support (like CCI), only offer it when and how it is needed and requested directly.
– Respect traditional knowledge and methods.
– Be aware if you are using colonial thinking or tactics.
– We know better.
– We have rights too.
– We can find someone local to form a dissenting opinion and put a token to back up our point.
– This has to happen NOW in western time.
– Ask and speak if you see any of these behaviors