NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH FEARS LOSS OF DRUG AS PEYOTE DISTRIBUTORS 05/23/99 FORT DEFIANCE, Ariz. (AP) _ Each year, hundreds of Native Americans from Arizona drive for days to southern Texas to visit one of six Hispanics who play an integral role in the Indians' religion. The visitors come to buy peyote _ a drug that could cost them years in prison if they were non-Indian or if they were not members of the Native American Church. Arizona members of the church, which claims about 70,000 members on the Navajo Reservation and as many as 250,000 nationwide, have been making the trek for decades to buy from the handful of people licensed by Texas to sell the drug. But now leaders of the church say that times are changing. The number of distributors has been decreasing, and the recent Texas droughts have reduced the number of cactuses from which the sacred peyote buttons are harvested. In addition, Texas officials are considering changing the law _ a move that some church supporters welcome, but which others fear may drive even more of the remaining distributors out of business. "We're not trying to make it harder for NAC members to purchase the buttons," said Tracie Svehlak, supervisor in the Texas registration office. "We want to make sure that members do not have problems with law enforcement officials when they are returning home or purchasing the buttons through the mail." Peyote, which comes from a cactus that grows only in southern Texas and northern Mexico, contains mescaline, a drug that causes hallucinations when ingested. It was a popular illegal drug during the 1960s, but today its popularity among non-Indians has been surpassed by other drugs that are easier to get, cheaper and lacking the bitter taste. It continues to be an important part of the ceremonies for church members, who say that ingestion during prayers results in certain mental and physical effects that allow members to commune with God. Congress has recognized this by giving church members an exemption under the Native American Religious Freedom Act to continue practicing their religious ceremonies the same way they have for generations. Currently, there are six men and women licensed by the state of Texas to harvest and distribute the peyote buttons. Last year, according to state figures, the distributors made $205 to $97,111 for their efforts. A total of 673,213 buttons were sold for a total cost to church members of $277,119. These figures concern Jerry Patchen, a Houston attorney who has provided free legal help to the church for the past 30 years. He thinks any major changes in the laws regarding distribution could have a negative effect on church members. "The changes being considered would require a great deal more paperwork to be done by the distributors, who are Spanish and know very little English," he said. "If you make the paperwork too much worse, many may decide it's just not worth the time and effort." Svehlak admits that what the distributors make isn't very much, especially since they have to pay for the cost of harvesting the buttons and provide security to make sure that the buttons don't wind up in the hands of non-church members. She said she feels that the extra precautions the state is proposing _ like requiring buyers to have more documentation proving they are bona fide members of the church _ only provide buyers more protection, even though law-enforcement agencies in Texas and Arizona say their officers make few arrests for illegal possession of the drug. And while Patchen may have concerns, church officials seem happy to see the state take the lead in making existing laws tougher. "We know that there are groups or individuals who would like to be able to buy peyote for non-religious purposes and we want the laws to be tough enough to stop that," said Victor Clyde, vice-president of the Native American Church of Navajo land. After all, it was only a few years ago that a group of non-Indians, many from Arizona, attempted to start their own version of the church and tried to get permission to purchase the drug legally. The federal courts, however, rejected their argument that if it was permitted for one group of American citizens, it should be for all. Emerson Jackson, who was president of the Native American Church of North America for 14 years, said he and others in the church think that the sale of peyote from members to non-Indians is only a minor problem at the present time. "But we're worried that this abuse may increase in the future if something isn't done to curb it now," Jackson said. If nothing is done by the church or the state to institute these curbs, Jackson said he was afraid that federal authorities would enact new laws restricting its use. "And that's the last thing we want to see happen," he said. The 12-by-24-foot White Shaman is filled, not with battle imagery as previously thought, but with references to Lophophora williamsii, the hallucinogenic peyote cactus. The scene depicts five people engaged in the ritual harvesting of the drug, which some contemporary Native American groups believe can open the way to the spirit world. The painting features five humanlike figures linked by a cord, along with animals, arrows, squiggly lines and dots. In essence, it was an instructional billboard intent on unifying the group and preserving its traditions. The Museum of Texas Tech will host Summer Youth Classes for children beginning in June. The hands-on classes cover subjects like astronomy, creative