Code of Ethics and Conduct for ONAC and IOCCHURCH Members
General Principles and Indigenous Spiritual Practices
The world–wide IOCCHURH Oklevueha Native American Church (IOCCHURCH) and its Branches are dedicated to the revival and preservation of Ancestral Indigenous Native Earth–Based Honoring Cultures, Religions, Lifestyles, Sacred Rituals, Healing Sacraments and Loving Humanitarian Codes of Ethics and Conduct that protect Mother Earth and all of her living beings from desecrations, pollutions or abuses for economic gains.
IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church and her branches accept all natural organic plants as Healing Sacraments. These plants have been used for thousands of years and are central to our established religious beliefs and sacred ceremonies. These include: a. Peyote – the significant Indigenous Earth–Based Healing Sacrament (Eucharist) for this church. b. Any other Indigenous Earth–Based Healing Sacrament (Cannabis, San Pedro, Ayahuasca, mushrooms and etc.) that has been found to benefit the health and welfare of recipients, so long as it does not place them in harm’s way. NOTE: IOCCHURCH requires prior approval for any IOCCHURCH Medicine Person or branch wishing to lead any Ayahuasca Healing Ceremonies.
Spiritual Facilitating Leaders (Medicine Man/Woman) of IOCCHURHC Oklevueha Native American Church are known by a variety of sacred callings: Chasta, Clergy, Curandera, Doctor, Elder, Mara’akame, Reverend, Roadman, Sacred Prayer Pipe Carrier, Water Pourer, Shaman, Indigenous Ceremonial Leader, etc. Those who are guided by Great Spirit and who are experienced in some Ancestral American Native Spiritual Empowering and/or Healing practices and who act to facilitate the spiritual practices of others are honored with these titles.
An IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church Medicine Person (Spiritual and Indigenous Ceremonial Leader) need not claim exclusive or definitive knowledge of his or her practice, since wisdom and competencies are frequently developed over years of observation and experience but must be approved to do this work either by their branch leadership council or by the leadership of IOCCHURCH. Responsibility to assure that those who act as IOCCHURCH Medicine people (Spiritual and Indigenous Ceremonial Leaders) are trained, responsible and have the wisdom and integrity to conduct ceremonies and those who choose to work with sacraments rests with the branch leadership. (See special NOTE on those who choose to work with Ayahuasca sacraments above.)
Even though one of Oklevueha Native American Church’s primary purposes is to administer Sacramental Ceremonies, an Oklevueha Native American Church Medicine Person or Indigenous Ceremonial Leader is free to choose not to administer a sacred sacrament during any particular Ancestral Indigenous Earth–Based American Native Ceremony.
The IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church (IOCCHURCH) respects all empowerment and healing modalities; including: Indigenous Spiritual Ceremonies, allopathic medicines, naturopathic and integrative complimentary medicines. IOCCHURCH Honors the fundamental Hippocratic principle of “Do No Harm to the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional and/or Physical Being” of any of our Earthly relations. It recognizes that each healing and empowering modality is intended to promote the optimal health and well–being of the participant. It believes that all forms of care can be incorporated into empowerment and/or healing for all of our relations, in a complementary and integrated manner.
Oklevueha Native American Church makes absolutely no claims about being in authority or having the ability to conduct saving ordinances. Oklevueha Native American Church is part of an indigenous Native Spiritual Earth Based Healing and Empowering International Collective that serves individuals and the wider community whenever and wherever an IOCCHURCH member resides. IOCCHURCH is authorized to do this sacred work by a special blessing from both Leslie Fool Bull and Richard Swallow of the Lakota Sioux nation.
Oklevueha Native American Church is committed to growth by attraction through service rather than proselytizing for membership.
