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Episcopal Church Repudiates Doctrine of Discovery | Indian Country Today | Content

Society & Culture  (tags: Native Americans, Native American Rights, episcopal, INDIGENOUS rights, repudiate the doctrine of discovery, christian, church )

- 3245 days ago -
In a first-of-its-kind action in the Christian world, the national Episcopal Church has passed a landmark resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and urging the U.S. government to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 8:36 am

I have always (I mean ALWAYS) questioned the history I was taught (brainwashed into believing) as to how any land could be "discovered" when it was already inhabited.

This explains it very well:
"The Doctrine of Discovery was a principle of international law developed in a series of 15th century papal bulls and 16th century charters by European monarchs. It was essentially a racist philosophy that gave white Christian Europeans the green light to go forth and claim the lands and resources of non-Christian peoples and kill or enslave them – if other Christian Europeans had not already done so."

Kudos to you, Stormoak, for posting this!

Faith M (161)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 9:07 am
The article this news links to
ANAHEIM, Calif. – In a first-of-its-kind action in the Christian world, the national Episcopal Church has passed a landmark resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and urging the U.S. government to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Organizers of the bill hope it will lead to the overturning of a 19th century U.S. Supreme Court ruling and Congress’ assumption of plenary power over Indian nations they say are illegitimate and immoral, and continue to strip American Indian nations of their inherent sovereignty.

The resolution, called “Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery,” was passed unanimously by the Episcopal House of Bishops and by an overwhelming majority of the House of Delegates during the church’s 76th General Convention July 8 – 17 in Anaheim.

“It’s a historic event,” said Steven Newcomb, Shawnee/Lenape. Newcomb is the indigenous law research coordinator for the Sycuan Education Department, co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, and a columnist for Indian Country Today.

Newcomb’s work on the Doctrine of Discovery in his many essays and his 2008 book “Pagans in the Promise Land” is the spark that ignited individuals in the Episcopal Church to pursue the resolution.

Newcomb expressed his “deep appreciation” for John Dieffenbacher-Krall, Brenda Hamilton, and John Chaffee “who powerfully advocated for passage of the adopted resolution.

“Through the official action of an important religious institution in the United States, the document raises the visibility of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, while providing a means of educating people about that doctrine and its continuing effects on indigenous nations and peoples. The resolution is also important because of its focus on and endorsement of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The resolution is also timely: The U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has called for a study of the Doctrine of Discovery and its historic and continuing effects on indigenous people to be completed by the forum’s convening in 2010.

“The Episcopalian Church’s resolution will no doubt factor into that study,” Newcomb said.

The Doctrine of Discovery was a principle of international law developed in a series of 15th century papal bulls and 16th century charters by European monarchs. It was essentially a racist philosophy that gave white Christian Europeans the green light to go forth and claim the lands and resources of non-Christian peoples and kill or enslave them – if other Christian Europeans had not already done so.

The doctrine institutionalized the competition between European countries in their ever-expanding quest for colonies, resources and markets, and sanctioned the genocide of indigenous people in the “New World.”

The resolution renounces the doctrine “as fundamentally opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our understanding of the inherent rights that individuals and peoples have received from God,” and promises to share the document with its churches, governments within its boundaries, and the U.N.

It resolves to eliminate the doctrine within the church’s contemporary politics, programs and structures, and urges the U.S. government to do the same. It asks Queen Elizabeth to publicly repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, and encourages all Episcopal churches to support indigenous peoples in their ongoing efforts for their inherent sovereignty and fundamental human rights as peoples to be respected.

Johnson v. M’Intosh, an 1823 U.S. Supreme Court case, held that because of the Doctrine of Discovery American Indians have a mere right of occupancy to their lands. The ruling is foundational to federal Indian law.

Dieffenbacher-Krall, the executive director of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission and originator of the resolution movement, said the ultimate goal is to overturn Johnson v. M’Intosh, and dismantle Congress’ claim to plenary power over Indian nations.

