Reverend Immanuel Pardeahtan Trujillo, Apostle, 82, died of congestive heart failure on June 24, 2010. He is survived by sons Billie, Veran and Will, daughters Bonney Lou, Tamara and Faith, many grandchildren and numerous members and visitors to the Peyote Way Church of God, who loved him.
Immanuel was born to an unwed teen mother and WW I veteran Apache father and was given up for adoption and raised as James Coyle in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. In 1942, at the age of sixteen he ran away from home and joined the Royal Merchant Marines. In 1944, he became a British Royal Marine to fight in WW II. He suffered a traumatic brain injury from a bomb blast on the North Sea island of Helgoland, which required facial reconstruction and a metal plate to replace a missing piece of skull.
He transferred into the United States Army Rangers where he served as a sergeant, training soldiers at Fort Ord, California. He discovered the crafts room in the military hospitals and began to focus his talents on artwork as a means to support himself that would also allow for spiritual expression.
Upon his honorable discharge, Immanuel followed a lead in his father’s will to find an uncle and two of his father’s closest friends in the Southwest. His father’s friends gave him his father’s Peyote medicine box and encouraged him to join the Native American Church.
Immanuel served as an officer within the Native American Church for ten years. He was tried and acquitted in Denver in 1966 for possession of the Holy Sacrament Peyote, a controlled substance. Legalizing all race Peyotism became his life work.
In the early 1970’s he signed a purchase agreement with two other couples on the Peaceful Valley Ranch, 160 acres of sacred land in the Aravaipa Valley, and founded the Church of Holy Light. He spent the next eight years conducting a drug rehabilitation program and securing the property for his vision of a Peyote-centered church. In 1978 he co-founded the Peyote Way Church of God with Rev. Anne Zapf and Rabbi Matthew S. Kent, and the three spent the next 15 years paying off the land and practicing the bona fide religious use of Peyote. Since his sailor years, he had been known as “Mana.” He founded “Mana Pottery,” which was later incorporated in 1984 to allow this cottage industry to survive him.
In 1986, Immanuel was again arrested in Globe, Arizona—charged with unlawful possession of Peyote but again acquitted. Immanuel’s constant refrain immortalized as Article of Faith #1 is ‘Peyote is a sacrament for all ‘no one church, race or government can “own” it.’
In 1994, his Peyote Way pottery was placed in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. His brilliant mind, focused good humor and not infrequent use of expletives to hammer home a point set people at ease and allowed them to receive the benefit of his unique world view.
Immanuel was a cat lover and supporter of animal charities including the Spay Neuter Hotline.
He will be sorely missed.
The memorial date was September 11, 2010, 1-5pm.
Visitors to his grave are welcome at the Peyote Way Church near Klondyke.