The Indigenous use of Peyote can be traced back as far as 10,000 years to what is now Mexico. There is archeological evidence of the religious use of Peyote in what is now the U.S. dating back 5,000 years. More recently, with the introduction of the horse and railroad to the Americas, the ritual use of this cactus spread to central parts of the United States in the 1800s. This sharing occurred in the context of the brutal and systematic suppression of native culture, spirituality, and ways of life.
During this time of great cultural devastation, Peyote began to be used widely as a pan-Native American religion, and served to revitalize native identity and spiritual connection.
A successful strategy for addressing the peyote crisis and supporting cultural regeneration must include the leadership by Native American Church and representatives of the Wixarika (Huichol Tribal Leadership). This leadership must be supported and joined by the legal, financial, and technical expertise and resources of organizations who understand the complexity of Peyote Conservation and are willing to maintain a deep respect for the interweaving of native religion, culture, and present-day issues. To this end, project design and management will be conducted using a collaborative and inclusive process.