PWR is world’s largest interreligious gathering. About 10,000 people are expected to attend next Parliament, to be held in Melbourne December 3-9 2009. Parliament is popular event. Anyone can attend – not a body of official delegates or representatives. Not a legislative body purpose of today’s focus group: to ask for your input about how to create an event that reflects the character and aspirations of Australian religious and spiritual communities and which will make a lasting contribution to Australia and the world the Parliament is more than an event … it’s also a process and a mechanism which religious and spiritual communities in Melbourne and across Australia can begin to use straight away to promote better relations and foster positive social change. note strong Indigenous flavour of logo, will be an important element of the Parliament, and Parliament activities – acknowledge local owners of the landBefore we begin asking questions, short powerpoint presentation about the history of the Parliament which will provide a context for our discussion.
My book—1999 (2001) UG Honors project (magna cum laude) MA thesis @ U of London PhD dissertation @ U of Chicago Book—tenure!! Now out of print
The Discovery and Creation of America The Mesoamerican City as Symbol
Seven Sites of Primary Urban Generation• Where did people create Cities?• China, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley, Nigeria, Peru and Mexico – Not Europe – Now in the 3rd World• How is the Urban Mesoamerican Culture Native, Indigenous, to America? – Sites of a Hierophany
Cities as Ceremonial Centers• Ritual theaters which oriented human life, thought, and action--organized economic and social activity• Cosmovision--time and space structured the city into a coherent, systematic worldview
Cosmomagical Thinking• Mesoamerican city as an expression of the macrocosmos (i.e., universe) – Parallels between the microcosmos (human body, landscape, etc.) and the macrocosmos – “Total fact” of urban existence
What is the Meaning of Discovery?• Discovery and Creation of America – Between 1492 and 1521 ?• Bernal Diaz de Castillo’s description of Tenochtitlan (p. xv) – Discovery and destruction of Paradise• Yucatan (Uic athan) we do not understand
America as Paradise• Geographical location of Eden• Utopian mythology• How do Indigenous People fit? – Noble Savage or Wild Humans? – Christians or not? • St. Thomas
Major topicsThe 2009 Parliament in Melbourne will address a number of crucial topics from religious and spiritual perspectives.• Healing the Earth with Care and Concern• Reconciling with the Indigenous Peoples• Overcoming Poverty in a Patriarchal World• Creating Social Cohesion in Village and City• Sharing Wisdom in the Search for Inner Peace• Securing Food and Water for All People• Building Peace in the Pursuit of Justice
An Indigenous Peoples’ Statement to the World on the Traditional Lands of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin NationUnfortunately, certain doctrines have been threatening to the survival of our cultures, ourlanguages, and our peoples, and devastating to our ways of life. These are found inparticular colonizing documents such as the Inter Caetera papal bull of 1493, which calledfor the subjugation of non-Christian nations and peoples and “the propagation of theChristian empire.” This is the root of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery that is stillinterwoven into laws and policies today that must be changed. The principles of subjugationcontained in this and other such documents, and in the religious texts and documents ofother religions, have been and continue to be destructive to our ways of life (religions),cultures, and the survival of our Indigenous nations and peoples. This oppressive tradition iswhat led to the boarding schools, the residential schools, and the Stolen Generation,resulting in the trauma of Indigenous peoples being cut off from their languages andcultures, resulting in language death and loss of family integrity from the actions of churchesand governments. We call on those churches and governments to put as much time, effort,energy and money into assisting with the revitalization of our languages and cultures as theyput into attempting to destroy them;
Doctrine of Christian Discovery-At least since1452 asuccession of Catholic Popesgave Christians sanction toseize lands and goods andenslave non-Christianpeoples.-Africa, throughout theAmericas, Australia-Origin of the Trans-AtlanticSlave Trade-“Age of Discovery”-’Christendom’-ChristianEmpire building-Impediment to adoptingIndigenous Values for oursurvival
Papal bull: (1452) Dum diversas• Pope Nicholas V. authorizes King Alfonso V of Portugal to:• “invade, capture, vanquish, and subdue, all Saracens and pagans…to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery and to take away all their possessions and property.”• Christians encountering non-Christians could take everything!