art, paper making, geology, wildlife, dinosaurs, insects, puppets, architecture, kite making, painting, spinning, weaving and sculpture, as well as archaeology lessons at Lubbock Lake Landmark. For details call 742-2432, or e-mail Hide scrapers, "tinkler" bells, musket balls, military buttons and fragments of howitzer shells are helping define the exact location of the 1864 massacre. Archaeologists and surveyors have scanned miles of the creek with metal detectors for traces of an Indian village, ammunition and trade goods used in 1864 that would mark the precise site. The fragments of metal, tools and other artifacts will be sent to a National Park Service lab for analysis. The Park Service has until July 2000 to verify the massacre site, report to Congress on the site's historical significance and write a management plan. Mesa Verde National Park, with one of the largest concentrations of archeological sites in the world, is also arguably the most significant historical resource in the United States. Today, 24 Native American tribes hold ancestral claims on the land and the protected artifacts and cliff dwellings that lie within its boundaries. Before the Europeans settled the American Southwest, there were 275 tribes with the same connection. A pair of 19th-century ranchers looking for lost cows stumbled upon the magical legacy of an ancient people. On Dec. 18, 1888, Richard Wetherill and Charles Mason tracked their livestock to the edge of a canyon atop Mesa Verde and made a discovery that would change the future of Colorado's past. The Anasazi were savvy engineers who constructed a massive reservoir and canal to capture rare heavy rains. They were successful farmers; by 1050, their communities extended from the Grand Canyon to the Upper Pecos and throughout Southern Colorado. Their golden age lasted 200 years. And then they were gone. Gustav Eric Adolf Nordenskiold packed up his collection and headed back to Europe, a trip delayed by two weeks in Durango after an irate citizens' committee objected to the idea of a foreigner taking prehistoric treasures out of the country. But the courts ruled that there was no law to stop him. Today, Nordenskiold's artifacts are displayed at the National Museum of Helsinki, Finland. The incident helped stir a movement to preserve the ruins as a park. On June 29, 1906, the conservation-minded Theodore Roosevelt signed a bill making Mesa Verde a national park -- the only park in the world created for no other reason than to preserve the legacy of a prehistoric people. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, on a tour of Southwest Colorado on Monday, said he will seek federal money to help protect 156,000 acres of public land west of Cortez that is home to the highest density of archaeological sites in the nation.,1249,100002648,00.html? Camp Floyd State Park contains a few spots of historical interest, including a restored commissary and inn, as well as a one-room schoolhouse. All date back to July 1858 when a U.S. Army detachment was sent by President Buchanan to stop a perceived Mormon rebellion.

MORMON CHURCH BEGINS PUTTING GENEALOGICAL RECORDS ON INTERNET 05/24/99 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ It's a virtual forest of family trees. A Web site put together by the Mormon church lists 400 million names of people who lived as long ago as 1500, many of them with pedigree charts. The site,, is a genealogist's dream. It will allow online users to research whether their ancestors include pioneers or immigrants, villains or soldiers, princesses or tailors. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' also plans to add millions more names this year from its records on 2 billion dead people, the largest collection of genealogical data in the world. The Web site has been accessible since it began testing on April 1, with improvements made along the way. It was to be formally unveiled today. "Seeking to understand our family history can change our lives. It helps bring unity and cohesion to families," church President Gordon B. Hinckley said today as the site was formally unveiled. "We're grateful to be able to make a significant contribution to this great process," he said. Even before the kinks were worked out, the site was a hit. The test site received 2 million visits on its first day and has had more than 7 million hits per day since then. After word spread over the weekend, the site was being hit today at a rate of 30 million for a 24-hour period. For more than a century, the Mormon church has dispatched members throughout the world to copy, photograph and microfilm parish and civil records. The goal is to help members find names of ancestors to baptize by proxy, an ordinance that Mormons believe gives the dead the opportunity to embrace the faith in the afterlife. The records, now all on microfilm, are stored in a granite vault in the Wasatch Mountains 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake, and copies are at the Mormon Family History Library downtown. "We thought the Internet would be a major step forward in making it easier, especially for members, but for everyone involved in family history, to collaborate," said Elder D. Todd Christofferson, executive director of the church's Family History Department. The site also has what amounts to a card catalog to the church's Family History Library _ everything from immigrant ship passenger lists to homestead records to births and deaths. To verify their online research, users can look