“This is illegitimate, this is immoral, this is evil. U.S. law shouldn’t be based on this. I want to see an all out effort to overturn Johnson v. M’Intosh just as the NAACP legal defense fund and many civil rights activists worked strategically to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson,” he said, referring to the 1896 Supreme Court ruling that upheld a “separate but equal” decision by a lower court that allowed Louisiana to operate separate railroad cars for African-Americans. The high court decision provided cover for southern states to impose racist Jim Crow laws for more than five decades until segregation was tossed out in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education.

A longtime social justice activist, Dieffenbacher-Krall said his growing awareness and understanding of the doctrine’s history made action irresistible.

“It’s not like I had a St. Paul on the road to Damascus moment, but sometime in the winter, spring or summer of 2006, I really became aware of the Doctrine of Discovery in connection to Congress’ claim of plenary power over American Indian nations.

“So where’s the social justice behind Congress saying, ‘We’ll just do whatever we want with the Maliseets or Navajo or Hopi because we’re the U.S. and you’re not?’ I felt that because I have an uncommon knowledge for a white person about some of this stuff that I might have a role to play working in my church to make people aware of this.”

Working with the Wabanaki tribes in Maine, reading Newcomb’s articles and later contacting him helped strengthen Dieffenbacher-Krall’s determination to act, and in October 2007, Maine’s Episcopal Church responded by passing a resolution calling on Queen Elizabeth and the Archbishop of Canterbury to rescind the 1496 charter given to John Cabot and his sons to go forth and claim possession of all the lands in the “New World” that weren’t already claimed by Spain and Portugal.

Dieffenbacher-Krall also worked with Chaffee, a professor of Chinese history at Binghamton University and member of the Episcopalian diocese in Central New York, to pass its own similar resolution in November 2008, and with Hamilton, a Maine social worker, who worked with Chaffee to shepherd the national church’s resolution through the process in Anaheim.

Chaffee crafted the resolution that was adopted at the general convention.

The resolution has “a substantial practical value,” Chaffee said, because it could potentially “provide important legal ammunition in terms of pending and future legal cases that might be brought by Native Americans. I’m very happy to be just a small part of that whole process.”

Hamilton was honored to be able to participate. In an e-mail update to her colleagues during the convention, she wrote, “My testimony rebutted the comment I have often heard about this issue, ‘What, are we trying to rewrite history?’ I said that to stand in any of the colonial churches of New England was a reminder that those churches stood on a history of the Doctrine of Discovery and genocide, thus there needed to be recognition of that both by the Episcopal Church and its colonial forbears in the Church of England.”

The article preceding it about a year ago
Indigenous grandmas nearly kicked out of Vatican
By Rob Capriccioso

Story Published: Jul 18, 2008

Story Updated: Apr 24, 2009

ROME - They went to pray. They went to see Pope Benedict XVI on his home turf. They went to ask that he rescind historic church doctrine that played a role in the genocidal onslaught of millions of indigenous people worldwide.

For 13 indigenous grandmothers, accomplishing only one of their three goals wouldn;t have been so bad - had they also not been harassed by several Vatican policemen who claimed the women were conducting ''anti-Catholic'' demonstrations.

The elders, formally known as the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, convened in the morning hours of July 9 at St. Peter's Square. After setting up an altar cloth, candles and sacred objects, including feathers and incense, they began holding a prayer and ceremony circle. Nine-year-old Davian Joell Stand-Gilpin, a direct descendant of Chief Dull Knife of the Lakota Nation, was brought along by one of the grandmothers to participate in traditional regalia.

Soon, however, four Vatican police officials asked the women to stop the prayer ceremony, claiming their prayers were in contradiction to the church's teachings - despite the two crosses on the alter cloth and some of the members being practitioners of the Catholic faith.

The officials told Carole Hart, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer and filmmaker traveling with the grandmas, that the group was in violation of Vatican policy. They said a permit Hart had obtained in order to document the prayer gathering was only relevant in terms of filming, but did not allow the women to pray, sing or burn incense.

The police said the actions of the grandmothers were ''idolatrous.''

Through the course of obtaining the permit, Hart had written to Vatican officials explaining that the grandmothers would be conducting a prayer ceremony at the site.

''We stuck to the fact that we were legitimately there with this permit,'' Hart said. ''The grandmas did not back down.''

