Joint Statement To The Pontifical Council For Justice And Peace

Joint Statement

The following statement was made from the Long March to Rome Gathering in Florence, Italy from April 30-May 4, 2016:

Greetings to Pope Francis and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace,

Let us begin with some historical context. In 1992, the Indigenous Law Institute (ILI), founded by Birgil Kills Straight (Oglala Lakota Nation) and Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape Nations) began a global campaign, calling upon the Holy See, during the papacy of Pope John Paul II, to formally revoke the Inter Caetera papal bull of May 4, 1493. That campaign continues now in 2016, during the papacy of Pope Francis.

RELATED: Face to Face with Pope Francis to Get the Inter Caetera Papal Bull Revoked

In 1993, the ILI wrote an open letter to Pope John Paul II regarding its call for a ceremonial papal bull revocation. The UN Human Rights Centre delivered that open letter to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. The Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission sent the UN Human Rights Centre a letter stating that the ILI letter had been sent to the Vatican in Rome. The Haudenosaunee also began working on the papal bulls issue in the early 1990s with the Traditional Circle of Elders and Youth.

Although the Holy See was not responsive to that first letter from the Indigenous Law Institute, the ILI, the American Indian Law Alliance, and the Haudenosaunee have continued on with the campaign calling for a revocation of the papal bull of May 4, 1493, as representative of a series of fifteenth century papal decrees of domination and dehumanization. After more than 20-years that campaign has gained a great deal of momentum throughout the world, with the ILI, the Haudenosaunee, the American Indian Law Alliance, the Yakama Nation, the Assembly of First Nations, the Apache Nde Nnee Working Group, and many others, now calling for the issue of “the Doctrine of Discovery” to be dealt with. This overall momentum has resulted in the Long March to Rome gathering for several days in Florence, Italy in May 2016, and has resulted in this face-to-face meeting with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Let us turn now to the focus of our discussion. As you know, after the first historic voyage of Cristobal Colón (Columbus) to the islands that came to be called the Caribbean, Pope Alexander VI, issued several papal bulls to the monarchies of Castile-Aragon (Spain) and Portugal. The first two of those documents are dated May 3 and May 4 of that year. How ironic, then, that May 4, 2016 is the day we are meeting with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican.

The purpose of our visit is to discuss, from our perspective, the significance of those and other such papal documents. When we look at the specific wording of a series of papal decrees (inter alia, Dum Diversas (1452), Romanus Pontifex (1455), Inter Caetera (1493)), we see that they called for non-Christian nations, so-called “pagans,” to be invaded, captured, vanquished, subdued, reduced to perpetual slavery, and for all their possessions and property to be taken away from them in order to benefit Western Christendom with global empire and dominations (“imperi et dominationes”) riches, wealth, and vast areas of real estate. Such language is evidence of Christendom’s bid to establish a system of Christian domination all across Mother Earth by means of a Doctrine of Christian Domination found in the papal bulls.

The papal bulls of 1493 called for “the propagation of the Christian Empire” (imperii christiani propagationem), and for the reduction (reducere), subjection (subjicere), and domination (e.g., “sub actuali dominio temporali aliquorum dominorum Christianorum constitute non sint”) of non-Christian nations (“barbare nationes”) by reducing and dominating them (“deprimantur”).


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Sammy7's picture
This is a clear call to respectful non-violent legal action. Mindful and courageous American Indian Peoples' should respect and follow our reverent leaders who have written this enlightened document that merits our deliberate and immediate action. I respectfully request that American Indian Nations, American Indian groups such as Aim among others, American Indian individuals, and thoughtful and supportive non-Indian people, print and distribute this document to the good members of every Catholic Church in America, every social group that you are a part of, College and University Campuses, social media, relatives, friends, and neighbors and do so now as if your life depended upon it. Sam Valenti 11th Great Grandson of Powhatan