National Indian Congress Issues American Indigenous Prisoners’ Religious Freedoms Proclamation

Jul 14th, 2013

In June, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) passed an emergency measure, Resolution #REN-13-005, observing that “the inherent rights of incarcerated Indian peoples’ freedom to believe, express, and exercise traditional indigenous religion, are too frequently violated by federal, state, and local government actors in the United States.”

Resolution #REN-13-005 was passed in specific reaction to the State of California’s “emergency” rulemaking to outlaw various Native American sacred items from religious use in state prisons.

NCAI resolved that it “denounces and opposes any federal, state or local government restrictions placed upon incarcerated Native Peoples’ inherent rights to believe, express, and exercise their traditional religions and practices.”

NCAI further resolved to “call[] upon the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples S. James Anaya, for an investigation into the pervasive pattern in the United States of increasing state and local restrictions on the religious freedoms of incarcerated Native peoples in the United States.”

To read NCAI Resolution #REN-13-005, click here.