Still, the police urged the grandmothers to move on; but Hart and the group appealed the decision to a higher authority. Finally, the police brought back a law official who assessed the situation. Upon seeing 13 indigenous elder women and hearing one of their songs, the official concluded there was no problem with the ceremony.

The official also ultimately invited the grandmothers to enter St. Peter's Basilica to rest and pray.

Despite their short-term success, the ultimate goal of the grandmothers - to hand-deliver a statement to Pope Benedict XVI, asking him to rescind several controversial papal bulls that played a part in the colonization of indigenous lands - was thwarted.

Documents from the 15th century, such as the papal bulls, show the papacy played a role in the genocidal onslaught that affected millions of indigenous people on the North American continent. In 1455, for instance, Pope Nicolas authorized Portugal ''to invade, search out, capture, vanquish and subdue all Saracens and pagans'' along the west coast of Africa, enslave them and confiscate their property - which set the tone for European interaction with the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

Just a short time before the grandmothers left for their long-planned journey to Rome, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be leaving the Vatican to rest at his summer home, called Castel Gandolfo, in preparation for a trip to Australia.

The pope had originally been scheduled to be in residence July 9. Laura Jackson, the grandmothers' publicist, described the pope's decision to leave the Vatican as a ''sudden cancellation'' and noted that the grandmas held tickets to a scheduled public audience he was to have held that day.

While Castel Gandolfo is less than 20 miles away from the Vatican, the grandmothers ultimately decided not to make the journey to the pope's summer getaway despite some in their inner circle encouraging them to pay an unexpected visit.

Hart believes the grandmothers chose to focus on St. Peter's Square because it's part of the Vatican and is a strong symbol of the pope.

''As women of prayer, I think they felt that bringing their prayer there, on the very ground on which the church as an institution stands, as close as they could get to the heart of the church, would have a great effect on what will happen next,'' Hart said. Additionally, the women had no guarantee that they would even be able to enter the grounds of the pope's summer residence.

Instead, the elders left a package with one of the pope's personal guards at the Vatican. The package contained a written statement the women had sent to the Vatican in 2005 decrying the papal bulls, to which the Vatican never responded. It also contained a new 632-word statement to the pope asking him to repeal three Christian-based doctrines of ''discovery'' and ''conquest'' that set a foundation for claiming lands occupied by indigenous people around the world.

''We carry this message for Pope Benedict XVI, traveling with the spirits of our ancestors,'' the women said in their new message. ''While praying at the Vatican for peace, we are praying for all peoples. We are here at the Vatican, humbly, not as representatives of indigenous nations, but as women of prayer.''

The package was given to the pope's guard via a traditional Lakota manner, by extending it to him three times with him then accepting it on the fourth attempt. The entire process was captured on film, and is expected to be made into a documentary by Hart in the coming year.

It is unknown whether the pope has yet personally received the package, but legal scholars and Native activists in the U.S. have nonetheless been paying close attention to the grandmothers' journey.

''I think the trip is very significant,'' said Steven Newcomb, co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute and author of the book, ''Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery,'' and an Indian Country Today columnist.

''These are women who are very much grounded in their own languages and traditions. They're able to raise visibility of the issue in ways that others are perhaps less effective.''

The grandmothers from the U.S. who sit on the women's council are Margaret Behan, of the Arapaho/Cheyenne of Montana; Agnes Baker Pilgrim, of the Takelma Siletz; Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance and Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance, both Oglala Lakota of Black Hills, S.D.; Mona Polacca, Havasupai/Hopi; and Rita Pitka Blumenstein, Yupik Eskimo.

Stormoak L (19)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 9:14 am
Thanks for the additions Faith, greatly appreciated :-)

Kindle G (1568)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 9:34 am
this is long long over-do! about time they started to realize the immoral and debasing of the american indian nations. we should have bowed down and learned from the indians, rather then hostile take overs of their resident lands!

Organizers of the bill hope it will lead to the overturning of a 19th century U.S. Supreme Court ruling and Congress’ assumption of plenary power over Indian nations they say are illegitimate and immoral, and continue to strip American Indian nations of their inherent sovereignty.

