Thursday, October 22, 2009

An Excerpt: Historical Basis for European Conquest

The following passage is an excerpt from the research paper I wrote that I referenced to in the last post. I was very shocked by the amount of power the Catholic Church/ Pope wielded in the centuries following the death of Christ. I surmise that that power extends into the present day. It could possibly be a great thesis to explore.

To give a background, the title of my paper was Solving the "Indian Problem": The Institutional Genocide of Native Americans. Perhaps I should post the entire paper. I just might do that!

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the content of this post. (My own commentary at the end of the excerpt.)

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Several instances in history illustrate how religion was used to control the population. The Islamic conquest of India comes to mind. Its precepts so divided the people of India, who were predominantly Hindu, that they were unable to unite against the Muslim regime. The Muslim ruler instituted a heavy tax for citizens that did not convert to the Islamic faith and thus used it as a tool to both control and generate revenue.[1] In either circumstance, it benefited the “institution” rather than the citizen.

In similar fashion, the European colonists to America sought to convert and civilize the indigenous population using the Christian religion. Prior to Columbus voyage across the Atlantic, Pope Nicholas V issued a papal bull, “declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world, and specifically sanctioning and promoting the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories”.[2] In effect, this edict became the basis for U.S. Supreme Court opinions in regards to the “discovery” and conquest by European Christian nations of America and its heathen (non-Christian) inhabitants. In other words, the Native American’s became occupants of America rather than sovereign nations, based on religious affiliation. [3]

One of the early British colonies in the new world sought to divide themselves “for license to make habitation, and plantation, and to deduce a colony into Virginia, and other parts in America …not actually possessed by any Christian Prince or People…” In response, the King dispatched to his subjects in Virginia:
The King, greatly commending and graciously accepting of their desires to the furtherance of so noble a work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such people, as yet live in darkness, and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages living in those parts, to human civility and to a settled and quiet Government… [4]

It is this psychology that the colonists brought with them from Europe to justify their eventual takeover of the America’s. The British had adopted, under direction from “heaven” (papal bull), the need to Christianize the world. This directly contributes to the intended genocide of the Native American as well as other non-Christians throughout the world in the sixteenth century.

[1] William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History, Fifth, Vol. I: To 1800 (Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007). [Pg 250]

[2] Steve Newcomb, Indigenous Law Institute, (accessed October 18, 2009).

[3] Ibid

[4] W. Noel Sainsbury, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1675-1676, Also Addenda, 1574-1674 [electronic resource], ed. W. Noel Sainsbury (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1893). [Pg 32]

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When I was a young child and on up until adulthood, my father and I discussed the political influence of the Catholic church. He told me that The Vatican, in Rome, is considered a country. The Pope and any emissary travelling to the United States on behalf of The Vatican are treated as political leaders, complete with Federal detail sent from The White House.

What would prompt such attention from a government? Do other religious leaders garner this type of concern or is the political influence of the Catholic church that powerful?

**Photo Source

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random Things In My Brain

I have been thoroughly uninspired lately. It's possibly because I've been so busy with school. I started on my undergrad degree... AGAIN! It's on my bucket list and I finally have the time to do it. I'm jobless out here in Alabama so I have so much time on my hands. I am enjoying the "no-responsibility" vibe.

The whole idea was for me to work on my novel. That's another task on my bucket list. I really do have a novel in the works. My closest family and friends have gotten their hands on the first couple of pages and I've gotten good responses so far. What I really need is someone that will tear it apart and tell me what really sucks about it or what characters need re-working. It's so close to my heart that I don't really trust just anybody reading it. I need to know that the person critiquing it is sincere. **sigh**

I just finished my first 10-page research paper. The class is History 223, History of the Native American. I forgot just how interesting research papers can be, especially if it's covering a topic that I enjoy. The title I selected - "Solving the Indian Problem: The Institutional Genocide of the Native American". I think that if the classes continue to be as fulfilling and as quick as the last couple of courses I've been taking, all will be just fine. By next February, I will have 30 credits under my belt. I intend to increase my semester load to 18, maybe 20 credits.

Since I'm done with my paper, I'll have more free time to do some real creative writing here and on my novel.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

In Search Of My Piko: Alabama

In a previous post, I gave a brief definition of piko. The piko is, literally, the navel in the language of Hawai'i. Figuratively and symbolically it can be referred to as the center, as the umbilical cord, as the thing that connects you to your surroundings. I bring that up only to say that I have always been umbilically connected to the islands of my birth. Hawai'i! I miss it immensely and have only been gone from it's beautiful shores for 10 days now. When you marry someone that is not from the islands and does not ever connect to the land (as is the case with myself and my husband), you may be forced to leave the 'aina; the land. It pained me to leave, as was evident in my previous posts. Yet here I am, surrounded by land, without an ocean or large body of water in sight.

While I am here, I must find my piko. I must find the thing, the place, the 'something' that is here on this continent that will wholly and umbilically connect me to this land. This is the land of my husbands ancestors. The slave blood in his veins, the same blood that soaked this earth several decades ago is what draws me nearest. The struggle, the heartache, the need to overcome insurmountable odds beckons to me and I am intrigued. The "strange fruit" that once hung from the tree's in these parts baffles my mind. How could one group of people condemn another based on the color of their skin and the circumstances through which they are born? I find myself drawn to the struggle that once was, drawn to know the woeful slave narratives of yesterday. In this, I connect to my own human experience.

I am in search of my piko! Will you come along on my journey?