Opinion: Using religion to dominate Native people
"John Trudell of the Santee Sioux comments on the use of mainstream Christianity by the United States as a tool to dominate and colonize large tracts of the continent. Talking to Truthout at Venice Beach, he said that a religious perception of reality as projected by the US, replacing a spiritual perception of reality like that held by most indigenous peoples, “… leads to insanity and incoherence. It leads to self-destruction. It eats into the spirit of the being.”

The analogy he uses in order to illustrate the spiritual impact that religious, administrative and corporate colonization has upon indigenous people is graphic and poetic. He says, “This is a form of mining. It is like a technological form of mining the energy of the planet and we are forms of that energy. That’s the ‘being’ part of us. The human form is made up of metals, minerals and liquids of earth. All things of the earth have ‘being.’ We know they can take the bone, flesh and blood out of the earth that is uranium and put it through a mining-refining process and convert its being into a form of energy, and we know they can do it with fossil fuel. And we know that when they do these things it leaves behind poisons and toxins. And they - and I’m just going to call them the industrial ruling class - but they mine the ‘being’ part of human through programming the human when the human is born to believe their obedience. So the human being that enters this reality is put in with all this distortion that is based upon there being something wrong with them and fear comes real quickly. And when you mine the being part of human, fear is the toxin left behind from that mining. And this programming begins at birth. And the way we’ve been picked apart, we end up as human beings having this tendency to feel powerless. And it’s everywhere.… This powerlessness feeling is pretty prevalent on this planet. “

An acclaimed poet, national recording artist, actor, and activist, Trudell was a spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971. He also served as chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM), from 1973 to 1979.

Steven Newcomb, a Shawnee/Lenape Native American and author of “Pagans in the Promised Land - Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery,” has written: “It’s a little known fact that the Catholic Church issued a number of papal edicts in the fifteenth century that set into motion patterns of colonization that became globalized over many centuries. In the documents “Dum diversas” (1452) and “Romanus Pontifex” (1455), for example, issued by Pope Nicholas V to King Alfonso V of Portugal, the pope “authorized” the king to send men to the Western Coast of Africa and “to invade, capture, vanquish, and subdue” all non-Christians, “to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery,” and to “take away all their possessions and property.” Such patterns of thought and behavior became institutionalized in law and policy, and the patterns are still operative against indigenous peoples today under the concept of “the State.”"

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Dahr Jamail: Kill the Indian. Save the Man (The Atlantic Free Press 7/13)

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