Kit B (276)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 9:38 am
I would hope that this would begin a new attitude and shared future for the Native Americans and those of us labeled as the the white invaders. Still I think it is important that one can not change the past nor even truly take responsibility for what those now long dead have done. What we can do and I would hope choose to do is begin a peaceful and open reconstruction of past damages so that all Americans can be free to full participate and be completely active participating in this country and it's governing bodies. Many Native Americans live in horrible conditions, and little effort is made to correct this. We do more for countries thousands of miles away then we do for Americans of all kinds in this country. When Native Americans suffer through natural and catastrophic disaster, because their land is considered "independent" they are not eligible for aid from any agency not specifically set up for them. No help comes from FEMA and even the Red Cross does come forward to offer assistance. That entire villages or towns are so deeply affected by changing weather because the people are too poor to afford the basic necessities many freeze to death during blizzards. Laws between Native Americans and the closest local jurisdictions are often vague and therefore even this basic need goes without proper enforcement. The past is set, the future is our choice.

Faith M (161)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 9:42 am
My thoughts on this-
For centuries the leaders of the catholic church have run the world using the Bible and the fear and guilt of warped biblical interpretations to hold the power over the ruling governments of the world.
A great dark swept the world and tragic dark harm was done.
Religion is not God.
Much evil was done while those who did this evil- while calling Jesus's name- influenced the Kings and Queens of the world,toppled monarchies,and on and on.... calling themselves the speakers of God's word,claiming God spoke directly to them, when nothing could be farther from the truth.
The popes,bishops,and cardinals,of the Catholic church, have destroyed more ancient knowledge than any one else in history. Calling it Blasphemy and heresy, both crimes with the death sentence by fire and torture. They went about removing it from the cultures and either hiding it or outright destroyed ancient documents with great truth history and knowledge-a perfect example of this is Archimedes the Father of Mathematics writings that without modern technology we would have never discovered because a monk found the ancient book centuries ago and over wrote it with prayers destroying the original text because it was deemed to be heresy. I could go on for a very long time on the mountains of historical evidence regarding the Catholic church's twisted warped philosophies throughout history this Doctrine of Discovery being but one of many.
There are many wonderful ,loving people out there who practice the Catholic Faith and many warm and loving people in history who have practised the Catholic way who have helped then and now a great many people in the world who were/are in a humanitarian crisis. To those people we owe a great thanx. For they have done much to redeem the evil that was done in the name of God by others who appeared on the outside to be 'good" men while their heart was dark and their mind was perverse and sick.
This Doctrine of Discovery Edict is a perfect example and all through time since the Catholic churches conception there have been darkness parading as light- like this.
I am not against Catholics Two of the Indigenous Grandmothers are Catholics, Some of my close treasured friends are catholic,and I have met many a wonderful nun or priest. but the history of the Catholic churches dark still lives in this world and it is time now to remove those chains of dark and shine the light.

Thanx C for fwd 2 me and Stormoak, for posting this jewel.

Kindle G (1568)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 9:46 am
HISTORY written has been the whim and design of many authors, and most of it not even accurate. honoring the horrible and abusive persons, to fantasizing the greatness of violences towards others. teaching our children that such persons are to be honored, yet in turn state for others less worthy of historical eras the wrongfulness of various acts of criminal natures.
seems that history, althou very interesting has never been something i ever believed, being that man kind writes the details, as is in all levels of the world and human kind, there is always a foundaton of untruth, etched out with tiny bit of truth. brain washing is correct assessement from Just Carole's statement above.

Thursday July 30, 2009, 9:55 am
Wow Carole I know also we were never quite tuaght the truth in school, I feel we should constantly be learning I read, watch the tv,etc.. any form of learning, I also have always know sticking to one subject and never questioning it is BIAS..thankfully for people like you and many many others my self included, we will make a difference for the future. Again great one here carole thanks.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:01 am

As a grown person, and after doing much self-examination and independent scrutiny of my teachings, I was horrified at the realization of how "indoctrination" begins with even our youngest (most vulnerable) citizens.

