Colombian shaman arrested in TX, charged with Ayahuasca possession

26 10 2010

Help Free A Major Indigenous Leader Imprisoned in the U.S.

From http://www.freetaitajuan.org/

On Tuesday, October 19, 2010 while en route to leading traditional Ayahuasca ceremonies in Oregon, indigenous Colombian healer Juan Agreda Chindoy was detained in the Houston International Airport. He was formally arrested by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for possession of his traditional medicine Ayahuasca. He is now being charged as a federal criminal and is facing up to 20 years in federal prison. Taita Juan is certified by his community and by the Colombian ministry of health as a traditional healer. He is one of the few remaining indigenous spiritual leaders in the world that holds the ancestral medicinal knowledge of an ecosystem that is rapidly disappearing. Taita Juan is a father, a husband and a godfather to more than 20 children. With more than 3000 supporters from several countries in the world, his life and work have touched many.

UPDATE:  ALL CHARGES DROPPED!!   :D

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39 responses

26 10 2010
Juliano

I just do not believe this shit!!!!

29 10 2010
Jerry

In a country that brags about religious freedom this could happen. Here is a link to the supreme court victory for the church is the USA who use this sacred beverage. http://www.udvusa.com/

29 10 2010
Jerry

Satanic religions can practice in this country and non-proselytizing ancient knowledge religions are under prohibition? Where is this country going?

17 11 2010
Jerry

“Charges Against Taita Juan Dropped! (Nov 16th) By:
FreeTaita. It is with gre…at
joy in our hearts that we write to update our community with news that
the criminal charges against Taita Juan have been dropped as of today,
November 16, 2010. At some point withi…n the next couple of days, the court will
begin the process of transferring Taita Juan out of prison and into the
immigration authorities who will make arrangements for his return to
Colombia. We will have more details by the end of today, in the meantime
thank you again for keeping this prayer alive and strong. We did it!” Per ‘Alan Shoemaker’

26 10 2010
Anonymous

unbelievable.

prejudice toward other cultures will not stop until they are all gone. and when they are gone, so too will we be.

we cannot let this happen.

27 10 2010
Microcosm

How does one go about helping this Man? I want to know what we can do as a people to help get him free from this situation. Let’s stand up for our brother.

27 10 2010
Olga

Please donate to taita Juan’s defense fund. It could make a huge difference. Even a couple dollars.

http://www.freetaitajuan.org/

28 10 2010
Anonymous

at this point people are trying to raise funds for a lawyer, and the more media attention it gets the better chance we have to freeing him

29 10 2010
Jerry

Satanic religions can practice in this country and non-proselytizing ancient knowledge religions are under prohibition? Where is this country going? His defense fund is http://www.freetaitajuan.org/

27 10 2010
Juliano

Let me tell you what I have done today for quite a while. I have contacted as many people as I can think of about this disgrace. Those include RealitySadnwish–who I have been told are going to do an article all about it. Danile Pinchbeck, Jermy narby, Ralph metzner, Dennis McKenna–etc etc. I have posted at the psychedelic forums I am member of. So PLEASE do same. It doesn’t matter that I have contacted those names who themselves wil;l have vast contacts. Please also contact them, and ask same—so we can encourage a big and sold support, and of course if you can–send what money you can to help support his legal costs.

I am currently reading a book about the Texas prison system titled Hard Time, and it is very grim to hear human being having to suffer that crap–never mind such a respected Ayahuescero. I beggers belief. I believe the American mindset behind this must be the most pitiful mindset ever to disgrace earth!

peace

27 10 2010
Eagle Spirit Woman

I have had the honor and privelege of being in ceremony with Taita Juan and know the great respect in which he heals people with the medicine. This is a great and unwarranted disjustice done to this innocent man. I pray to the forces that be that he is immediately released. he causes no harm to anyone and the system don’t even remotely know the pain they are causing on this honorable shaman and to his family. I pray to Creator that he is released and that the law sees that this man is truly a healer and not a crimminal.

Love & Blessings to Taita Juan & His family
Eagle Spirit Woman

27 10 2010
......

This makes me sick. This man is far from being a criminal. I wish him the best of luck on his release ASAP!
Peace

27 10 2010
Anonymous

Please donate to taita Juan’s defense fund. It could make a huge difference. Even a couple dollars.
http://www.freetaitajuan.org/

27 10 2010
steve

they also arrested daime people in uk recently, we need to start a petition to legalise our sacred medicine i think?

27 10 2010
Evan 057

Yes, perhaps the time getting ripe to really take this whole entheogenic religious freedom thing to the next level. We should put our thinking caps on and start getting creative.

