Should Native Americans Be Able To Perform Their Ceremonies In Prison

Topics: Religion, Sociology, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 2 (949 words) Published: June 16, 2015
a. Should Native Americans be able to perform their ceremonies in prison? Yes. Although physically restricted behind penal bars, Native Americans, as well as inmates of diverse devotions, may express their religious liberties without obstruction. I believe that all prisoners have the right to observe their traditional religious practices while incarcerated, including the right to perform ceremonies that are common amid unconventional ideologies, such as the ritual performed by Yellow Thunder. “Because prayer can be considered the most sacred right a religious person possesses, the government absolutely cannot, and should not interfere with that right, which is granted by the first amendment (Mosser, K. 2013).” An inmate free to hold bible study within the general prison population has received the right to promote his or her faith openly. For example, when Christians express their dogma and proclaim that an individual is and or will be damned because he or she does not convert and ask for remittance of their sins, this is as promotional as an act or ad from McDonalds. It makes prayer a promotion, offered to others because they can relate to the message, even when mixed. This mainstream religion performs traditional ceremonies within the prison to help others get through a tough time, and alleviate the pressures of prison. Moreover, society feels it may aide an inmate when they unite for rituals such as prayer, baptisms, or communions. Therefore, existing societal constructs make it hard to identify with someone chanting, praying and burning grass to alleviate the anxiety of lockdown. “Saving souls with quotes, baptizing in hopes, blowing smoke up four walls, and induction into the club of Sitting Saints, Former Sinners, and Islam Slammers,” are all forms of solicitation, ceremony, social control, and support systems. A purifying ceremony involving the burning of dried and braided sweetgrass before prayer is a custom shared in Native American tribes, said to...
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