Author Topic: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney  (Read 128776 times)

Offline Diana

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2014, 10:53:49 pm »
Saw this over on Indianz....interesting. My bold

Pot Bust on Karuk Ceremonial Grounds in Orleans:

Members of the Karuk Tribe of California stopped followers of a self-proclaimed medicine man from planting marijuana at a sacred site.
Tribal members became suspicious when they saw outsiders at Tishawnik, a sacred dance ground. They detained a man who said he belonged to the Oklevueha Native American Church.
The group was started by James Warren Flaming Eagle Mooney, a man who has faced legal troubles in Utah for using peyote. He's apparently branching out into marijuana use.
Local authorities ended up seizing more than 600 plants from the site, The Two Rivers Tribune reported. The suspect and his son are facing arrest in Humboldt County.
Tishawnik is in private hands. The tribe has been trying to acquire the land.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #31 on: June 21, 2014, 08:11:07 pm »
Another of the Mooneys tried claiming they have the right to use pot as a sacrament. The court threw it out, though they took Mooney's claim of being Seminole and a medicine man at face value with no investigation. The amusing thing is the Mooneys admitted the "church" just exists so they can do drugs.

Just how dumb do you have to be to try and smuggle drugs using FedEx?


Plaintiffs Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii,
Inc. (“Oklevueha”) and Michael Rex Mooney a.k.a. Raging
Bear appeal the district court’s dismissal of their complaint
and judgment in favor of Defendants the U.S. Attorney General,
the Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
(“DEA”), and the U.S. Attorney for the District of
Hawaii (collectively, “Government”). Plaintiffs’ action seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief barring the Government from
enforcing the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) against
them and for return or compensation for marijuana taken by
the Government. Plaintiffs allege that they consume marijuana
as a “sacrament/eucharist” in their religious ceremonies,
and that their use is protected by the First Amendment and the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”). The district
court dismissed the claims for declaratory and injunctive
relief on ripeness grounds. It also dismissed the claim for the
return of, or compensation for, the seized marijuana because
the marijuana had been destroyed and monetary damages are
not available under RFRA. We affirm in part and reverse and
remand in part.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii,
Inc. is a 250-member independent chapter of the Native
American Church (“NAC”). NAC has an estimated 500,000
national members in 100 branches throughout 24 states. Plaintiff
Michael Rex “Raging Bear” Mooney is the founder, president,
and medicine custodian of the Oklevueha chapter. He is
of Seminole Native American ancestry, and is an “authorized
Spiritual Leader,” or “medicine man.”
According to Plaintiffs, NAC is an earth-based healing religion,
the primary purpose of which is to “administer Sacra-
mental Ceremonies.” These ceremonies involve the
consumption of drugs; indeed, Plaintiffs explain that the
church “only exists to espouse the virtues of, and to consume,
NAC members’ religious use of peyote is
exempted from the prohibitions of the CSA, see 21 C.F.R.
§ 1307.31,1 but there is no such exemption for marijuana.
Plaintiffs explain that marijuana use is a crucial part of NAC
tradition and that members consume marijuana as a sacrament
and eucharist in their religious ceremonies and rites, in addition
to or as a substitute for peyote, which is their “primary
sacrament/great-medicine of choice.” All 250 Oklevueha
members consume marijuana in religious ceremonies. Members
use marijuana to enhance spiritual awareness and facilitate
direct experience of the divine. Mooney uses marijuana
daily, and other Oklevueha members use marijuana in
“sweat” ceremonies, which occur twice a month
at various
private locations in Oahu and are only open to NAC members.
In June 2009, federal law enforcement officers in Hawaii
seized from FedEx one pound of marijuana that was
addressed to Mooney and intended for Oklevueha use. The
marijuana was turned over to the Honolulu Police Department
and later destroyed. The seized marijuana was worth approximately
$7,000. Plaintiffs do not allege that Mooney or any
Oklevueha member has been prosecuted or threatened with
prosecution in connection with the seizure or in relation to
any other procurement or use of marijuana.
Despite the nonexistence of any criminal charges, Plaintiffs
claim that they fear for their ability to continue to cultivate,
consume, possess, and distribute marijuana for religious purposes
without being branded criminals and made to face fines
and imprisonment. In support of this fear, they point to a DEA
1In 1994, Congress extended the peyote exemption to all members of
every recognized Indian Tribe. See 42 U.S.C. § 1996a(b)(1).
raid in March 2010 on another Hawaii-based church that purports
to use marijuana as a religious sacrament....

