Chief Cloudpiler of the Nemenhah Native American Band explains (5 minutes)

How Does Adoption Protect You?

The federal government is not allowed opinion regarding religion and the rights of indigenous people and must rule according to international law. International Law is strongly on the side of Indigenous Tribes. In a real sense they are a country within a country, with their own laws about practices and beliefs regarding religion, healing, lands and ceremony. Under these laws, the FDA has no jurisdiction over their religious or healing practices, nor do the courts. These laws have been tested in local, state and federal court and won under “pre-eminent treaty”--that Native Americans are free to practice their religion.

Two books that teach these principals are: “Indigenous Peoples and International Law,” Second Edition, James Anaya, Oxford University Press, 2004. And also: “Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” edited by Duncan, Patton and Sanders, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

The Chief explains the legalities (10 minutes)

What Is Adoption?

ADOPTION into the Band (we are not a tribe) is based on centuries old legal precedence and is recognized as legal by all courts of law. You do not have to have any Indian heritage, you can be of any race, breed, color or belief to be adopted into the Nemenhah Native American Band. There are only a few requirement:

  1. Visit, print the application and send to the address on the form.
  2. You must be able to say honestly that “Above all, you will do no harm.”
  3. You can say that natural healing is part of your personal belief system, and that healing is spiritual in nature (not just a job or commerce).
  4. You are comfortable helping people move from a place of disease or illness (or just yourself and your family) as a Nemenhah Medicine Man or Woman. When you send in your application you will receive a certificate and a small card you carry in your wallet. Effective immediately, you are a Medicine Man or Woman. The card alone will not serve as your "diplomatic immunity" if you are ever brought before a court. Should that happen, you will need to be able to say that you are a Nemenhah Medicine Man/Woman and you will need to have your bundle with you and demonstrate how you use it for the court to dismiss your case. (See video below medicine man video.)

What Is A Medicine Man/Woman?

Regarding the historical Nemenhah Band, their heritage as healers included travel throughout the Americans to add to their knowledge various healing modalities learned from other Indian healers and tribes. The principles and teaching of this band were archived in 1957 and go back to around 250 BC. Thus the knowledge of medicine and healing was always emerging. Because healing was and is a process of “emergence”, therefore any present or future belief system and healing system could be adopted and adapted as valid Nemenhah native healing. This is important in that new modalities are recognized as they have emerged. Thus all forms of natural healing are covered and included.

The Ceremony & The Medicine Bundle, The Basis of Protection

The ceremony is something you do to incorporate your own beliefs about healing. You might think of the ceremony as your personal prayer about healing and spiritual growth. Remember, this is YOUR personal beliefs. Nemenhah does not and will not dictate any belief system beyond the fact that Natural Medicine is part of our Religion. Your bundle contains the items that represent or symbolize (literally or metaphorically) the therapies, modalities or beliefs you use or believe in for healing and spiritual growth. Keep in mind that the Chief uses a pipe and smokes certain herbs (not tobacco or marijuana) as part of his ceremony, but you do not have to use a pipe in your ceremony. You can glean from the items and methods the chief uses in his ceremony or create your own. There is no item or ritual that your ceremony must duplicate, make it your very own.

A Bundle Ceremony

Technicalities of Practicing as a Legal and Protected Medicine Man/Woman

  • All spaces that advertise you need to list you as a Medicine Man/Woman before you list your other certifications.
  • Consider a "recommended donation" rather than a set "fee." You may list what you believe the donation amount can be.

Recent Cases Proving the Protection that comes with Adoption

They already have their own judges and attorneys who are members and natural healers. As indigenous members with a proven Indian bloodline they have set up their own Constitution, Councils and courts of law.


  • State of Utah vs James FE Mooney (Okelvueha Native American Church of Utah) Utah Supreme Court found unanimously in favor of Mooney. Ruling in favor for Oklevueha Native American Church. Nemenhah Band is synonymous with Okelvueha Native American Church of Sanpete.
  • Gonzales vs O Centro de Espiritu Vegetal - before the United States Supreme Court. Unanimous finding in favor of the Native American Church.
  • California vs Laurie Jessop - California Dependency Court, case dismissed.
  • Bureau of Land Management vs Maca Oyate Sundance Society of Nemenhah Band. Settled out of court. Management of not the 80 acres in question but 500 acres was awarded to the Nemenhah.
  • FDA proceedings dropped against Chanantea - manufacturer of Nemenhah Certified Sacrament.

Chief Cloudpiler comments: We don't want there to be many of these cases, and we are constantly giving thanks that there are not. Enough is, after all, enough.

Am I Joining A Religion By Joining the Nemenhah Band?

No. The Nemenhah is not a religious organization or Native American Tribe as one might think of from watching movies. They are a traditional Native American Band with a belief system that revolves around emergence, as described in the video clip. No matter what your current belief system, you can probably say that you believe in becoming a better person, in helping others become a better person. How you chose to do that is your personal belief and it will not be infringed on or judged or swayed in any way. You might say that joining the Nemenhah band is like having a drivers license which gives you the right to drive but does not mean you believe what the government officials believe.

A Christian Perspective To Native American Religion (PDF)