[Vision2020] Indigenous People's Day Petition

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 28 10:22:09 PDT 2017

Good Morning Visionaries: Here is my column on this topic from last year.
nfg*Columbus Day and the Christian Conquest of the World*

*Indigenous Peoples Day Should Take Its Place*

*We discovered Columbus, lost on our shores, sick, destitute, and wrapped
in rags. We nourished him to health, and the rest is history. He represents
the mascot of American colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. *—Lakota
activist Bill Means

            May 4, 1493 was a day of infamy for the indigenous peoples of
the Americas. At the urging of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain,
Pope Alexander VI confirmed their right to confiscate native peoples’

Even at this point in time, the Christian conquest of the world had been
well under way. Alexander’s papal bull was a continuation of what is now
called the Doctrine of Discovery. The irony of “discovering” land where
people already flourished is a sad and tragic one.

In 1455 Pope Nicholas V exhorted Catholic rulers to conquer, even those “in
the remotest parts unknown to us,” all who were enemies of Christ.  The
Pope gave them permission “to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and
subdue all Saracens [Muslims] and pagans,” take their possessions, and
“reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”

Some priests had disputed Spain’s right of possession and they had defended
the Indians as full human persons.  Pope Nicholas acknowledged that native
Americans were innocent, peace loving people, and they greeted Columbus and
his men warmly. But after they rescued them from shipwrecked Santa Maria,
the Spaniards mistreated them in the most inhumane ways.

One man *Bartolome de las Casas* Priests provided detailed accounts of acts
of wanton brutality. The natives were enslaved and worked to death.  They
were hunted down with dogs, strung up, and burned alive.  The Taino tribe
was reduced from an estimated one million to just 500 in ten years. It was
Christian terrorism pure and simple.

North America’s native population also came under the Doctrine of
Discovery. In 1823 Chief Justice John Marshall concluded that the U. S. had
derived its right of “dominion” from Great Britain as the nation who
“discovered” and settled “unoccupied” land.

As a result, America’s “heathen” natives had lost “their rights to complete
sovereignty” and must live as dependent nations within the U.S.  The sad
story of oppression, massacres, and broken treaties is well known and need
not be retold here.

Major Christian denominations have denounced the Doctrine of Discovery, but
the Vatican has yet to revoke the papal bulls. In November 2013 the nuns
from Denver’s Loretto Community sent a letter to Pope Francis requesting
that he address this issue.  The sisters praised him and two previous popes
for supporting the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Francis has also offered forgiveness for “crimes committed against the
native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.”

            The Loretto sisters have received no response, except from the
U. S. Conference of Bishops who thanked them for sending them a copy of the
letter. In 2007 Archbishop Celestino Migliore did respond to an earlier
inquiry. He wrote that subsequent papal bulls had forbidden the enslavement
of Indians and there was “no need to take further action.” Sister Libby
Comeaux of the Loretto Community has called this response “fancy footwork
in canon law.”

Over the past six decades, six states have taken the lead in honoring
America’s indigenous peoples. In 1968 Governor Ronald Reagan signed a
resolution making American Indian Day a state holiday in California. It is
held on the fourth Friday of September.

Tennessee also celebrates American Indian Day, but on the fourth Monday of
September. Last month, on the same day, Nevada celebrated the holiday for
the first time.

In 1990, under pressure from Indian activists, South Dakota was first state
to substitute Native American Day for Columbus Day. In October 2015 Alaska
followed suit by renaming Columbus Day “Indigenous Peoples' Day.”

On October 10, 2016, recognizing that “the Green Mountain State was founded
and built upon lands first inhabited by indigenous people,” Vermont
Governor Peter Shumlin proclaimed that the second Monday in October would
now be celebrated as Indigenous People's Day.

In 1992, the Berkeley <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley,_California>,
California City Council, was the first city to substitute Indigenous
Peoples’ Day for Columbus Day, and since then 31 cities have done the same.
(Four schools and universities have followed suit.) Phoenix, Arizona has
been the largest city to acknowledge that Columbus should not be honored
for his genocidal attacks on America’s natives.

It is high time for Congress to declare the second Monday in October a
national holiday honoring America’s native people. Columbus and his fellow
terrorists should be relegated to the trash heap of history.

Nick Gier taught philosophy and religion at the University of Idaho for 31

On Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 10:09 AM, Linda Pall <lpall at moscow.com> wrote:

> Dear Visionaries,
> Long overdue.  Check out Stan Freeberg’s History of the United States...
> maybe Tom can find this and share it over V2020!
> All the best,
> Linda Pall
> *From:* Debi Smith
> *Sent:* Wednesday, September 27, 2017 6:05 PM
> *To:* Moscow Cares ; Moscow Vision 2020
> *Subject:* Re: [Vision2020] Indigenous People's Day Petition
> Done!!
> Debi R-S
> On 9/27/2017 4:29 PM, Moscow Cares wrote:
> Moscow residents, please sign the petition supporting Moscow changing
> Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day.
> https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf1zaLE0YliXz9H-
> oBgoDPphRGWWA0cpxNcC20YCSgSuAz3nQ/viewform
> Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
> "Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
> http://www.MoscowCares.com
> Tom Hansen
> Moscow, Idaho
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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant
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