[3] According to Plaintiffs, they have used marijuana in
violation of the CSA countless times, and plan to continue to
do so.
Plaintiffs allege that Mooney violates the CSA daily by consuming marijuana,
and that other members of Oklevueha violate the law at semimonthly
sweats, in addition to any other usages. They further
allege that Mooney and Oklevueha members have no plan to
stop their consumption. Taking as true the facts alleged,
Plaintiffs are currently violating and plan to continue to violate
the CSA by purchasing and consuming marijuana.

....the suit seeks to protect Oklevueha’s members’ use of marijuana
in religious ceremonies, the administration of which Plaintiffs
allege is the “sole purpose” of Oklevueha....


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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2014, 05:19:18 pm »

The courts are not impressed by Michael Mooney. When asked to describe his religion, his answer was vague and rambling. Easy guess is that he was stoned. 

Authentic Native American Churches filed briefs stating that Michael is not a member. Also that The Peyote Religion does not include the use of marijuana, ever.

Michael was raised in this fake religion, he says he participated in sweats etc. since he was 10 years old. But he is an adult now.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2014, 10:28:48 pm »
I can't recall reading a legal brief before that made me laugh like this one...he seems to have been deeply stoned the entire time in court. Or maybe he wasn't, but he uses so much it sounds like he was.

But the second doc has a serious point. None of the real NAC recognize Mooney or use pot in ceremonies, esp sweats.


....when Mooney was asked whether Oklevueha Hawaii requires individual participants to adhere to a specific set of religious beliefs,
he responded:
Sure. We encourage. You know, we’re – the whole purpose –
one of the sole purposes, one, is to help people regain their
relationship with the Creator, you know, which we believe . . .
is the elements: is earth, is nature, okay. So that, of course,
that’s – that’s what, you know, the ceremonies are. And one of
the major reasons why they’re there is to allow people to gain a
relationship with God, if you want to, you know, use that word,

...Mooney was asked whether in his view there is a difference between religion and spirituality, Mooney
answered as follows:
Organization to me is religion. So, if it’s a spiritual organization, that is a religion. * * * Organized religion is –
is – it’s a community. It’s – we help each other, you know. It’s a church. You know, it’s – it’s not just spiritual. We –
seriously, we help each other in society and humanity. It’s –it’s a service. You know, we serve each other, we help each
other . . . so I don’t think it’s just linked to spirituality." Id. at 23 (ER 26). The district court correctly found these statements to be
hopelessly elusive,

...Plaintiffs also wrongly criticize the district court for stating that “a religion should encompass more than getting ‘high.’” ...Inasmuch as plaintiffs declare that their practice has a “goal of a sort of inebriation,” Appellants’ Brief at 29, the district court’s
choice of language can hardly be faulted.

...Mooney identified peyote, not marijuana, as his religion’s “primary sacrament,” and listed a “litany” of other drugs his
church members use. Order at 28 (ER 31). “‘Nothing in the record explains why relying on these other drugs instead of cannabis would be more than an inconvenience for Plaintiffs.” Id. at 28-29 (ER 31-32). For example, the court noted that “[w]hile Plaintiffs claim that cannabis is useful when peyote is in short supply, there is no evidence (or even assertion) before the court
that Plaintiffs are finding peyote in short supply in Hawaii at this time,”

....The record shows that Olkevueha Hawaii is an organization with loose membership requirements, minimal recordkeeping practices, and little in the way of structure or resources....Oklevueha Hawaii admits that it performs no screening of prospective
members, see Pls.’ Third Answers to Defs.’ First Set of Interrogs. No. 11 (SER198); that it allows any adult who learns of and comes to a Church cannabis ceremony to participate in the ceremony and to be deemed a member.

