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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Peyote Religion Among the Navaho.

Aberle, David. F., with Moore, Harvey C. (1966).
New York: Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

ISBN: None

Description: Paperback, xxvi + 454 pages. Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology, No. 42. Subscribers' edition distributed through Current Anthropology,

Contents: Preface, acknowledgements, table of contents, lists of figures, maps, diagrams, graphs, charts, tables. Twenty-two chapters divided into 5 parts: I. The Peyote Cult, II. The Peyote Cult Among The Navaho, IV. The Differential Appeal of Peyotism in the Navaho Country, V. Peyotism As A Redemptive Movement, 7 appendices: A. Trends in Navaho Population and Education, 1870-1955, by Denis F. Johnston; B. Vocabulary; C. Four Interviews; D. Peyote and Health; E. The Leadership of the Native American Church in the Navaho Country; F. The Interview on Navaho Communities; G. Postscript-1965; Bibliography-References Cited; Index of Names; Subject Index.

Note: Sixteen pages of photographs appear between pages 134 and 135.

Excerpt(s): This book deals with the history and nature of the peyote cult in the Navaho country, with the long-continued resistance to the cult of the majority of the tribe and the vast majority of the Tribal Council, and with the factors that promote individual acceptance of the cult and that account for variation in the level of acceptance of the cult in various communities. By and large, data were gathered from 1949 to 1953, and little attempt is made to discuss events since then. ...

Since in fact I have not stated a policy position in the body of this work, let me say here that in my opinion the Native American Church of North America and its branches on the Navajo Reservation do not constitute a threat to the health, safety, welfare, or morality of the Navajo Tribe, and that, although the Tribe may have the right to legislate against the use of peyote-an issue still under legal dispute as I write-equity demands that the Native American Church be given that protection of freedom of worship normal in the larger society and written in the Bill of Rights. (Preface, page vii)

Tentatively, it is suggested that redemptive movements, which do not preach withdrawal from the world flourish where groups are pushed into new, ambivalently regarded niches, where their engagement with a larger economic-political system is increased, whereas transformative ones flourish where groups are encapsulated or extruded from an old niche without obvious minimally satisfactory alternatives and with a general decrement in or lack of involvement in the larger system. The spread of Navaho peyotism against opposition fits this interpretation. (Conclusion, page 354)

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