Round Valley & Pit River Tribes Protest California’s Violations of Native Prisoners’ Religious Rights

May 4th, 2013

The Round Valley Indian Tribes and Pit River Tribe joined Huy, the National Native American Bar Association and others in protest of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s issuance of a provisional “emergency” regulation denying indigenous prisoners access to items used in religious ceremony and access to sweatlodge ceremony. This national inter-tribal protest movement was featured by Indian Country Today this week. In short:

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In February, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) provisionally outlawed, on a so-called “emergency” basis, American indigenous prisoners’ religious use of: tribal sacred medicines like kinnikinnick, copal, and osha root; indigenous sacred items like pipes and pipe bags, drums and other instruments, and water dippers; and tribal religious necessities like cloth for prayer ties, beads and beading supplies, and animal hides and teeth. It appears the indigenous prisoners’ sweatlodge ceremonies have also been curtailed being reduced from occurring every weekend to only one or two times per month.

Any person, group or tribe may submit written comments about what remains a proposed CDCR religious property regulation to CDCR, Regulation and Policy Management Branch (RPMB), P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA 94283-0001, or by fax to (916) 324-6075, or by e-mail to [email protected] All written comments must be received by the close of the public comment period this Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at 5:00 p.m.

Also, a public hearing will be held this Tuesday, May 7, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Sacramento, specifically in the Kern room, located at 151 S Street, North Building, 95811. The CDCR will then consider comments, evaluate proposed alternatives, and issue a final rule.

We urge your timely written and public comment in opposition to the State of California’s unlawful effort to unduly restrict American indigenous prisoners’ freedom to believe, express and exercise traditional indigenous religion.

For additional information, contact Huy Chairman Gabriel S. Galanda, at (206) 300-7801 or [email protected]