Mea C. – BASIS Oro Valley

BASIS Oro Valley Senior Mea C.

With Liberty and Justice for Some: the Systematic Disregard of Native American Religious Freedom, How We Got Here, and How We Can Move Forward

Project/blog link: With Liberty and Justice for Some: the Systematic Disregard of Native American Religious Freedom, How We Got Here, and How We Can Move Forward
BASIS Advisor: Jason Wright
Internship location: Annapolis; DC; Tucson
Onsite Mentor: Robert Hershey, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Education, University of Arizona Rogers College of Law

Project Abstract

Native American religious freedoms are not an issue covered or discussed often in the popular news outlets; however, this has changed with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the protests it has caused. More evidence has been shared with the general public that the protection of sacred land is often pushed to the wayside, as the US government does not always treat these protections as a priority. The topic of religious freedom has risen as a hot topic with the immigration ban under President Trump, and Native American religious freedoms have finally gained greater coverage with the DAPL issues and protests. Freedom of religion is a right held in high esteem in this country, yet somehow equal protection is inconsistently extended to Native American religious freedom issues because they are unique among other major religions within the United States. Through research and reading, the project will examine the history of legislation and judicial decisions that have made the violation of these religious freedoms more legally tolerated. Moreover, the project will look at how to add teeth to the American Indian Religious Freedoms Act in order to better protect religious freedoms for American Indians. It is of utmost importance that this freedom, this right, is extended to all people and religions, not just some.

With Liberty and Justice for Some: the Systematic Disregard of Native American Religious Freedom, How We Got Here, and How We Can Move Forward