at microfilm of the original records or by ordering a copy at one of the church's 3,200 Family History Centers worldwide. Christofferson said the church uses volunteers to screen other genealogy Web sites, and a search engine will look in 4,000 of those as well as in church sources. The Mormon church will not accept advertising, and access to the genealogical data is free, at least for the time being. "If we do end up charging, it would be a break even," to pay costs and expand, Christofferson said. Hinckley said the venture has cost the church "a very great deal." "We did not get involved in this undertaking for monetary gain of any kind," he said. "Our motives are to help members of the church and others find their roots." Bay Area archaeologist Pastron claims that the city ignored his recommendation to conduct a full-scale excavation -- which could cost up to $3 million and take up to three months. Instead, they fired him and hired another firm, which plans to use a mechanical sifter to screen remains. Pastron's abrupt dismissal and a city-announced plan to train two Native American "monitors" who lack archaeological experience has provoked a controversy that appears to be mushrooming. One Ohlone descendant believes the city is playing archaeologists against interested members of the Native American community by portraying archaeologists as grave robbers without cultural conscience. As part of their research, Rudin and Twichell hunted down the last map done by surveyors walking the dried riverbed in 1935. "I was stunned," Twichell said of the roads, mines and other archaeological wonders at the bottom of today's lake. Indian trails dating back more than 5,000 years, a turquoise mine and the town of St. Thomas are part of the rich history. In the mid-l800s, each spring, mountain men would head to town to rendezvous with other mountain men for days and nights of unending revelry. Rendezvous Days, one of Williams' biggest events, takes place May 28-30, over Memorial Day Weekend, with the majority of the events in the downtown area of Route 66. Scottsdale Mayor Sam Campana wants voters' blessing for a cultural theme park. She plans to ask voters Sept. 7 if developers can keep sales taxes to help pay for a proposed $1 billion mall of museums in downtown Scottsdale along the Arizona Canal's south bank. Essentially, voters would be deciding whether the project -- billed as a cultural mecca anchored by a Smithsonian-affiliated museum -- should fly.

RECEPTION RAISES $237,000 FOR PRESERVATION 05/24/99 SANTA FE (AP) _ A reception that featured first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $237,000 for Cornerstones Community Partnerships, a group that works to save New Mexico's old churches. The nonprofit organization expects a few more donations from last week's event, enough to bring the total to $250,000, Beth Johnson, Cornerstones' executive director, said today. Mrs. Clinton spoke briefly Thursday night at an invitation-only reception at the Santa Fe studio of sculptor Glenna Goodacre to benefit Cornerstones, which teaches volunteers to restore landmark churches. Mrs. Clinton's visit to Santa Fe was part of a four-day swing through the Southwest to encourage the preservation of historic sites and art. She also visited Acoma Pueblo and statue at a site near downtown Albuquerque. Cornerstones teaches communities how to repair adobe architecture in the traditional way. It has helped communities around the state repair old churches and community centers, most of them adobe, since its inception in 1986 under the name Churches: Symbols of Community. Last year, Cornerstones published the Adobe Architecture Conservation Handbook, detailing techniques of building and repairing adobe architecture. The book gives advice on how to keep adobe from deteriorating, how to patch holes and how to keep adobe walls from caving in. It has sections on how to install wood floors and drainage and how to make adobe bricks. It even includes ways to remove pigeon poop. The Museum of Archaeology is the most serious attraction you'll find on the Turquoise Trail. Dioramas depict an archaeological dig, and displays show artifacts from prehistoric times to the late 19th century. This indoor stuff is nice, but just as evocative is a pile of dirt in the museum's front yard. Museum founder Bradley Bowman has built a Basketmaker pit house, the type used by American Indians for hundreds of years. Visitors can climb down a wooden ladder to try to imagine living in this damp underground home. A few miles away lies Sandia Cave, which may be the earliest-known human shelter in North America. The cave, discovered by Boy Scouts, was excavated in the 1930s by archaeologist Frank Hibben. The celebrated discovery made national news and the cave was declared a National Historic Site. Now some scientists question the findings. "The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America" is a sweeping look at Native Americans from Columbus to today. British archaeologists have discovered a vast 1,400-year-old lost city deep in the jungles of southern Mexico. Remains found so far suggest the previously unknown ancient Maya metropolis may have covered up to 12 square miles, making it one of the largest cities in the world at that time. The expedition, from the University of East London, has also discovered what is probably the remains of six other previously unknown pyramids on the site tentatively identified from data picked up during detailed aerial reconnaissance.