Opinion | World

Gyasi Ross: Pope Francis issues apology to indigenous peoples

Pope Francis, center, is greeted by an indigenous boy and President Evo Morales in Bolivia. Photo by L'Osservatore Romano / Facebook

Attorney, author and spoken-word artist Gyasi Ross finds reason to celebrate Pope Francis on his first official visit to the Americas:
See, this Pope is so cool that he’s borderline Indian, ‘cause we’re some cool people. “Almost Native”—that is his official Indian name. I just gave it to him. Officially. Deal with it. But why is he that cool? Why would some buffoon overlook 1000 years of the Catholic Church’s violent and terrible dealings with Indigenous people worldwide and bestow such a cool Indian name to him? We’re not overlooking anything. Ever. We can’t. I mean, the Catholic Church has been absolutely TERRIBLE in regards to Indigenous people—from 1095 when the Pope issued the Papal Bull Terra Nullius (“empty land”) that gave the right to claim any land in non-Christian areas. And then in 1452 when the Pope issued the a law called Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world and authorizing the conquest of their nations and territories.

Bad, bad juju.

Then in 1493, the Pope issued a law called Inter Cetera, granting Spain the right to conquer the lands that Columbus sailed to and all lands that it might come upon in the future. Inter Cetera also expressed the Pope's wish to convert the Natives of to Catholicism in order to strengthen the "Christian Empire." So when we’re talking about violence against Native people, taking Native lands, violence against women, slavery, violence against black folks for the past 500 years…these laws were all the justifications that were needed.

We don’t overlook anything; but we acknowledge progress. And he’s making progress and that’s why I say that THIS particular Pope—Pope Francis—is the sexiest old, wrinkly white dude in all of the land.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: World's Hottest Old White Man? A Few Reasons Why Native People Should Be Crushing on Sexy Pope Francis (Indian Country Today 7/11)

Also Today:
Read Pope Francis’ Speech on the Poor and Indigenous Peoples (Time 7/10)
In Bolivia, Pope Francis Apologizes for Church’s ‘Grave Sins’ (The New York Times 7/10)
Pope Francis apologizes for church's "sins" against indigenous peoples (CBS 7/10)
Pope Francis apologises for Catholic crimes against indigenous peoples during the colonisation of the Americas (The Independent 7/10)
Pope Francis: I'm Sorry (AP 7/9)

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