In October of 2017 - The National Council of Native American Churches gathered in Laredo, Texas and with support from the Riverstyx Foundation, purchased 605 acres in the medicine gardens to establish a Peyote preserve and spiritual homesite. In June of 2018 - The Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative officially became a 501c(3) organization in Texas, serving all native Peyote lands and peoples, from Mexico, the U.S., and Canada.
IPCI hosted two pilgrimages and ceremonies on the spiritual homesite land. Many NAC members were able to reconnect with the medicine as it grew in the earth, many for the first time.
In order to protect their sacramental use of Peyote, Native American tribal groups began incorporating as individual Native American Churches in 1918. In the following decades the religion grew significantly, however the legal rights of Indian people to use Peyote were plagued by non-native misunderstanding and a patchwork of inconsistent laws and court cases. Finally, in 1994, Congress enacted the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994 which clearly and specifically protect the rights of members of federally recognized tribes to use, possess, and transport Peyote for their traditional religious purposes throughout the US.
The ecological, cultural, and economic realities of taking responsibility for the Peyote sacrament are complex and not always easy. With IPCI, we engage in many strategies for spiritual reconnection and restoration of Peyote, including land access and stewardship, youth education and engagement, Peyote tending, and a system of harvest and distribution that is regenerative and spiritually sound.
We are not a church. We are not trying to create a monopoly on the peyote plant. We are an international collaborative of top leaders in the peyote conservation effort, members of Indigenous Peyote communities and their partners. We focus the best of our prayer and thinking and action on the sustainability and indigenous sovereignty of Peyote across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
Though the issues and cultural context are different for different communities and in different countries. IPCI seeks to work from a place of unity with all medicine communities in order to be successful in this large vision. Therefore, the Wixratika, ancient utilizers of their hikori medicine, the Native American Church with its many different tribal connections, and ABNDN are all working together in this initiative.