Join the Church of the Eagle and the Condor and Chacruna Institute to build a path toward the responsible and legal use of sacred ayahuasca in America. Donate Now!
What is going on?
The Church of the Eagle and the Condor (CEC) and the Chacruna Institute are proud to collaborate to raise $100,000 to investigate and resolve disputes concerning the federal government’s approach to ayahuasca importation, establish processes to seek return of seized sacrament, and set new precedent for ayahuasca religions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Ayahuasca is a brew used in traditional ceremonies by Indigenous communities across the Amazon basin, and its use has spread across the world. Ayahuasca contains DMT, a Schedule I controlled substance. Today, two ayahuasca churches - the Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (also known as UDV) and Santo Daime - are legally permitted to import and utilize ayahuasca as a sacrament in their religious practices. Because of a complex and unclear legal environment involving the religious use of controlled substances as sacrament, other churches around the country practice in a gray area.
Since last year, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has seized ayahuasca from dozens of churches - including the Church of the Eagle and the Condor. Right now, there is no way to properly identify ayahuasca as a community’s sacrament without putting one’s self at legal risk.
These actions defy existing Constitutional protections of religious freedom. DEA has provided unclear guidance, and without a clear pathway, these churches remain unsure whether their practice is protected by the law.
What are we going to do about it?
The Church of the Eagle and the Condor and Chacruna Institute are collaborating to carve out a path for churches who have had their sacrament seized by CBP to request a return of their medicine and create a legal process to return the sacrament to its rightful owner - the churches themselves. Our goal is to set a reliable and consistent precedent for churches that use ayahuasca as their sacrament under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Specifically, this project will:
- Petition the government to acknowledge the legitimacy of Indigenous traditional practice of sacred ayahuasca ceremony, focusing specifically on the example of the Church of the Eagle and the Condor.
- Uncover the mechanism and justification for the seizures of ayahuasca at the border by submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Customs and Border Patrol. The information we uncover will be made public, which will illuminate the legal situation regarding ayahuasca for churches across the United States.
- Petition Customs and Border Patrol to establish a process to return seized sacrament to churches that are trying to import sacrament from outside of the country. If successful, our goal is that this process will be utilized by churches who are also seeking the return of their sacrament after seizure.
By working toward and achieving these outcomes, the Church of the Eagle and the Condor is taking the lead - at considerable risk - to be a beacon for other communities dealing with infringement of their religious freedoms.
How can you help?
Although the impact of this case could be felt by churches across the country, donations to this fund will go to the Church of the Eagle and the Condor, with Chacruna Institute as its fiscal sponsor. Together, our goal is to raise $100,000.
In order to make the most of your generosity, our lawyers have agreed to work at a discounted rate, as we anticipate that this could be a long process. Please donate to help us pay for legal costs, filing fees, and other resources necessary to take this project to completion.
By supporting the Church of the Eagle and the Condor and Chacruna Institute, your investment will be supporting an initiative at the forefront of religious liberty and the psychedelic movement, and help ensure that the federal government treats the sacramental use of ayahuasca with the legal protections that it deserves. Your gift with help to protect religious freedom nationwide.If you can’t donate, please spread the word and hold us in prayer for a positive outcome!
“The time has come to honor the ancestral traditions of the Americas, to honor our vital spiritual practices. Help us protect the religious use of sacred ayahuasca.” -Joe Tafur, CEC Ayahuasquero
“Precedent has already been established for the safe and responsible use of sacred ayahuasca. We intend to hold the government to its promise of religious freedom for the Church of the Eagle and the Condor’s Indigenous-based sacred ayahuasca ceremonies.” -Martha Hartney, CEC Counsel
About the Church of the Eagle and Condor:
The Church of the Eagle and the Condor is an Arizona-based church and spiritual community dedicated to the reunification of humanity in fulfillment of the Prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor. The purpose of the church is to:
1. Promote Spiritual Unity of all people with the Creator through the practice of traditional Indigenous spirituality and sacred ceremonies.
2. Be a living expression of Unity, preservation of the cultural and spiritual legacy of the human race.
3. Participate in teachings of universal knowledge.
Within this purpose, the Church’s objectives are to reach inward and assist people toward knowing Divine self and to honor the cultural diversity of the original peoples of the Americas. The membership consists of people from all walks of life, including people of many nationalities and races committed to a prayerful, conscious way of life. The Church of the Eagle and the Condor
leadership includes wisdom carriers of the Navajo/Diné and Pachakuti Mesa traditions, as well as an Ayahuasquero initiated and apprenticed into the Peruvian Shipibo tradition.
About Chacruna Institute:
The Chacruna Institute of Psychedelic Plant Medicines provides public education about psychedelic plant medicines and promotes a bridge between the ceremonial use of sacred plants and psychedelic science. As psychedelics go mainstream, we curate critical conversations about controversial and marginalized topics in the space. We also promote access, inclusion, and diversity by uplifting the voices of women, queer people, Indigenous people, people of color, and the Global South in the field of psychedelic science.