is a foundational piece of legislation, it doesn't legally protect Native Americans' holiest places, nor does it protect tribal religious practices that conflict with the government's land use.
President Carter speaking to the media about AIRFA
(August 12, 1978).
POL'Y, Winter 1995, at 61, 66 ("The Lyng decision conclusively ended any hope by Native Americans with respect to [the American Indian Religious Freedom Act's] ability to protect their sacred sites when the Court found that AIRFA
did not 'create a cause of action or any judicially enforceable individual rights.'" (quoting Lyng, 485 U.S.
represents the first cultural resource preservation law enacted specifically for American Indians, as opposed to the NHPA or ARPA.
However, in the 14 years since AIRFA
was signed into law by then-President Jimmy Carter, various branches of the U.S.
For a more in-depth discussion of both the importance of the eagle in Native American religion and the effects of the BGEPA permit process on Native American religious practices, as described in the legislative history of the Amendments to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1994 (AIRFA
), see De Meo, supra note 3, at 774-94.
In August 1978, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA
) was passed by Congress as a guarantee of constitutional protection of First Amendment rights for Native Americans.
A Native American state prisoner filed a [section] 1983 action, claiming that his required participation in a prison's substance abuse treatment program violated the Free Exercise Clause, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA
), and the Minnesota Constitution.
While statutes such as AIRFA
,(226) NAGPRA,(227) and ARPA(228) have been criticized as unwilling to find asserted constitutional rights for plaintiffs,(229) there are several other statutes that have made great strides in affording protection to Alaska Natives and the subsistence way of life.
Focusing on the passage of the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA
), I retrace the history of government-directed oppression of Native religions from the 1783 First Continental Congress Indian Proclamation, through the repressive measures of the BIA in the institution of the Religious Crimes Codes of 1883 and 1892.
After formation of the standing committee, three goals were established:(43) Supply expert advice from traditional Native American elders, human osteologists, American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA
) and ARPA specialists, legal advisors, forensic specialists, and academic and research specialists; 2) to educate the public and promote intercultural awareness(44) and crime prevention; and 3) to create and empower an enforcement force that would cover the jurisdictional law for each agency, and incorporate tribal representatives, archaeologists, landowners and district attorneys.
Spaeth never mentions nor analyzes the equally important American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA
) of 1978.