I truly consider it to be "brainwashing," and do not think that term is an exaggeration. After all, we are taught to recite a "Pledge of Allegiance" before even understanding its meaning (or even being able to pronounce many of the words); to stand for the "National Anthem," with our hands over our hearts; to memorize dates of "discoveries" (by Europeans) and to be tested on it; to glorify bloodshed, by also memorizing battle dates; to honor dates of birth of those who promoted the taking of lives, and call them "heroes."

Small wonder we live in such a duplicitous, violent world of distrust and paranoia.

Faith M (161)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:10 am
If everyone did as U C with that independent thinking and reviewing of their own teachings instead of just accepting what some person in authority said -this world would be much better off-for those brainwashed distortions cannot stand up to critical thinking and examination.

Wolfweeps Pommawolf (251)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:31 am
Thank you Stormoak.....kudos for bringing this to our attention.
It is a small step, but only if the rest of the human corporate run machines of the world actually pays attention, and if by some small miracle actually does something for the common good.
We can only hope and pray to the powers that be that this will actually take any of this seriously...I hope so.

Wolfweeps Pommawolf (251)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:40 am
You cannot currently send a star to faith because you have done so within the last week.

Faith..I so agree with you on the
"Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:10 am
If everyone did as U C with that independent thinking and reviewing of their own teachings instead of just accepting what some person in authority said -this world would be much better off-for those brainwashed distortions cannot stand up to critical thinking and examination."

What truth has there ever been in American history that wasn't wrapped in B.S. ?

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:45 am

If reality is personal perception, then a lie -- repeated often enough -- becomes truth.

Funny, how it all goes back to a basic 60's quote: "Question authority."

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:15 am

So many lies, masquerading under terms such as "Manifest Destiny" and "Democracy" and "Freedom" have fed the prejudices which championed masses into killing the very people this country now counts as "allies," i.e. Japanese, Germans, Chinese, Viet Namese, etc. -- with Native Americans being the ONLY exception. Ironic, eh?

And why? Because, to admit that this country was founded upon -- and benefitted from -- discrimination would erode the lie which provoked the masses to kill in the first place . . . and would cause the self-thinking to "stand down."

Stormoak L (19)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:17 am
The mistakes made were from our grandparents and their parents. It is time to repair and mend those mistakes, but not to hold the new generations guilty. We learn and become familiar with each other creating community. Then we become one people, Americans.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:20 am

Until the teachings are stopped, and the mistakes acknowledged, there can be no progress.

Forgiveness begins with acknowledgment of sin.

Blacktiger P (247)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:26 am
Thanks Carole, I no long let the "religious" control my thinking. I try to live by the humanity rule of "Do unto others as you would have done to you". A great book has come into my possession by GINA CERMINARA "INSIGHTS FOR THE AGE OF AQUARIOUS . The Introduction gives this Pearl of Wisdom credibility. So many "christians don't know beans about the Bible and that it was written by the "inspiration of god" by some person who COULD have had a big dose of Majic mushrooms or Pyote , or any other type of hallucigenics available at that time. Why do you think the Powers That Be have put them on the illegal list!!!!! Because the competition of ideas about "god" would be brought about.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:32 am

(hehehehe -- I was hoping you'd jump in here, Margo.)

Nah, I don't give religion much credence either. (Although, I was raised Episcopalian, and was glad to see them doing something positive.)

Huda A (45)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:46 am
Yes , it was lost and has no owner, that what discovered mean! because they didn't know , ignorance is called discovered instead of stealing! i always wonder what would have happen, if MR Columbus, have lost his way one more time and missed it?

serge vrabec (278)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:55 am
This is great news, more signs of the oneness, the unity, that humainty is FEELING more and more, as the illusion of seperation weakens and brotherhood and sisterhood strengthens. What a great time to be "alive"!, indeed!.
The Indigenous peoples of the WORLD deserve an apology and have earned the respect of the world, I love them and am in gratitude for their patience and tolerance. WE ARE in dire need of their help in these times , the Earth has become sick and their wisdom is required in this urgent matter.
I pray that they heed OUR call.......

