Alex Jacobs: Pope Francis honors symbol of genocide in America

Pope Francis at the canonization mass for Junipero Serra, the founder of the California Indian mission system. Photo from Catholic University of America

Mohawk poet Alex Jacobs reflects on Pope Francis and his visit to the United States, where he bestowed sainthood upon Junipero Serra, who was the founder of the brutal Indian mission system in California:
The Pope came to the New World but his spin doctors say he doesn’t have to rescind those outdated, lethal and racist Papal Bulls that led to the enslavement of New World inhabitants, since all subsequent Papal Bulls rescinded the previous ones. The Church did tell those gold-seekers to “Stop Doing That” (meaning killing Indians for no good reason) and besides the current Pope Frank did apologize to the indigenous in-general, yet he still canonized the Priest Junipero Serra of California, who is termed an “American Saint”. Those who argue it’s all a hundred years too late are not cognizant of decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court that affect our peoples and territories.

The priest Serra and the state California represent genocidal events in American history. Serra’s contribution was to save the souls of the Indians by abusing them and gather them into some kind of Christian Credit Account while wrangling all the labor needed to run the missions as plantations. The California Gold Rush was a series of “genocidal events” that some state officials promoted, leading to local murder conspiracies and individual gold-seekers wantonly killing Native families. This gets us to Sacramento State and Chiitaanibah Johnson and the viral flaming arrow attack unleashed by upset Native Americans (and allies) over the non-call of official genocide by adjunct professor Maury Wiseman in his history class. Ms. Johnson opted out of the class and an “investigation” continues. The Walk for the Ancestors (650 miles San Francisco to Los Angeles to visit the 21 California Missions) should take a detour to Sacramento and audit his history class.

Don’t get me wrong, Pope Frank’s OK as Pope’s go, he apparently practices what he and his boss, Jesus Christ, preached. And he gets to annoy, confound and piss off Republicans, who can’t comprehend a religious leader doing his actual job (unlike their county clerks). My Mom would’ve like this Pope, even if she was Methodist and when she married my Dad, a Catholic, it caused a minor scandal. 100 years ago some Mohawks would burn each other’s houses down over this inane European religious nonsense, but they were just trying to be compliant Christians.

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Alex Jacobs: Pope Francis and When Genocide Isn't Genocide (Indian Country Today 10/4)

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