22 11 2013
Soha

free hug 처럼 불특정 다수에게 higgung을 하는 건 아니지만… 1995년부터 시작한 두란노의 아버지 학교는 남편과 아내, 아버지와 자녀간의 관계를 회복하기 위한 좋은 방법으로 higgung을 추천해 왔답니다.www.father.or.kr 에 함 가보세요.

28 10 2010
Juliano

Yes we should. Let me share a reply I received from Dennis McKenna:
“Dear Juliano,
Another friend already sent me the link to this sad news, and I have forwarded it widely.
I sent to a number of people who may be able to help with money, and also to a few lawyers who may also
be able to help. I am very sorry to hear this, but I suppose that it was inevitable, sooner or later.
Dennis”

I also received a reply from several others including Daniel Pinchbeck who will have many contacts. But people PLEASE keep spreading the word about this, and like they say above send whatever money you can afford. Doesn’t matter if only 2 dollars/punds it WILL all add up the more people do that.

Putting our thinking caps on to know how to end this crime against humanity, all species and eath (because that is what it is essentially). We have to all speak out and show support. That is a first thing. I personally think that many people are generally SO disillusioned with politics and all that that they refuse to protest to suits—and theres much to be said about that. For example–HOW does a suit KNOW of how many people are against what he represents unless they tell him/her? I am not saying this is the only way but has to be lncluded.

I have tried to contact as many people involved with MAPS as possible. I have not received one reply from any of them except Dennis McKenna who has been involved with them. We NEED people who are trying to get psychedelics accepted for healing speaking out for its religious aspect also. I am hoping their silence isn’t some kind of fear that if they speak out it will jepordise their psychedelic ‘studies’ going on. So this means a breaking down of the barrier between ‘spiritual’ healing and ‘medical’ healing. We cannot allow a scenario where one side would worry about competition from another side

So I would love all people here to also send messages to MAPS urging their backing in support of The Columbian Healer, and let the authorities know that what they are doing is learnt FROM the ancient healers and is VERY sacred.

I would also love thoughts from people here as to what we can do to. Talking together is essential!

28 10 2010
David Bryson

This will not stand. I just spoke with Graham Hancock last sunday at COSM and he agreed that we must advocate a new civil liberties movement to defend Mother Earth’s sacred medicine and the religious practitioners who use them. Graham agreed that entheogenic civil disobedience is the next obvious step.

Here we already have a perfect case where the wheels of change can really begin to take on momentum. We must tell every reasonable and kind persons we know of about this grievous tragedy.

Please keep posting about this repeatedly on your facebook pages, do not stop until Taita is released and then we must press even harder for a change in the laws. We must and will win this illegal battle/inquisition against the sacred plant medicines and their religious use.

Let’s push the envelope so hard until we see new laws that protect entheogenic religious practices.

I personally own and run evolvefest. (www.evolvefest.com). I make it public right now that our donation for 2011 will be toward the fund to protect this respected elder and help him regain liberty.

I also hope this movement will go beyond Taito’s release all the way to the Supreme Court to once and for all establish the inalienable right of individuals to practice their entheogenic religion with freedom of conscience and freedom from punishment.

First it was the women, then the blacks, then the gays-now is our time!!!!!

28 10 2010
Matthew

Taita Juan is being detained because a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for him to stand trial for violating a law of the country he was attempting to enter.

So, on a very fundamental level it does not matter if he is a respected elder in his own country, or if he is sanctioned by the Colombian government as a traditional healer. I would also add that he most definitely knew that entering into the US with Ayahuasca was prohibited. What is the defense team to do in the face of this situation. Will the best defense be civil disobedience in the name of healing and spirituality? Is Taita Juan the Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. of plant medicines?

I’d like to echo the sentiments of those in earlier posts who are stressing the importance of this case in respects to the future liberty of medicinal plants. By supporting Taita Juan you are not only supporting his aquital but supporting your own liberty to commune with and seek healing through the use of sacred medicines. Remember, that setting a court precedent is the most efficient way for a law to be reverted. I would also add that Taita Juan’s case, my eyes, is much more prescient a concern than any proposition about “recreational” drug use, because the medicine Taita Juan was carrying with him was a sacrament, never used for recreation. Furthermore, it is a failure of the system that Daime may be legally imported because it is done so by a recognized religious, CHRISTIAN organization, but those who are not connected with the church remain targets (further evidence that the image of the “auca” has still not left us).

So pray for Taita Juan and support his defense in anyway that you can because he has unwittingly become the fulcrum for an enormous issue about liberty, sickness, and spirituality that afflicts our society in the form of draconian laws, and tactics of terror.