All Oklevueha Native American Church Indigenous Ceremonies of North, Central and South America (Birth, Breath, Holy Anointing, Marriage, Passing Over, Prayer Pipe, Sacrament, Spirit Dance, Sun Dance, Sweat Lodge, Earth Connecting Ceremonies and Vision Quests) may include or facilitate extreme mental, emotional and physical transformations. Therefore, when a member chooses to participate in any Ancestral Indigenous Earth–Based American Native Ceremony with the assistance of an Oklevueha Native American Church Medicine Person or Spiritual Leader, both take on special responsibilities and understandings. Both members and facilitating leaders should be aware of their responsibilities and those of the people they are working with.
A1) INSPIRATION AND CHANGE. Efforts should be made to ensure that IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church Spiritual Practices are always inspired and conducted in ways that respect the common good, with due regard for public safety, health, and order. Medicine People shall use special care in assisting the direction of energies of those whom they serve, as well as their own energies, in responsible ways that reflect a loving and respectful regard for all life.
A2) EXISTING CONDITIONS. Disclosures previous to ceremony shall include, at a minimum, discussion of any elements of the ceremony that could reasonably be seen as presenting physical or psychological risks. In particular, first time Authorized Participants must be advised that American Native Ceremonies can be difficult and dramatically transforming.
A3) WATCHFULNESS. The Medicine People will monitor the Health and Safety of participants during the ceremony and the few hours of vulnerability that may follow a ceremony carefully and with reasonable preparations. They will also insure that all those who participate in ceremony or personal counseling where controlled substances are present are members of Oklevueha NAC. If the person in question does not have a valid membership card, the leaders/medicine people will verify the standing of the person in questions with the main office of IOCCHURCH before allowing them to participate.
A4) INCLUSIVENESS. IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church ceremonies are to be conducted in the spirit of service. Medicine People accommodate Members and Authorized Participants without regard to race, religious affiliations, gender, cultural background, financial status, and/or political affiliations.
A5) VULNERABILITY. IOCCHURCH and Oklevueha Native American Church Medicine People are aware during ceremony that Members and Authorized Participants may be especially open to suggestion. Medicine People pledge to protect participants and not to allow anyone to use that vulnerability in ways that harm themselves or others.
For IOCCHURCH Members
B1) PREPARATION AND SAFETY. Each participant in IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church ceremonies must agree to comply with all directions or instructions concerning the safety and well-being of all in attendance, from one-hour prior, during, and three hours after ceremonies being conducted by an IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church Medicine Person.
B2) LIFE CHANGES. Often, the increased awareness gained from American Native Spiritual and Indigenous Ceremonies will catalyze a desire in the participants’ lives for personal and social change. In most cases, these changes should only be made after deep introspection and consideration as to how they will affect the other beings connected to the participant.
B3) EXISTING CONDITIONS. IOCCHURCH Members agree to disclose to the IOCCHURCH Spiritual Leaders any previous conditions prior to any ceremony that might be affected in any way during a ceremony, including, at a minimum, discussion of any concerns as to how those conditions could be reasonably be seen as presenting physical or psychological risks. IOCCHURCH Members also agree to disclose to the IOCCHURCH Spiritual Leaders any previous conditions they are aware of in other participants that might affect a ceremony.
B4) WATCHFULNESS. IOCCHURCH Members agree to assist the Medicine People in monitoring the Health and Safety of all participants during the ceremony and the few hours of vulnerability that may follow a ceremony.
B5) CONSENT OF PARTICIPANT. The autonomy and dignity of each Member and/or Authorized Participant are to be respected and preserved by Oklevueha Native American Church Medicine People and Indigenous Ceremonial Leaders. Participation in any Oklevueha Native American Church Ceremony must be voluntary and based on prior disclosure and consent given by each participant while in an ordinary rational state of consciousness.
For IOCCHURCH Leaders and Members
C1) RESPECT. IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church Leaders and Members agree to conduct themselves in ways that cultivate awareness, empathy, and wisdom for all Members during ceremonies. IOCCHURCH Members also agree to respect, empower and continually support the IOCCHURCH Medicine People and Indigenous Ceremonial Leaders as they serve the IOCCHURCH Community.
