Mescal, peyote and the red bean; a peculiar conceptual collision in early modern ethnobotany.
“…we will also explore some persistent elements that have been carried over from those early years of modern drug prohibition in the process of transforming the imposition of religious ideaology into matters of secular public health and safety.”
During the late 19th and early 20th century, an unlikely blurring of several ethnobotanicals occurred; leaving in its wake a lasting legacy of confusion tangled with the efforts to eradicate indigenous cultures and replace them with a body of productive Christian farmers. An effort to unravel the origins of that confusion lead to a remarkable look at the collision of those plants with Western religious ideology fueled by wild and reckless use of public media by prohibitionists to deliberately shape public opinions and influence national policy by stimulating the appearance of proscriptive legislations against peyote. This activity first occurred on the reservations and then was nationally coordinated by reform-oriented organizations to gain legislation at both the state and federal levels. Much of our modern era of the “drug war” and the federal regulatory machinery appeared during this era as a direct result of religious ideology becoming enshrined by law following the third “Great Awakening”. That event stimulated a worldwide prohibitionist effort obsessed with completely ridding the world of all intoxicants (from cocoa to coca and beyond) which played a curiously pivotal role in our topic. In that discussion, we will also explore some persistent elements that have been carried over from those early years of modern drug prohibition in the process of transforming the imposition of religious ideaology into matters of secular public health and safety.