...Q Now, are church members permitted to use cannabis recreationally if they wish?
A I or the church cannot control what individuals members do, man, okay. If they choose to be unconscious with
something, and they choose to—to make an unsacred—to not honor the sacred, ok that's their gig

...20. Oklevueha Hawaii makes no efforts to determine the pregnancy status
of persons who seek to participate in its ceremonies or exclude pregnant women
from its ceremonies
. Pls.’ Third Answers to Defs.’ First Set of Interrogs. no. 3;
Mooney Dep. 181:20–24.
21. Oklevueha Hawaii leaves it to individual members to decide whether
they are in a condition to drive home safely after a ceremony involving cannabis

use. Mooney Dep. 217:11–23.

Urging affirmance, this brief explains clearly that the religion of the
Native American Church neither requires nor permits the use of marijuana
for religious purposes, and that never once in its long history of advocacy for
religious liberties have the Amici NAC organizations sought legal protection
for the use of marijuana.
Further, this brief explains that the Amici NAC
organizations do not recognize the Oklevueha Church of Hawaii, Inc., as a
chapter, nor do they recognize Mr. Mooney as a member of a legitimate
chapter of the Native American Church.
To the extent that the claims of Oklevueha or Mr. Mooney rest on allegations or inferences of an affiliation
with the Amici NAC organizations or with any legitimate chapter of the Native American Church, they should be rejected.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2014, 01:59:19 pm »
I received an account that Mooney is preaching in Canada that being part of Oklehueva or ONAC will let you use ayahuasca without getting prosecuted.

ONAC's homepage does claim exactly that.
It Provides You A Means To Receive Your Constitutional Rights In Attending Earth Based Indigenous American Native Spiritually Empowering and Healing Ceremonies – especially Native American Church indigenous ceremonies that involve sacraments (peyote, cannabis, ayahuasca, etc) that are otherwise illegal for Non-Members to partake and or be in possession of.

"Etc" indicates there are other drugs they claim are holy and you can avoid prosecution using recreationally by his "church".

The obvious problem is Mooney is telling Canadians that what applies sometimes in US law will work in Canada.

The second bigger problem is ayahuasca is not part of any Canadian tribes' traditions. The only people likely to bring it to Canada will be people looking to profit, who don't know how to properly mix it. People will almost certainly be harmed, as we've seen happen with Erick Gonzlalez's group.

Offline milehighsalute

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2015, 10:11:12 pm »

guess whos back in the spotlight

Offline JJimmy

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2015, 02:02:44 pm »

Offline milehighsalute

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2016, 03:12:38 pm »
that really must be stopped

Offline Sandy S

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2016, 06:58:17 pm »

Posted by: milehighsalute
« on: January 07, 2016, 03:12:38 pm »
that really must be stopped

Yup! The game was on pretty much the moment they landed in Washington State thanks, in part, to the alert on this NAFPS thread by JJimmy on Dec. 26 and from moreinfo on another venue at the same time. Wheels are in motion, but that's about all the detail I feel comfortable sharing at this point.

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2016, 09:40:50 pm »
Holy Crap! SOmehow I missed this! They are making this near Mt. Rainier?? Some of the local tribes won't be happy.

Offline Sandy S

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2016, 02:51:06 am »
Yes, it is in the area of Elbe, where the Pierce, Thurston, and Lewis County borders meet southwest of Mt. Rainier. I'm not sure in which county these characters have their 160 acre encampment, but Elbe itself is in Pierce County.

Offline Diana

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2016, 02:57:01 am »


In what could be a test case to create a legal category of “sacramental marijuana,” a Kenwood branch of a church co-founded by a man claiming Native American heritage is suing Sonoma County, contending that the branch’s cannabis was wrongfully seized by deputies because its members are entitled to it for religious purposes, similar to exemptions made for peyote and ayahuasca use by some native groups.