28 10 2010
Emily

I have been a court reporter for more than 25 years. The person to contact is the prosecutor. National or international outrage is a factor in that person’s decision of whether to charge a crime. Depending on the state, there are exclusions for possession of indigenous religious use of drugs, such as peyote. Some prosecutors are halfway reasonable, some are interested only in their ‘batting average’ and are psychopaths in suits.
If you get nowhere there, a letter writing campaign to the judge – especially if in his state or county he is elected – can be effective.
Local newspapers, getting citizens there to protest, including getting religious leaders to lend their charisma to the issue, is also a strategy that is effective.

28 10 2010
Juliano

Hi Emily–That is great info. I do hope we can get some organization going on. Some strategy. yes I know of petitions and such, but very rarely if ever have I see a group all come together and agree–eg., OK we need name of the prosecutor, the judge, local papers, citizen groups, religious leaders, possible entheogen groups there, and any psychedelic researchers particularly in TX. because to get this organized means it encourages us all to get stuck in–know what we are doing.
I for example live in UK–so am not familiar with finding out how to contact the prosector, for example

I would LOVE for the prosecutor, etc., to be INUNDATED with mail about this! This would him/her show how many people deeply care.

So I wonder if some one (or a group) could have the role of finding the contacts to contact, and addresses–hopefully emails?

28 10 2010
Juliano

I have just received this message:

“Dear Juliano

Thank you very much for reading this update from us. This morning we were in the process of sending out an invitation to you to join us in Colombia next month. I will share about that with you in just a moment.

Also this morning we received news that a shamanic healer by the name of Taita Juan Agreda Chindoy was imprisoned last week for carrying ayahuasca medicine into the United States for a ceremony that was to take place in Oregon. Several years back there was a court case heard by the Oregon State Supreme Court that ruled in favor of allowing this sacrament to be used in a traditional ceremony in the state of Oregon. Taita Juan is currently being held in Houston, TX.

Taita Juan Agreda ChindoyThis hits very close to home for us because Taita Juan is the son of Warinei’s mentor and teacher Taita Martin. For those of you who have not met Warinei yet, he is a very good friend and shaman that we have worked with for the last 5 years. We are very close to him and his family … they are our Colombian family.

In the indigenous shamanic communities the title ‘Taita’ roughly means ‘grandfather’ and is an address of great respect as an ayahuasca healer. Taita Martin is one of the highest respected elders in Colombia. He is in his late 70’s now and has passed his knowledge to his sons to carry forward. That knowledge is currently sitting in a federal holding cell in Houston, Texas. Please help him.

Here is how you can help, visit the website that was just posted by his supporters to create awareness and raise funds for his legal defense. It is very sad that a man coming to our country to conduct healing ceremonies would be held as a criminal.”

28 10 2010
Angel of God

This makes me sick. Taita Juan is certified by his
community and by the Colombian ministry of health as a traditional healer.
Free Taita Juan, and let him use his medicine in peace.

28 10 2010
Paul

so in the US, only CHRISTIANS get to use peyote and ayahuasca? Isn’t that discrimination?

29 10 2010
Juliano

I don’t know if any of you have seen the David Cronenberg film where peoples heads explode? Well this is what this does to me metaphorically. I mean what we got?–Houston is home to the biggest technology with its hiostory of space flight–this is the 21st century, and yet this can happen?? just like in the days of the fukin ‘religious’ Inquisition of the Medieval period where it also was the case that traditional healers who knew sacred plants were persecuted. So what does this tell us about this ‘ever-so developed’ civlization? That psychologically it hasn’t evolved in any way!

Last night I was thining 1) what is the contact of the prosecutor? (anyone know?) and nervous of what I would write. I know what i would LIKE to write!! But at crucial times like this I get nervous that I want to say what will help, and not to alienate and make the person worse.
I think it is important not to presume he or she is savvy with Indigenous ‘shamanism’ and sacred plants and just be as straightforeward telling them as possible with examples. For example there are amazing articles at RS of personal accounts where people have been healed with Ayahuasca. One was of a woman’s cancer being cured!

29 10 2010
Matthew

In respects to amazing personal accounts about healings with Ayahuasca, who would be the best individuals to convey the information?

Maybe the people who were planning on participating in the Oregon ceremonies should step up and explain to the prosecutor why they wanted Taita Juan to visit their community, taking the risks to carry the medicine. I think that would be a very straightforward manner to convey to the prosecution why Taita Juan was traveling with a controlled substance.

29 10 2010
Matthew

All I mean is that he was not entering the US in order to “push” the substance on any unsuspecting individual or group. He was INVITED by a group who desired the spiritual services that he has an expertise and life-long training in conducting.

