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Defend the sacred : Native American religious freedom beyond the First Amendment

Author: Michael David McNally
Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2020]
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"In 2016, thousands of people travelled to North Dakota to camp out near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to protest the construction of an oil pipeline that is projected to cross underneath the Missouri River a half mile upstream from the Reservation. The Standing Rock Sioux consider the pipeline a threat to the region's clean water and to the Sioux's sacred sites (such as its ancient burial grounds). The
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
McNally, Michael David.
Defend the sacred
Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2020]
(DLC) 2019052510
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Michael David McNally
ISBN: 069120151X 9780691201511
OCLC Number: 1137752396
Description: 1 online resource (xx, 376 pages)
Contents: Introduction --
Religion as Weapon : The Civilization Regulations, 1883- --
Religion as Spirituality : Native Religions in Prison --
Religion as Spirituality : Sacred Lands --
Religion as Cultural Resource : Environmental and Historic Preservation Law --
Religion as Collective Right : Legislating toward Native American Religious Freedom --
Religion as Collective Right : Repatriation and Access to Eagle Feathers --
Religion as Peoplehood : Sovereignty and Treaties in Federal Indian Law --
Religion as Peoplehood : Indigenous Rights in International Law --
Conclusion.
Responsibility: Michael D. McNally.

Abstract:

"In 2016, thousands of people travelled to North Dakota to camp out near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to protest the construction of an oil pipeline that is projected to cross underneath the Missouri River a half mile upstream from the Reservation. The Standing Rock Sioux consider the pipeline a threat to the region's clean water and to the Sioux's sacred sites (such as its ancient burial grounds). The encamped protests garnered front-page headlines and international attention, and the resolve of the protesters was made clear in a red banner that flew above the camp: "Defend the Sacred". What does it mean when Native communities and their allies make such claims? What is the history of such claim-making, and why has this rhetorical and legal strategy - based on appeals to religious freedom - failed to gain much traction in American courts? As Michael McNally recounts in this book, Native Americans have repeatedly been inspired to assert claims to sacred places, practices, objects, knowledge, and ancestral remains by appealing to the discourse of religious freedom. But such claims based on alleged violations of the First Amendment "free exercise of religion" clause of the US Constitution have met with little success in US courts, largely because Native American communal traditions have been difficult to capture by the modern Western category of "religion." In light of this poor track record Native communities have gone beyond religious freedom-based legal strategies in articulating their sacred claims: in (e.g.) the technocratic language of "cultural resource" under American environmental and historic preservation law; in terms of the limited sovereignty accorded to Native tribes under federal Indian law; and (increasingly) in the political language of "indigenous rights" according to international human rights law (especially in light of the 2007 U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). And yet the language of religious freedom, which resonates powerfully in the US, continues to be deployed, propelling some remarkably useful legislative and administrative accommodations such as the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Reparation Act. As McNally's book shows, native communities draw on the continued rhetorical power of religious freedom language to attain legislative and regulatory victories beyond the First Amendment"--

"The remarkable story of the innovative legal strategies Native Americans have used to protect their religious rights. 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. In Defend the Sacred, Michael McNally 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. The story of Native American advocates and their struggle to protect their liberties, Defend the Sacred casts new light on discussions of religious freedom, cultural resource management, and the vitality of Indigenous religions today"--

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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. In Defend the Sacred, Michael McNally 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. 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