Thank you stormoak! :)

"He changed sunset into sunrise." ~Clement of Alexandria

Karen S (106)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 11:59 am
Thank you Stormoak for this article. It has been an overwhelming aha moment for me. It explains a lot to me of how my ancestors could justify the atrocities not only to indigenous people of the world, but also to anyone they felt were somehow lessor than they were. This attitude was perpetuated over the centuries by church led empires until church and state became separate. It also explains their efforts to erase the shameful history by assimilating the indigenous people, and trying to recruit them as Christians by taking away their culture, their languages, their dignity, and forcing them into residential schools run by (you guessed it) the church in the hopes that they would not remember after a generation or two.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 12:02 pm

Absolutely, Serge.

At these times -- of sudden awareness -- we need remembrance of wrongs, not forgetfulness -- and, yes, this earth can be healed by the early knowledge and teachings of our indigenous people. NO, one entire class of people can never be perfect; but it has already been shown that an understanding and respect of nature, and other peoples, is necessary.

Bless all of you who have noted here.

Wolfweeps Pommawolf (251)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 12:18 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Just because you have done so within the last week.

And why? Because, to admit that this country was founded upon -- and benefitted from -- discrimination would erode the lie which provoked the masses to kill in the first place . . . and would cause the self-thinking to "stand down."

For our government to actually acknowledge that people that supposedly helped build this country robbed, stole, violated, murdered and consistantly do so today by their failure to to do the right thing, would mean that the Christian Right would have to admit what they continue to commit the same crimes today. It is still an ongoing crime angainst humanity. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. They still fail to comprehend that the separation of church and state is the only way this country can move forward. That means people either learn to keep religion out of government or we will continue to be run over by their manipulations of power over everyone they wish to control.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 12:22 pm

For those who feel it is unjust to be judged by the behaviors of their forefathers/mothers -- STAND IN THE FRONT!

Become the voice that speaks louder than the embarrassment you feel from their previous injustices . . .


and join those who wish the injustice and hypocrisy to end.

It's not acceptable to say, "Forget about it" or "Don't blame me." And it is even LESS acceptable for the perpetrators of injustice (or their ancestors) to define the terms of forgiveness for their victims.


Elm Morrison (357)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 12:31 pm
I'm a history nut. And one thing I've learned - when one studies history - don't just use one book - study several - thereby helping oneself to differentiate between truth and lies.

Pamylle G (461)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 1:13 pm
Well done, Episcopal Church ! A powerful, symbolic step in the right direction.

Sheryl G (360)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 1:22 pm
A hopes that others will follow.

Amena Andersson (187)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 2:04 pm
I have always taught my son to question authority. This is not to say that I encourage him to brake the rules; only, to question, research, and understand for himself what those rules mean and where they are coming from. I never want him to be the soldier who massacres unarmed innocents because his officer commanded him to do so. Good for you. Episcopal church and thanks, Stormoak, for the article.

Lone W (1428)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 2:29 pm
about time

Robert K (437)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 2:56 pm
Thanks Stormoak, Carol and all for this post and the astute comments. I have always been dismayed at the agonizing plight of the original Americans. As I have stated before the Trail of Tears came through my hometown here in TN., and learning of Andrew Jackson's role, very little use I have had for him since. Hopefully their situation will change.

Tierney G (381)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 3:16 pm
Excellent article and discussion I agree the churches have been running things for to long and after all religion is a human invention not God's as was previously said so well.

. (0)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 3:48 pm
I agree Amena..if I could have signed up for the second world war,then I would have ..but very few others that Britain has fought since ..and none prior to world war two.The problem is that not enough people question authority..fight for your country,regardless of who against,or why...not enough people say no.
I'm glad that the Episcopal church is doing this,it is long overdue..both Catholic and Protestant churches formed a partnership with coloial capitalism,and racism was in many ways used as a justification for slavery,rape,robbery etc.

JoAnna N (199)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 3:49 pm
I once actually had a heated discussion with the principal of my son's grammar school about The "discovery" of Turtle Island by Christopher Columbus. I asked if I could come on my own free time to give a talk about the first peoples here in this country because I strongly disagreed on what was being taught to my children.
Of course she would not allow it but instead suggested that I could teach my own children what ever I wished at home. So that's exactly what I do. I teach my children and I invite all their friends over for cookies when I do! And then they go home and tell their families about all the fun we had. Some things I cannot tell them yet because it would give the little ones nightmares if I told them about the slavery, killing of babies, and cutting off of hands and feet of the Natives when Mr Columbus came and claimed this land and tried to force the Natives to become Christians. I have nothing against Christianity per say, unless it's forced upon those who practice another form of religion, such as earth religions, paganism, or spiritualism. And that's exactly what happened all those hundreds of years ago. American History taught in the school system is a convenient assortment of lies that have been passed down since the "invasion" in the 1400's.