Papal bull: (May 4, 1493) Inter Caetera• 6 months after Columbus’ ‘Discovery’• Pope Alexander VI calls for “barbarous nations” to be “subjugated” and brought to the Catholic faith and Christian religion “for the propagation of the Christian empire” (“imperii christiani”).• If a Christian enters the lands of non- Christians their lands become the possession of the ‘discoverers.’
Johnson v. M’Intosh (U.S. Supreme Court 1823)• Chief Justice Marshall writes the opinion• Outline of the Doctrine of Discovery as fundamental to US Property Law• Non-Indian U.S. federal Indian law borrows the dehumanizing doctrine of “discovery” by “Christian people” of lands “inhabited by natives, who were heathens.”• Catholic principle of ‘discovery’ morphs into Protestant Nation building project
Oneida Nation v Sherrill, NY (U.S. Supreme Court decision 2005)• Justice Ginsberg writes the majority opinion against the Oneida Nation land action.• First citation is the “Doctrine of Discovery”• Fundamental for presumption of “clear title”
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues• DoCD an Urgent matter to be addressed by the International community – Unifying issue—slavery, colonialism, environmental destruction – Paper submitted by Tonya Gonnella Frichner for 9th session – Human rights matter• Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – September 12, 2007 – CANZUS – From Indigenous ‘people’ to Indigenous “Peoples”
Haudenosaunee Statement Oren Lyons (May 3, 2008)• ...[I]t turns out that the Principles of the Doctrine of Discovery remain foundational and determinative in US federal Law and the law of many other settler states around the world. The Law of Christendom which prevailed during the discovery periods of the 15th, 16th, 17th centuries continues on into today. The Divine Rights of Kings and Popes were the engines of Empire. The Papal Bulls of 1493-94 coupled with the First Letters of Patent issued by King Henry VII to John Cabot and Sons, March 5, 1496 established the process of colonization of the Western Hemisphere.
Cabot Charter (1496)• Henry VII granted North America to John Cabot authorizing him to:“seek out, discover, and find, whatsoever isles, countries, and regions of the heathens and infidels that before this time have been unknown to all Christian people.”
U.S. Episcopal Church July 2009• Voted unanimously to adopt the resolution “Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery”• Advocating for US to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples• Cabot Charter pre-dates Episcopal Church (1530’s) – Episcopalians felt that that DoCD and colonialism was corrosive to their religion!• Similar moves among Unitarians, Friends, grassroots Catholic organizations
Urgent contemporary matter torescind the Church documents related to the Doctrine of Discovery How does it change the story of our founding for Indigenous and Immigrant peoples?
Doctrine of Discovery Study Group• Collaborative group of Onondaga and Syracuse citizens – Join the list! • Sign up sheet outside or email me: – firstname.lastname@example.org – http://www.doctrineofdiscovery.org/index.htm
Valladolid Debate• 1550 between Juan Gines de Sepuveda and Bartolome de las Casas – Do Indians of America possess souls? – What does human sacrifice indicate about their humanity?
Sides of the Debate• Sepuveda • Las Casas – Classical Greek scholar – Priest of the New World – Natural slaves • Sailed with Columbus • Friend of the Indian – Lower rung on the Great Chain of Being – Primitive Christians – Had souls and could be civilized
Sources:Primary sources Texts generated by Mesoamericans before contact with Europeans Fevervary Mayer Picture books Ritual objects
Priestly Writings• Texts by Spanish priests – Written in Nahuatl and Spanish • Florentine Codex by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún – Christianization
Archaeology • Cities everywhere in Mexico – Ballcourt in Xochicalco
Ethnography• Nahuatl as lingua franca of the New World – 32 languages in Mexico – 2,000,000 Nahua speakers today
Structures of Mesoamerican Ceremonial Centers• Worldmaking – city modeled on universe • axis mundi (Eliade)--Center of Cosmos• Worldcentering – 1)body as focus (bloodletting) – 2)organized by specialists--priests• Worldrenewing – yearly cycle of rituals rejuvenated the cosmos