Religion, Law, and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Interpretation of Sacred Land

Religion, Law, and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Interpretation of Sacred Land

Religion, Law, and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Interpretation of Sacred Land

Religion, Law, and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Interpretation of Sacred Land

Synopsis

Examining a series of court decisions made during the 1980s regarding the legal claims of several Native American tribes who attempted to protect ancestrally revered lands from development schemes by the federal government, this book looks at important questions raised about the religious status of land. The tribes used the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion as the basis of their claim, since governmental action threatened to alter the land which served as the primordial sacred reality without which their derivative religious practices would be meaningless. Brown argues that a constricted notion of religion on the part of the courts, combined with a pervasive cultural predisposition towards land as private property, marred the Constitutional analysis of the courts to deprive the Native American plaintiffs of religious liberty.
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