Friday, May 29, 2015

Sacred Indifference : Pope Francis' Shiny New Shadow


Why, among nearly all the world’s people, are the American Indians invisible to the modern world, to the Vatican, and now it would seem, surprise beyond surprise, Pope Francis? This is part of his questionable politics to “engage” Hispanic peoples of the Americas by canonising one of their own, the first and only Hispanic Saint in the Americas. What sort of actual leader would be motivated to overlook so much blood on the hands of a man for such a shallow reason? I have liked very much in fact much of what Pope Francis has accomplished to date, but this really stinks. It hints at a racist indifference towards indigenous peoples that is perverse at best, in my view. Not a single North American Indian accepts this as a good idea. We are all against it. We are appalled by it.

The facts of this situation in fact approach the obscene, bump up against the limits of what is reasonable, and even test the limits of international law on the subject of genocide…there in this portfolio of grave issues…invisible…what I call Sacred Indifference. Right now.

Father Junipero Serra? His own hand-written notes show an incredible indifference to the human dignity of the American Indians under his power. One must also note that at that time a standing “Papal Bull” stiputaled (and has never been withdrawn) that “American Indians have no souls” and are the same as animals, not human beings. This official policy of the “church” of course enable the selling of American Indians as slaves, otherwise prohibited, and ensuring that there would be no moral consequences for their imprisonment, enslavement or murders. 

Thousands of California Indians lost their lives directly under the so-called leadership of Father Serra…..those who resisted “baptism” and conversion were shackled, tortured, beaten, starved and imprisoned, by the thousands. Converted tribal citizens were then prohibited from using their language, ceremonies, culture, clothing and even having contact with non-converted members of their own families.

On that fact alone, so much blood on his hands, blood not from a “righteous war” but purely from conquest by intimidation of a peaceful people….how can a “saint” possibly be found in this deeply flawed man?..It is nearly impossible for me to understand the thinking that has lead up to this tragic moment in the unfolding history of this “new” Pope. The hypocrisy alone stinks all the way to heaven.

‘There's no question that his goal was to radically alter native culture, to have Indians not speak their native languages, to practice Spanish culture, to transform native belief patterns in ways that would make them much less native.’
...Steven Hackel
Junipero Serra biographer


Investigate this link: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/28/sainthood-for-california-missions-founder-angers-native-american-groups.html.

…Posted by Alzazera America, the linked article lays out both sides of the argument fairly well…in conclusion it comes down clearly on the side of condemnation of the great harm imposed upon tens of thousands of American Indians unable to resist or make another choice to the violently enforced “enlightenment” imposed by the church under Serra’s leadership.

My spirit is tired. My old heart is tired. During this period I had “my first” heart attack, a rather serious one. While visiting Bologna, and so by that good fortune ended up in a fine old Italian hospital, saving my life. So I am in Italy. I am a representative and voice for a circle of American Indian tribal elders. I have the right, perhaps the responsibility to at least imagine a conversation with this Francis. The last home I had in the USA was 50 feet away from a 350 year old adobe mud church dedicated to San Francisco. This seems rather to odd to be a coincidence. I have no idea how to go about making this possibility happen….yet here I am in the back yard of the Pope and the Church of Rome. I operate a small Ojibway Morning Tobacco Fire, a very old ASmerican Indian ceremony. I built a house around a bundle of Sacred Pipes, and this ceremonial
And moral reality takes place in Italy.

I am opposed, absolutely opposed, to the canonisation of Father Serra.

Once the bloody shadow of Serra becomes a Saint, pilgrims will start, pilgrimages will be made. Thus will begin a long slow river of pilgrims with the wrong idea…right up in the face of so many wounded ancestors. It would seem to be an acceleration and a doubling down on the original insult. A choice made for political rather than saintly reasons. Francis “needs” a latino “saint” in North America. Think about that, here at the end of the argument. Serra made no miracles or healings. He is a saint with a ledger book in one hand and a meat clever in the other.

I am an Ojibwe man who has said these words, right here on Italian land.

Turtle Heart
Ahnishinabek Wabeeno
Pantelleria, Italy




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