Recognizing Religious Freedom 1978

Religious freedom in the United States is a hallmark of American liberty; however, the United States has not always been tolerant of all religions at all times. Believing that Native Americans needed to become Christians before they could fully assimilate into Euro-American society, Federal Indian policies often repressed indigenous beliefs and practices, at times banning them completely.

The move towards self-determination led Government policymakers to recognize American Indians’ right to religious freedom. Furthermore, free practice of traditional indigenous religions was an important step on the path to achieving self-determination.