Reconciling American Law and Native-American Culture
A look at the treatment of Native American’s rights under the U.S. constitutional law.
This paper discusses treatment of Native Americans’ rights to their sacred sites under US Constitutional law. Three law journal articles are reviewed and utilized to form a thesis promoting the concept of communal religious rights. Historical background is provided also.
“The first clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” However, throughout U.S. history, the federal government has deliberately restricted and prohibited the religious practices of North America’s indigenous Native Americans. Rather than confront this severe blight on the country’s human rights record, the various branches of the Euro-cultured U.S. government gloss over past transgressions of First Amendment rights, even as they attempt to justify new violations of Native Americans’ religious rights.”