A Student of History

August 9, 2006

Native Americans seek end to Old Charters

Filed under: The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 3:51 am

In South Dakota, a recent meeting of indiginous peoples have called for a rather interesting approach to getting what they hold to be their rights and lands back from those who made them lose it: the Pope and the Queen of England. 

Twenty-three organizations and 100 individuals signed a resolution Thursday at the Summit of Indigenous Nations at Bear Butte. The resolution, which will be sent to the Vatican for review, targets the Papal Bull Inter Caetera of 1493, in which Vatican officials urged Christopher Columbus to convert indigenous Americans to Catholicism.  The resolution equally targets the Queen of England and asks her to rescind a 1496 Royal Charter.

Usually these post-colonialist measures come from Africa or Asia, not America.  This one does.  “I’m really proud to see (everyone) stand up against the people that said we weren’t human,” one Indian said atthe conference. “We want our spiritual identity left alone.”

The resolution states that the 1493 Vatican document and the 1496 Royal Charter “represent principles of religious intolerance in its moral and legal implications” and served as a “doctrine of discovery,” a legal foundation for the “extinguishment of aboriginal title to Indian lands in the United States.”

The article from the Rapid City Journal is here.

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