C2) LIMITATIONS. Limits on the behaviors between IOCCHURCH Members and IOCCHURCH Medicine People and Indigenous Ceremonial Leaders are to be made clear and agreed upon in advance of any Indigenous American Native Ceremony.
C3) MINORS. Those under 18 years old will not be admitted to ceremonies where controlled substances are present unless all of the following requirements are fulfilled. A) The medicine person gives specific permission for their attendance, B) A parent or legal guardian attends with them and takes full responsibility for their care and well-being, C) The minor person is a member of Oklevueha NAC, and D) A document stating these things is signed by all affected parties.
C4) CONFIDENTIALITY AND CUSTOMS. Cultural / religious customs and confidentiality of all participants are to be accepted and honored by all IOCCHURCH members.
C5) ABUSE NOT PROTECTED. IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church has zero tolerance for and abhors any manner of physical and/or sexual abuse of any under aged person, and any abuse and/or exploitation of ANY person in any physical and/or sexual form. The violation of this fundamental Ethic by any IOCCHURCH member will subject the violator to the full consequences of the Laws of the Land.
C6) SACRAMENTS UNDER DIRECTION OF MEDICINE PEOPLE. Members of Oklevueha Native American Church agree that any substance admitted into the body may be considered to be a sacrament. Some of those substances have the potential to be harmful if inappropriately used. The Oklevueha Native American Church does not approve of the utilization of any sacrament in a manner that would be likely to cause harm to one’s self or to others.
Therefore, members agree that “Controlled” substances must be used under the direction of IOCCHURCH Medicine People (Sacramental Ceremonial Leaders) to be legally protected. This direction extends to their personal private use when not in ceremony or direct contact with the medicine people. Members agree that sacraments/medicines should always be stored in such a way that they are not available to those who are not members or are not under the direction of medicine people. Personal or recreational use of any controlled substances is not encouraged and may remove some legal protections unless such is indicated by the member’s spiritual advisor or medicine person as being part of their spiritual and healing practice. If the leader does make such indication, they share in the legal responsibility for such use.
C7) INCLUSIVENESS. Oklevueha Native American Church ceremonies are to be conducted in the spirit of service. IOCCHURCH Members agree to participate in ceremonies respecting all participants and leaders without regard to race, religious affiliations, gender, cultural background, financial status, and/or political affiliations.
C8) LEGAL STANDING. Members and branch leaders including medicine people do not have legal standing to represent or involve Oklevueha Native American Church (IOCCHURCH). NO legal actions (including lawsuits, civil actions, and legal complaints, among others) taken by members and leaders can indicate that the church is part of that action. Any situation where legal actions require the involvement of IOCCHURCH must be handled by IOCCHURCH and by their legal representatives. Any legal action that includes the word “Oklevueha”, even when the word is part of the name of the branch, must specifically indicate that the action is being taken by the branch and not by the general church or its leaders or members.
Code of Conduct for IOCCHURCH Oklevueha Native American Church Members
1) I commit to living a Sacred Earth–Honoring Lifestyle which Embodies the IOCCHURCH Principles of: Gratitude, Humility, Faith, Respect, Honor, Charity and Forgiveness.
2) I commit to making effort to spend time each day in meditation and prayer, drawing closer to the Great Spirit and all of creation, Mother Earth, her living beings, such as: the Mountains, Rocks, Trees, Streams, Rivers, Lakes, Water Systems, Oceans, Father Sky, Winged Creatures, all two-leggeds and four-leggeds.
3) I commit to only use the sacred indigenous medicines and ceremonies to empower my body, mind and spirit and to serve myself and others and thereby create peace and harmony in my relationships.
4) I commit that I will keep the ceremonies and what is shared there by others sacred, not sharing it outside the circle.
5) I commit that I will understand my responsibility to financially sustain and support those who bless me. I will remember that medicine people and leaders have lives and families that need their time and they need to provide for them. I will be respectful and generous as they support and assist me.
