Incarcerated American Indians throughout the United States continue to see their religious rights threatened and altered, an issue that led to Huy, the tribally controlled Washington State non-profit organization.
The organization, established in 2012, is dedicated to enhancing religious, cultural and other rehabilitative opportunities for imprisoned American Indigenous Peoples and it just launched its new website huycares.org.
“Everyone in Indian country is related to somebody who is doing or has done time in the iron house,” said the Chairman of Huy’s Board of Advisors, Gabriel Galanda, Round Valley, a tribal lawyer with Galanda Broadman, PLLC in Seattle. “Huycares.org is designed to be a digital gathering place for people and information supporting Native prisoners' rights to seek spiritual rehabilitation through traditional tribal worship.”
Pronounced “Hoyt” in Coast Salish language, means “See you again/we never say goodbye” is a registered non-profit corporation with the Washington Secretary of State and Department of Revenue. The organization is an offshoot of a two-year effort through charitable fundraising and gifting, to reform state policy of Native prisoners’ religious freedoms. RELATED: Huy: Washington State Non-Profit to Improve Indian Prisoner Ceremonies
Huy’s other recent activities include:
-- Through collaboration with the Muckleshoot, Swinomish, Nisqually, Snoqualmie and Spokane tribes, raised and in turn gifted nearly $100,000 for tribal religious and cultural ceremonies in Washington State’s 12 prisons.
-- Submitted a Letter of Allegation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, decrying “the pervasive pattern in the United States of increasing restrictions on the religious freedoms of indigenous persons who have been deprived of their liberty, particularly by American state corrections agencies and officers.”
-- Along with the ACLU, advocating against the State of California’s recent restrictions on Indian prisoner sacred items and sweatlodge ceremony. RELATED: ACLU Joins Huy in Support of Indigenous Prisoners’ Religious Freedoms
-- Appearing as a “friend of the court” to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a federal lawsuit regarding a Texas tribal prisoner’s right to worship through possession and use of the sacred pipe. RELATED: Inmate’s Religious Rights Allegedly Violated Within Texas Prison System
-- Advancing resolutions through the National Congress of American Indians (#REN-13-005) and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (#13-63) to ensure the protection of American Indian inherent rights to practice tribal religion.
-- Working with the Native prisoners service program run by the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, to recruit volunteers to participate in fellowship with incarcerated Natives in Washington State’s prisons.