On The Penote Road - Film Summary
On The Penote Road - Film Summary ANT 3241
Popular in Anthropology, Myth, Ritual and Mysticism
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sharon Stambouli on Monday September 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANT 3241 at Florida International University taught by Jean Muteba Rahier in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Anthropology, Myth, Ritual and Mysticism in Anthropology at Florida International University.
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Date Created: 09/19/16
The Peyote Road – FILM "The Peyote Road" (Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. at the Sunset 5) is a dry but cogent, consciousness-raising documentary protesting the 1990 Supreme Court decision that denied First Amendment protection to the sacramental use of peyote by Native Americans in ceremonies that predate the Constitution by at least a millennium. Filmmakers Fidel Moreno, Gary Rhine and Phil Cousineau, who made the award -winning "Wiping the Tears of Seven Generations," a documentary on the Bigfoot Memori al Ride, make their case easily that the Supreme Court's decision is so far-reaching that it jeopardizes freedom of religion itself. (One scholarly interviewee wonders whether the decision, which would take an act of Congress to overturn, could be used against circumcision and kosher slaughtering practices in Judaism.) The documentarians marshal one Native American after another, many of them tribal elders and leaders, to explain to us that the use of peyote by many different tribes is a means of attaining a heightened awareness, as "a way of relating to the world" that "is done out of respect for the Creator." Native American actor Rodney A. Grant, who appeared in "Dances With Wolves," guides us through a typical ceremony, which involves a circle of men --women serve as water bearers --sitting in a circle inside a tepee, staring at a fire in the tepee's center, meditating and praying for hours on end to the accompaniment of drumming and chanting. One participant states firmly that he had never had a hallucinatory experience nor has he ever known anyone who ever has. This takes us to the heart of the matter, which is where the filmmakers slip up. They go to great and persuasive lengths to explain and defend the religious aspects of chewing peyote, harvested from a Southwestern cactus, and the cultural, political and legal implications of its use. However, they overlook scientific opinion, although one of their interviewees does cite a study showing that peyote doesn't harm our chromosomes or cause birth defects. Native Americans refer to peyote as a medicine or an herb rather than a drug, although Webster's, which refers you to the entry for mescal, mentions its hallucinogenic effect. The opinions--indeed, definitions--from a couple of scientists would be most he lpful here since we're being asked to regard peyote as the same as sacramental wine in Judeo -Christian rituals. But is this an appropriate comparison? The filmmakers may in fact be so caught up in preaching to the converted, assuming we know all about how peyote is prepared for consumption and how it is consumed and what its effects are, that they tend to overlook those of us who are open-minded and could be even more sympathetic to the freedom -of- religion aspects of their cause had they provided us with mo re precise, factual information about peyote use. Despite this not inconsiderable reservation, "The Peyote Road" does succeed in suggesting that the Supreme Court decision is yet another instance of the white man's ignorance and hypocrisy in regard to Nati ve Americans. 'The Peyote Road' A Kifaru release of a Kifaru Production in association with Peacedream Productions with participation by Eagle Heart Productions and the Native American Religious Freedom Project. Directors Gary Rhine, Fidel Moreno & Phil Co usineau. Producer-editor Rhine. Executive producers Reuben A. Snake Jr. Writer Cousineau. On -line editor Dan Hayes. Narrator Peter Coyote. Running time: 1 hour, 3 minutes.
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