Dana Lloyd is a postdoctoral research associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in Saint Louis. She holds a PhD in Religion from Syracuse University, an LLM from Tel Aviv Law School, and an MA in philosophy from Tel Aviv University. She is currently working on a book manuscript, entitled Arguing for this Land: Rethinking Indigenous Sacred Sites, on religious freedom and land rights in the U.S. Supreme Court case Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association (1988).
These questions of environmental justice become even more urgent in the face of our current crisis, as we see the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on the same communities who suffer the most from other environmental harms.
Neither the government nor the Court doubted the religiosity of the practice for which the Yurok, Karuk, and Tolowa nations sought protection. Yet, arguments about religious freedom obscured the true issues at stake and the need for sovereign freedom.