Is marijuana central to the tenets of the Oklevueha Native American Church, or are its members simply looking for a convenient cover to get high and grow lots of pot? The question is at the heart of a federal civil lawsuit, as well as a pending criminal prosecution stemming from a raid last year at the church’s newly established Sonoma County branch, located off a rural road in the Kenwood area.

Two members of the church claim that sheriff’s deputies violated their civil rights by confiscating marijuana used in their religious ceremonies.

When sheriff’s deputies raided the property off Lawndale Road in September and arrested the resident, who is also the president of the branch of the church, the deputies dismissed it as a “bogus” front for drug trafficking, according to a federal lawsuit filed Nov. 24 in San Francisco by the church.

The county and sheriff’s officials knew the property was the site of a religious operation, according to the lawsuit, “however based on stereotypes about Native Americans and the lack of knowledge about the religious ceremonies, practices and spirituality of church members concluded on their own that (the) church was illegitimate.”

In the raid, approximately 600 marijuana plants were confiscated and the church branch president, Saul A. Garcia, 39, was arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana illegally and possession for sale.

Garcia spent more than a day in jail before posting bail, but so far, charges have not been filed against him by Sonoma County prosecutors, who requested more time for investigation. His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in Sonoma County Superior Court.

County officials said they have not been served with the lawsuit and declined to be interviewed, but gave an indication of how they view the church’s claim.

“There is not a federally recognized tribe in Kenwood, nor is there Indian trust land. The over 600 mature marijuana plants seized from the property appear more consistent with a drug sale operation than local church sacraments,” County Counsel Bruce Goldstein stated in an email.

It isn’t the first time that members of the church or its founder, James Warren “Flaming Eagle” Mooney, 72, of Utah, have run afoul of law enforcement over the use of substances they consider sacramental, including peyote and cannabis.

Federal law protects the ceremonial use of peyote by Indian religious practitioners.

But in 2000, authorities seized 12,000 peyote buttons from Mooney’s church in Benjamin, Utah, claiming that he wasn’t a member of a federally recognized tribe.

Mooney is a medicine man descended from Seminole Indians in Florida and his church serves the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge South Dakota, according to the church’s court filings in the San Francisco case. In court filings in the Utah case, Mooney claimed that his forefathers deliberately avoided enrollment in tribal organizations to avoid negative consequences such as discrimination, forced migration, denial of property rights and various civil liberties, according to the Deseret News.

In 2004 drug charges were dismissed against him and his wife after the Utah Supreme Court ruled that church members, regardless of race, can use the hallucinogenic cactus — a natural form of mescaline — under a federal exemption incorporated into Utah law.

Besides the peyote exemption for Native American religion, a New Mexico church with Brazilian origins prevailed in 2006 at the U.S. Supreme Court for the sacramental use of hoasca, a hallucinogen also known as ayahuasca, found in the Amazonian rainforest.

But all, or nearly all litigants seeking protection for religious use of marijuana have lost, according to Douglas Laycock, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Virginia. He said marijuana is a huge recreational market and the government’s enforcement interests would be badly damaged if people could claim they were using it religiously.

“Most the cases have been Rastafarians, some of whom claim a religious duty to be high all the time, as compared to the very tightly controlled use in the Native American peyote service and the hoasca service,” he stated in an email.

He said the marijuana cases could change as legalization proceeds, “but I don’t think we’re far enough along that path yet to change the mind of many judges. Marijuana is still federally illegal, and illegal under California law except for medical use.”

Matt Pappas, the Long Beach attorney who represents the Oklevueha Native American Church, acknowledged in a phone interview that he is seeking a groundbreaking court ruling to recognize the sacramental use of marijuana by its members.

He said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress in 1993, which was cited to uphold the use of hoasca by a native church, should also exempt Oklevueha members from California’s marijuana prohibition laws.

In 2000, the church became affiliated with the Huichol tribe, an indigenous people of Sonora, Mexico.