6) I understand that being a member of IOCCHURCH puts me in the position where people may judge the organization by my actions and words. I will not do things that reflect badly on IOCCHURCH and our other members. I will use public media in a positive and respectful way, not criticizing other members or violating the sacred trusts developed in the Oklevueha Native American Church (IOCCHURCH) family circles. This includes social media, interviews and other public forums. If I have criticisms or concerns with another member, I will work it out with them directly or through my leaders within Oklevueha
7) I will never share sacraments with or sell medicines to those who are not members of IOCCHURCH. I understand that doing so removes my legal protection and exposes me to prosecution.
8) I agree not to disrespect the medicines and sacraments by using them for any recreational or abusive purposes.
9) I will never manipulate or take advantage of others emotionally, sexually, mentally, spiritually or physically that are in the open state during and after ceremonies or while using sacramental medicines.
I agree to abide by the new Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct of IOCCHURCH Oklevueha NAC
Though part of our ministry is the performing of wedding ceremonies a look at our MINISTRIES page outlines our full line of church services/ ministries. But first let us look at legal authority, and how ordination grants the Minister such rights via our church. Legal authority is not the same as God's authority. While God made the universe, man has tried to regulate it. God ordains all of us within the word. This word gives us the authority to solemnize the weddings of others and ourselves but man has once more decided that He knows more than God in most ways. When we look at Federal and State laws we find religious organizations are given special authority under the rights of religious practices. This is not the case in all countries. Some countries only allow persons appointed by the State to perform weddings, often done only within a civil ceremony. In the U.S., Ministers along with many elected officials have the ability to perform legal weddings of both religious and civil nature. Religion has the authority as well as the State to appoint representatives to provide legal services. The IOCCHURCH, by right of Constitutional Law, ordains persons of all faiths after intense training. WE ARE NOT AN ONLINE ORDINATION MILL. Training and vetting is involved. Our baord of directors MUST approve all who seek ordination through our church. This authority carries as much legal weight as any other religious organization in this country. This authority may not be taken away without congress revoking the First Amendment, and all of our freedoms. The scary side of this is that politicians are constantly trying to steal our freedoms. Each State has given itself the right to determine through law who may perform weddings. Most States continue to follow the Constitution and not attempt to remove God's authority by legislating away the Ministers authority. Some States do require additional proof before allowing the Minister to provide wedding services. Though this is an infringement of God's law, it is one we as religious people can deal with. In cases where States require proof of religious authority, we offer official credentials for a minor price to share the costs of the Ministries. A few States go further with their laws, so we send a letter of authority for our Ministers in those areas. No State can legally remove our constitutional authority, so they make us prove ourselves more worthy than their elected officials. Once the Minister meets the requirements of the State, and county they live in it now becomes necessary for the Minister to have a plan to work under. Ministers that wish to provide weddings, or any kind of religious rites are responsible for knowing the laws of the State and county in which they work in. The Universal Ministries are not responsible for Ministers not checking the laws that they must work under. We provide in our Faq Section the basics of each State, and suggest that every Minister check with the county they plan to provide services in. The IOCCHURCH will not accept responsibility for Ministers that do not comply with local laws. Each Minister must file according to the laws of the area, and handle all filings and licenses as stated within the legal codes of the County and State they are working in at any given time. It is a crime in every State for a person to provide marriage services without legal authority. A marriage service may be found to be illegal if the Minister does not meet with the local laws, and carry severe legal and civil actions. What are some of the ways that a marriage service may be found illegal and possibly void under law? Ministers that try to help someone get around immigration laws by marrying a couple with the intent to receive legal residence by one party through marrying a citizen of this country. This is a violation of federal immigration codes, and the Minister found guilty of intentional abuse of the codes will be prosecuted. Intentionally providing services without a legal marriage license as a binding marriage contract, performing services without legal consent for a minor beneath the legal age laws, providing services for someone legally incompetent, legally intoxicated, or for some other reason unable to cognisently be joined with another. Performing same sex marriages where prohibited by law as a legal