American Indian Religious Freedom Act

1690 Words Feb 20th, 2016 7 Pages
Prior to the Second World War, religious places remained untouched as they were mainly located in rural areas. However, the period after the Second World War was characterized by an increase in population, corporate farming, a more vibrant timber industry as well as an expanded recreational industry. This change resulted in less respect for the public land, and the situation was made worse by the proliferation of state and federal agencies that have no respect for the public land. It thus becomes difficult for the Native Indians to have access to shrines as the politicians’ promulgated rules that disregarded public land particularly places of worship. One such narrow-minded law that has failed to achieve its ultimate goal is the American Indian Religious Freedom Act that was enacted in 1978. The law made it clear the government efforts of protecting the religious rights of the American Indians not only to express their belief but also to practice this believes through traditional religion. However, this law faced major blows especially on the corridors of justice where the Court viewed the Congress’ action in enacting the American Indian Religious Freedom Act as efforts of the government to establish a state religion.
Instead of the government respecting the right of the Indians to maintain their religious places, it invokes its power as the custodian of the public land by claiming that it has the mandate of utilizing any piece of public land for the benefit of the entire…
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