. (0)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 4:49 pm
A step forward, lets hope it continues to go in that direction.

Cynthia Davis (340)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 5:37 pm
Well I was about to put my 2 cents in but it appears that all of you have done it for me. I can not say anything that has not already been said and I agree with you all. I must said that it is refreshing to know that there are good people that have not had the wool pull over their heads to where they can not see the truth. This is truely a step in the right direction.
Thank you Carole

Jelica R (144)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 5:42 pm
I'm an atheist. I don't feel I'm eligible to speak about religious institutions. I'll quote Desmond Tutu, Nobel Price award for peace in 1984, former Archbishop of Cape Town and the head of the Anglican Church in South Africa:
"Men came to our land with a Bible in their hands, and said: "We are brothers, let's bow our heads and pray." We prayed. When we raised our heads, we had a Bible in our hands, and they had our land."
Different continent, same story.
Thanks, Stormoak for posting it, Carole for inviting me, and everybody for such a great discussion.

David Gould (155)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 6:04 pm
Like many I was brought up on the notion that all peoples before 'Western Civilised Populations' "discovered" them were savages or natives. This uncomfortable thought lingered on for years till i was challenged by the fact that iron Age made knew more about the movement of stars and celestial bodies than NASA. Iron age or even for that matter bronze age or even stone age humans were not primitive in any sense of the word...they were modern humans with the same brain capacity, same ability to learn and assimilate knowledge as you are I. It follows then the 'non-European' peoples were every bit as civilised as the culture that was being forcible imposed upon them. The notion of discovery is therefore a bit of a nonsense. we made contact with each other with non too happy outcomes in the majority of cases.

The church with its unerring ability to be lagging well behind the times has just woken up to the fact that world has moved on and as usual gone into full denial mode...worst of all are the established religions who are the worst at adapting...showing how relevant these grandees of the movements really are.

Interesting to see how the whole idea of "discovery" has been used to rob those inhabitants of their land, culture and beliefs. (along with the mineral rights, grazing rights, food supply rights and so forth).

And we have the cheek to call ourselves civilised!!!!

. (0)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 6:59 pm
Posted on facebook and twitter ...great comments/discussion

. (0)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 8:17 pm
Not only this but Cloumbus did not discover America. How could he? The Native Americans were already here he stole it, the ningkpoop this too should have been rewritten. Dove I too agree with what you say for all they done is true. Thanks Carol

Wolfweeps Pommawolf (251)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 8:34 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Songbird gone because you have done so within the last week.

Rob S (112)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 8:50 pm
First off: Why did it take soooo long to realize what most already knew? Secondly,history should state ,Columbus "RE DISCOVERED AMERICA" as it was already inhabited.The term "Civilized" should be re-defined in meaning considering the actions of MAN thru the decades towards his fellow "BEINGS".It,s just too bad it took so long to recognize the rights of the first peoples which should have been acknowledged from the start.Long overdue my friends.

liz c (827)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:31 pm
Very well put Rob, Songbird and everyone else. Yes--IT IS ABOUT TIME. There was a lot of misinformation in history lessons growing up-but because of issues like this--maybe we will be the last generation to be misinformed about the Native people. Thank you for sharing this. GOOD NEWS.

RosemaryRannes HusbandNeedsPrayers (650)
Thursday July 30, 2009, 10:50 pm
Aho ! An amazing journey of Truth by these grandmothers... such conviction and courage ... walking their talk all the way ... The grandmothers from the U.S. who sit on the women's council are Margaret Behan, of the Arapaho/Cheyenne of Montana; Agnes Baker Pilgrim, of the Takelma Siletz; Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance and Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance, both Oglala Lakota of Black Hills, S.D.; Mona Polacca, Havasupai/Hopi; and Rita Pitka Blumenstein, Yupik Eskimo.