29 10 2010
Juliano

I am disgusted the little attention this news has got at Reality Sandwich. ONE reply with an ‘I told you so’ attitude!! This is at a place which is constantly going on about Ayahuasca and healing etc. Somethin aint right with that!

29 10 2010
Dave Bryson

If we don’t have a medicine community that can
pull together effectively in a situation like this- we don’t deserve a
medicine community at all and neither do we deserve the medicine. To not
care and to not take action when a true brother elder is under duress
as in this case, is tantamount to a complete ethical and mo…ral failure
on our part- we who honor the medicine tradition!

29 10 2010
Rev. Bryan Krumm CNP

All I have to say is Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/05pdf/04-1084.pdf
It looks like Ayahuasca will be the next hallucinogen allowed for religious use.

29 10 2010
Juliano

How do you mean—? You mean presenting this pdf to his prosecutor will be enough?

I am still no wiser about gaining info as to how he is, who Taita Juan’s defense is. Who the group are who were expecting him,

Also IF (and I haven’t known about that pdf) it is allowed where he was going how come he is arrested in Texas.

My head is confused. I dont feel there is any organized responsible re-action to this–is my honest opinion. Daniel Pinchbeck and co seem quite up on organizing conferences, and groups being taken down to South America for Ayahuasca sessions with ‘shamans’ etc (I just noticed at RS that the little article about Taita Juan has slipped down the ‘charts’ FOUR places with very few comments whilst right at the top is Daniel’s article telling about a new Ayahuasca meet being organized. That just says it ALL for me!)–but THIS no! I just keep thinking of Taita Juan stuck in that hellhole.

It just so happens that I am currently reading a book about the prison system in Texas, and it is truly *awful*—not that ANY prison is alright. And to think a man in his seventies having to deal with this!!

29 10 2010
Rev Bryan Krumm CNP

This is a supreme court ruling allowing the use of “Hoasca”, a tea made from Ayahuasca, by the UDV church. I guess I should have said it is already legal to use Ayahuasca for religious purposes in the US. I hate Texas. They are just way too oppressive there. He needs a good attorney who will argue the UDV ruling effectively.

30 10 2010
Eric

I think writing letters to the prosecutor and/or judge may be helpful, provided they are articulate and respectful — remember that they are almost certainly much more conservative than we are. But saying that this is a medicine for healing and that it is a legitimate spiritual use rather than a recreational drug, and pointing out that this country was founded on religious freedom seems like it might be effective. Does anyone know how to find out the name/contact info?

Donations to Taita Juan’s legal defense fund can be made at http://www.freetaitajuan.org (every $20 helps!), and there is an address to send letters of support to Taita Juan directly (remember that whatever you say will almost certainly be read by the prison staff also).

Let’s keep spreading the word in the shamanic community…….

30 10 2010
Juliano

Hi Eric, That is a beautifully composed message!

30 10 2010
30 10 2010
David

I am writing because I was moved at your attempts to free Mr. Taita. Although I am currently unemployed and can not make a donation, I have however donated some of my time and made a petition online to help aid you in your efforts. I sincerely hope you achieve your goal if Mr. Taita is innocent and you can read the petition here:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/freetaitachindoy/

Feel free to invite people to sign the petition, the more signatures gained will help your cause.

1 11 2010
Of Gods, Archons, Masters, Gurus, and Shamans, i.e. ‘Dudes in the Know’ Ya Know… « Medi8ing Trends on the Playing Field

[…] Colombian shaman arrested in TX, charged with Ayahuasca possession […]

19 11 2010
Juliano

GREAT NEWS!!!! The charges against Taita Juan have been dropped:

“Charges Against Taita Juan Dropped! (Nov 16th)
By: FreeTaita

It is with great joy in our hearts that we write to update our community with news that the criminal charges against Taita Juan have been dropped as of today, November 16, 2010. At some point within the next couple of days, the court will begin the process of transferring Taita Juan out of prison and into the immigration authorities who will make arrangements for his return to Colombia. We will have more details by the end of today, in the meantime thank you again for keeping this prayer alive and strong. We did it! ”

YES!!!

peace

Juliano

24 11 2013
Kodok

1st/ Read iah48 s comment to you. 2nd/ I am NOT lisintg conspiracy theories I am lisintg proven scientific facts or declassified GOVERNMENT documents. You know, the big guy that everybody seems to love and trust so much. As I keep saying, GOOGLE is your best friend, look it all up and don’t take my word for it. Unless you’re too lazy/busy and would rather put your trust in a media that serves corporate interests. If so, more power to you. Just don’t expect me to entertain your theories

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