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Native Americans will ask Pope Francis to rescind 'Doctrine of Discovery' during his U.S. visit

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/12/2015 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Doctrine has long been a contentious issue for indigenous people

Native American representatives are thrilled with Pope Francis' sincere apologies for the Catholic Church's widespread mistreatment of indigenous people - but they want his to go even further. Several figures from the United States' Indian tribes say they want the Pope to rescind the church's "Doctrine of Discovery," which has long been a sore spot for them, during his trip to the U.S. in September.

'This is a very ancient wound,' Oren Lyons, faith keeper for the Onondaga says. 'But it continues to fester, and it's relevant in the world today.'

"This is a very ancient wound," Oren Lyons, faith keeper for the Onondaga says. "But it continues to fester, and it's relevant in the world today."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
8/12/2015 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Native Americans, Doctrine of Discovery, U.S. visit, Pope Francis


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Doctrine of Discovery, it was first expressed by Pope Nicholas V in 1452. The document authorized the King of Portugal at that time to "invade, capture, vanquish and subdue . all Saracens and pagans, and other enemies of Christ... to reduce such persons to perpetual slavery" and "to take away all their possessions and property."

The doctrine hit the New World hard right after Columbus sailed to the New World. Pope Alexander VI reaffirmed the policy by giving European monarchs sovereignty in newly "discovered" lands occupied by "barbarous nations."


Sid Hill, Tadodaho, or chief of upstate's Onondaga Nation felt vindicated to hear Pope Francis say in July the "grave sins" perpetrated against the indigenous people of our hemisphere "in the name of God."

During his time in Bolivia, Pope Francis declared, "I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offense of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America."

Many Native American people now want Francis to finally renounce Vatican policy toward Indians that has remained in effect for more than 500 years.

"This is a very ancient wound," Oren Lyons, faith keeper for the Onondaga says. "But it continues to fester, and it's relevant in the world today."


The 84-year-old Lyons has represented Native Americans before the United Nations since 1977. Lyons helped achieve the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The last major country in the world to support that declaration was the United States.

The World Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church and the Leadership Conference of Religious Women have all condemned the Doctrine of Discovery. To date, the Vatican has been silent. Native American leaders have had no success getting previous Popes to rescind the doctrine.

Now Lyons, Hill and other leaders like Sandra Bigtree of the Mohawk Nation plan to organize a protest march in Philadelphia next month to highlight the issue during the papal visit there.

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