Shame on Pope Benedict XVI for not receiving these grandmothers !
You can run but you cannot hide ... especially from the Truth which will ultimately bring a new FREEDOM in awareness and BEING.

... so much to say about this ... Thank you *C* and faith a.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Friday July 31, 2009, 1:01 am
And the Catholic church wonders why they are losing so many followers to the Episcopal Church. Could it be the Episcopal Church's open, free thinking mind, & their willingness to speak out:)
And just for the record, I'm a liberal Catholic who totally agrees with the Episcopal Church on this issue and many more.

Kathleen R (983)
Friday July 31, 2009, 1:49 am
I love it when entire churches take such compassionate and moral actions!!! My ancestors of Mennonites and Quaker/Friends historically did, and do, a lot with and for Native American advocacy. Many of my friends within the United Church of Christ also have done a lot personally. It is unfathomable to me how other religious entities can simply ignore such issues -- and truth -- and peoples!!!

Friday July 31, 2009, 3:46 pm
YUP. EVERYONE should question authoriity NOW MORE than ever before. EVERYONE should come to realize that THEY have NO AUTHORITY over ANYONE unless are granted permission ether outwardly or VIA SILENCE. We MUST STOP being silent. We MUST STOP giving our permission and we MUST QUESTION AUTHORITY on ALL LEVELS. Equally important, if THEY demand something from us and we are not educated on the particular subject, then we MUST SAY NO FIRST and ask questions afterwards......

Elle J (276)
Friday July 31, 2009, 4:52 pm
Way Way past time! Makes me proud to be an Episcopalian. By the way, Kathy C. The Episcopal Church will give communion to any baptised Christian. Although I was raised Catholic, I never understood their rational. Thank you Stormoak for this story!

sue M (184)
Friday July 31, 2009, 9:44 pm
Authority? What authority, the one licensed to kill?
About TIME!

Stormoak L (19)
Sunday August 2, 2009, 8:31 am
Thank you Everyone for your wonderful comments and additions. It is heartening and touching to see such support from so many diverse people. Blessing to you all.

Larry D Grazier (1362)
Sunday August 2, 2009, 9:34 pm
The Indian Nations all over the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA were looked at as people with out any faith, brains, morals or good since. The land was taken from them by the White Man with Guns and the Indian could not win battles with Bows and Arrows. Think of it this way, if you had a race between a Horse and a Car who do you think would win? As more white men came to America they needed more land and so they forced the Indian's to go somewhere else.
I remember when I was a "Little Indian Boy" my grandpa went to Oklahoma and came back home with $200.00 his share for his part of land taken by the United States and he was very happy to have got it. In the 1960's that was a large amout of money. He bought a car with the money. Up until that happened he walked to were ever he could get work. Being a Indian back in them days it was always hard for him to be treated fair? "Indian Boy"

. (0)
Sunday August 2, 2009, 9:57 pm
Whats up * C * I made a commet and so you want me to comment again, I will admit I'm a christian and no one pushes it on me or do I push on them, Thats everyone equal right. I also admit I do pray to my Lord his name is Jesus Christ in which is very much alive. If people tell you that you can't be Native American and be a Christian I don't get that at all, for I know I did not come from no ape as a lot of people think they may have came from. I came from God himself who is the creator of this big beautiful planet. If this upsets anyone sorry but, I won't back down on my rights either or freedom of speech and religon. I love who I'm . I'm Songbird Cherokee, Christian..

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Monday August 3, 2009, 6:48 am

Joy, where did I ask you to comment again?

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs; I only expressed my own.

. (0)
Monday August 3, 2009, 3:58 pm
Carol Someone else sent me the same thing. I'm sorry that it was not your name but someone else. No hard feelings here on my side or worrie's in peace to you * C * Songbird

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Monday August 3, 2009, 4:02 pm

Thank you for your graciousness, Joy.

Cathi Hartline (248)
Wednesday December 30, 2009, 2:17 pm
awesome!! thank You Stormoak for the article! and thank You Just "C" for passing it to me!!
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