The Huichol not only use peyote, but for centuries used a common form of hemp called “mariguana or rosa maria (Cannabis sativa) in their religious ceremonies,” according to the lawsuit.

“There are many of these tribes that used cannabis in their traditional ceremonies for years. They use it in spiritual healing practices,” Pappas said.

“Laws that substantially burden religions are held to a higher standard of strict scrutiny,” he said, adding that the government has to show a compelling reason when it impinges on a 400-year-old religious practice that incorporates marijuana.

“The law is too broad if it doesn’t provide an exception for those religious rights,” he said.

Although nationally the church is said to have thousands of members, the branch in Kenwood has only a handful of members, according to Scott Richard Bates, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and chief executive officer of the branch.

“We just opened it and immediately started having trouble. We never really got to the point where we were able to start helping people,” Bates said in an interview.

In August, after the members put up a church sign at the driveway off their Lawndale Road location, they were visited by county inspectors who insisted they cease operations until they complied with zoning, business license and sign ordinances, according to the lawsuit.

Then came the sheriff’s raid the next month.

“Our church got wrecked by the planning (department) and the sheriff’s before we could really become established,” Bates said.

He said the purpose of the church “is to feed the hungry and heal the sick,” and its rituals and ceremonies require many marijuana plants to supply edible fresh cannabis, fresh vegetative leaf and flowers.

The church website,, indicates membership is open to anyone who makes a $200 contribution and agrees to a code of ethics and conduct, such as spending time each day in meditation and prayer “drawing closer to the Great Spirit and all of creation, the two leggeds and the four leggeds.”

Bates, 50, who described himself as an unemployed ornamental horticulturist, said church members “have to deal with a medicine person. We have to judge that they are legitimate. We’re not just open to every Tom, Dick and Harry who walk in off the street and say ‘give me some weed.’ We’re a legitimate church.”

“If they use sacramental cannabis as part of their meditation, we would strive to make their sacrament available,” he continued. “If they’re in need of healing to pursue their paths, then we would try to make that healing available to them through our sacraments.”?It’s not intended for people to “pick up their sacraments and make some donation, like a retail transaction,” he insisted. ”We’re trying to be involved in people’s lives and help them heal and pursue God in their own spiritual path according to their manner of choosing.”

In a video posted on You Tube, church founder Mooney said “We’re not focused on drugs. We’re focused on people that have severe damage … what you would go to a psychiatrist for.”

Mooney credited peyote with helping him overcome manic depression and bipolar disorder.

“We have ceremonies that will cure downright everything,” he said in the video.

The civil lawsuit is scheduled for a case management conference March 2 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

News Researcher Janet Balicki contributed to this story. You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or On Twitter@clarkmas.

Offline Sparks

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2016, 04:12:10 am »
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | January 15, 2016, 6:31PM

The whole of Diana's post constitutes the text body of this article:

After Kenwood drug bust, branch of Oklevueha Native American Church seeks court ruling on pot use

Comments have been coming in, at the time of posting here there are 48 of them.

Offline Sparks

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2016, 04:31:25 am »
guess whos back in the spotlight

The full story (with other comments) is here:

Pot and Pretendians
Ruth Hopkins   12/21/15
I’ve heard it dozens of times: folks justify the appropriation of Native culture and the theft of sacred rites and ceremonies by saying there’s no injury; that it’s essentially harmless, or even beneficial.

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney
« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2016, 10:52:39 pm »
Yes, it is in the area of Elbe, where the Pierce, Thurston, and Lewis County borders meet southwest of Mt. Rainier. I'm not sure in which county these characters have their 160 acre encampment, but Elbe itself is in Pierce County.

I know where Elbe is as I have been there many times on my way to either Mt. Rainier or to White Pass.

I also know that many Puyallup and Nisqually people do not take kindly to people doing these things near Mt. Rainier. Most won't go on Mt. Rainier as they consider it sacred IME. I did pass on the link to a Puyallup friend who is going to give it to some of her Elders.