service. (Services may be performed if both parties understand that the service is not legally binding under law.) Solemnizing a wedding when one or both parties are known to be legally married to a third party. In every State, a contract of marriage is a legal contract where both parties have a valid and vested interest in joining with each other. Though there are usually emotional feelings to be considered in most marriages, there are civil issues that involve liability, entitlement, responsibility and the establishment of a line of decency within the newly formed family that the State is more concerned with. No Minister providing marriage services is immune from litigation when errors occur on the Minister's part. We suggest that the Minister purchase Professional liability insurance to cover this aspect of performing their duties. Conducting a marriage is a once in a lifetime event and cannot be redone. If a Minister fails to perform there is financial liability that may attach so it is important that the Minister feels comfortable with his or her abilities prior to accepting a request to solemnize a marriage. The Minister should invest a period of time to meet the couple and to share ideas as to what the ceremony may include. Couples often wish to make their own vows and this is to be encouraged. The meaning of the vows is different for each couple so the Minister should be receptive to the couple's desires. The basic, do you take, and I do, may be enough for the State, but it may not leave a meaningful memory for many new couples. Often this is all the ceremony a couple wishes, which is considered to be a civil wedding without religious invocations. For many, the addition of a God's blessing, and scriptural authority is desired. Both kinds of ceremonies are equally legal and valid, yet it should be the couples choice as to the kind of service the Minister performs. The Minister should have several suggestions to present to the couple so that a choice of vows can be made. Often the location of the ceremony will have some impact upon the choice and length of the ceremony. Whether the ceremony is to be conducted in a church, hall, outdoor setting, department store, or correctional institution, it is the Minister's responsibility to handle all of the necessary requirements such as being presented with a valid state marriage license. The Minister may wish to secure permission from correctional staff for any special privileges there may be. The Minister is to maintain the solemnity of the service, and to conduct the ceremony with respect and honor due the couple. The Minister should discuss arrangements with the couple as to the marriage license. It should be presented before the ceremony and the availability of two witnesses other than the couple and the Minister must be secured. The Minister's responsibility is to ensure that all of the required spaces on the marriage license are completed and signed where required by each individual. After the ceremony it is very important that the Minister handles the return of the license to the appropriate office for legal validation of the ceremony. Many states impose a time requirement upon the Minister for the mailing, or hand carrying of the completed marriage license back to the registering office. The Minister must never allow the completed license to leave his or her personal possession. We suggest that the Minister make a photocopy of the license as a professional courtesy. It is not unknown for mail to not reach its destination, and a copy will provide some proof of compliance. We also suggest that if you mail the license back that you send it return receipt requested. This validates that the office received the original certificate. The following suggestions will help in providing a professional service: The Minister accepts a request to perform a marriage ceremony. The Minister meets with the couple to discuss time, arrangements, witnesses, selection of vows, amount of the Minister's fee for the services, and it should be decided in advance when the fee is to be paid. It is not a professional practice to take money during the completion of the ceremony. The fee should be paid in advance and this is the best practice so that the couple does not need to worry about after the ceremony. The Minister provides a variety of ceremonies to choose from, and the decision is made whether the ceremony will be religious or civil in nature. Ceremony rehearsal, if needed or desired, should be discussed at this time. The Minister arrives at the chosen location in advance of the ceremony, and the Minister accepts the marriage license, and makes certain there will be the necessary witnesses to sign the license. The Minister then stands in place to officiate the ceremony. 6. After the completion of the ceremony and exchange of vows, the Minister signs the marriage license, (if denomination is asked for, the Minister is empowered to use Universal Ministries), the Minister hands the license to each witness for their signature. The Minister then photocopies the license for his or her professional files. The Minister should then mail or hand carry the license to proper state/county office. A few days to a week after the honeymoon, it is good practice to send a note, or call the new couple to wish them well, offer your services to their friends, and to possibly invite them to visit your church for worship. Keep it simple, and do not press the issue. The happiness of the occasion should not be marred by overzealous insistence of your services.