Peyote is a drug, made of a special type of cactus.
Some Native American tribes used to eat or drink it during ceremonies to get visions and trances. They think this is a way to communicate with their God. But actually it is just a psychedelic drug like LSD. The active ingredient of peyote is Mescaline.
The Peyote-Religion is a mix of old Indian tradition and the Christian belief, which first appeared in the middle of the 19th century. But the drug peyote itself was already common 200 B.C. in Mexico at the Aztec. Native Americans don't get into trouble for consuming this drug. The State lets them do because they cure diseases like alcoholism that way, too. The ceremony also helps people to feel a strong connection between them and God.
Laura Dietz, Rebekka Obermaier =)