Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Jesuit-run Indian Residential Schools: Pope Francis tell us about the American Indian Holocaust
Why has the catholic church abused so many children -- including Native American and African children -- for so many years? Because church laws state that the church has the right to do so. In 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the Inter Caetera: orders that instructed Europeans to "civilize" every "savage" they encountered. In this document, the pope said that "barbarous nations [should] be subjugated and brought to the faith itself," "for the spread of the Christian Empire." This wasn’t the first crusading Vatican decree – an earlier one called for "perpetual slavery" of Africans, by capturing, vanquishing, and subduing them, and by taking away all their possessions and property.
The Inter Caetera decree helped shape U.S. Indian law. In an 1823 Supreme Court dispute over land, Justice Joseph Story used in his ruling the doctrine of subjugation found in the Inter Caetera decree. Basically it said that a European power owns the land it discovers and can extinguish the "right of occupancy" of the native occupants. Also, when they declared independence from Great Britain, the United States government inherited the British right of taking over Native American lands. To this day, this Supreme Court ruling, with its distinction between "Christian people" and "natives, who were heathens," remains in practice in the United States violating the human rights of American Indian nations and its peoples.
The result of this decree was an American Indian Holocaust: genocide of over 100,000,000 Native American people in just a few hundred years. If the laws don’t protect the Native Americans (in Canada and the U.S.) and children in many other countries, who does? One answer to this question is: Kevin Annett. He cares about all abused children, yours and mine all over the world.
Kevin Annett was ordained as a clergyman into the United Church of Canada. Contact with Native American parishioners alerted him to the horrendous abuse and murder of children in Canadian Indian Residential Schools – run by the United Church and many by the Catholic Church Jesuits. These Jesuit-run schools were also located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. After starting the first public inquiry into the cause of death of native children in the schools -- and the theft of native land by the United Church -- he was expelled from the ministry. He went on to film the Award winning documentary (Unrepentant, 2007), the story of the abuse and murder of Indian children. He was instrumental in getting the Canadian government to apologize for what was done in the Indian Residential schools and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
Will Pope Francis help these abused peoples? Will he repeal the Inter Caetera and cancel church orders that allow genocide for the purpose of grabbing land? I don’t think so – but Kevin Annett and his supporters in countries all over the world will make sure that Pope Francis, Jesuit Superior Adolfo Pachon and Church of England Archbishop Justin Welby all take notice.