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Native American Inmates Challenging SD Tobacco Ban



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An attorney representing an organization of Native American inmates says a South Dakota prison policy banning the use of tobacco during religious ceremonies is discriminatory.
 
Attorney Pamela Bollweg told a federal judge Tuesday that tobacco has been a natural and longstanding tradition of the Lakota people and it should not be banned from religious ceremonies. Inmates Blaine Brings Plenty and Clayton Creek filed the suit in December 2009 against South Dakota's prison warden, corrections secretary and attorney general.
 
The officials' attorney, James Moore, says tobacco used during ceremonies was becoming increasingly abused. He says the state allows other botanicals such as red willow bark to be burned in pipes.
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