FW: [Dipity] ICT: Indianizing the pope: Reflections on the contin uing encounter..revulsion...response

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Wed Aug 14 12:04:30 MDT 2002

> {NOTE: The following article which appeared  in Indian Country Today
> totally ignores reality.  The indigenous of Mexico have been insulted
> by canonization of Juan Diego who was honored by the Church for
> snitching to the Holy Inquisition on his neighbors who followed
> traditional Indian ceremonies and worshipped as given to them by the
> Creator over centuries of practice, long before Columbus
> arrived..much longer.  This occured during a time of the height of
> the Spanish Inquisition where it was the "thing" to torture a
> confession of fealty out of the victim.  If the victim confessed  and
> died in the process of this *holy* torture, it was thought to be so
> much the better as another convert had been saved from an abysmal
> life of ignorance.
> Currently in Ontario, the people of Wendake, PQ are fighting to
> protect their ancestors whose remains are in danger of being removed
> from their resting place at the Milroy site because the Church wishes
> to install a Catholic cemetary in its place.
> To suggest that the Christian influence has in anyway changed the
> meaning of an ancient Lakota ceremony is one of the most obnoxious
> analogies this editor has read, the fact that it comes from an Indian
> publication is all the more revolting.
> Ishgooda
> Managing Editor
> Native News Online
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Indianizing the pope: Reflections on the continuing encounter
> Posted: <http://www.indiancountry.com/?search=August+13,+2002>August
> 13, 2002 - 11:00am EST
> by: <http://www.indiancountry.com/?author=33>Jim Adams / Indian
> Country Today
> http://www.indiancountry.com/?1029232216 
> In spite of the surviving ambiguity of the Catholic churchâEUR(tm)s
> attitude toward Indian spirituality, in spite of the ugliness on all
> sides of the original incident, a profound connection occurred during
> the service of beatification of the Oaxacan Indian martyrs Juan
> Bautista and Jacinto de los Angeles on Aug. 1. Pope John Paul II
> bonded visibly with his congregation in a way that should seal his
> name as the most Indian of all the popes.
> The bonding went far beyond the symbolism of the service, artfully
> designed to embrace indigenous culture within the bounds of Catholic
> dogma. The importance of the symbolism was not to be underrated,
> however. It helped to repudiate centuries of hostility to Native
> language and ritual.
> The service began with a reading in Nahuatl. Native women bearing a
> large censor and green branches brushed the Pope with its smoke. The
> papers gave the ritual an indigenous Mexican name, but any North
> American Indian would recognize it immediately as a smudging. In
> between the prayers and gospel readings, young men in incredibly tall
> fan-shaped headdresses performed the Dance of the Feather, a
> pre-contact ceremony of Oaxaca province. Representatives of the
> Mixtec and Zapotec peoples of the region gave readings in their
> languages. A portrait of the two Zapotec martyrs emphasized their
> Indian features. It occupied a place of honor in the Basilica of Our
> Lady of Guadalupe, right next to the Europeanized portrait of Juan
> Diego who the day before had been canonized as AmericaâEUR(tm)s first
> Indian saint.
> The message was clear and remarkable. With the blessing of Pope John
> Paul II, the church was following the path of the Rev. Paul
> Steinmetz, the famed Jesuit priest at the Pine Ridge Reservation in
> South Dakota, who incorporated many elements of Lakota religion into
> his services. The indigenous road could also lead to Eternal Truth.
> The beatification service didnâEUR(tm)t go all the way, however. A church
> commentator pointedly observed that it was not a mass but a "liturgy
> of the word," which allowed more openness. The commentator on the
> Catholic cable channel EWTN even apologized to those in the audience
> who might have been offended by the incorporation of the Feather
> Dance. The context of the beatified martyrs set the limits. Juan
> Bautista and Jacinto de los Angeles were murdered by followers of the
> indigenous religion, enraged that the two had exposed them to the
> Spanish authorities. Although the church now respected indigenous
> culture and language, it still firmly rejected native "idolatry."
> But as the service in the Basilica drew to a close, it took a turn
> that left theology behind. Mexico and the Pope are already famous for
> their fervent mutual attachment. In that Aug. 1 service, it reached a
> pitch that could only be expressed in popular song. "I go, but I do
> not go," John Paul told his audience, quoting a current lyric. "I go
> but I will not be absent. Even if I go, in my heart I stay." In what
> has to be one of the memorable moments of his papacy, the
> congregation responded by spontaneously breaking into the "Ay, ay,
> ay, ay" of the "Cielito Lindo", MexicoâEUR(tm)s most widely known
> serenade.
> The outpouring of emotion responded not to the carefully calibrated
> message of the service but to the living symbolism of the Pope
> himself. It was the last day of what well might be his last trip to
> the Americas. Every step he took gave painful evidence of the
> physical cost and the effort of will exacted by his 12-day
> pilgrimage. Once the most athletic of popes, John Paul was now bent
> and afflicted even beyond his 83 years. His facial expression was
> immobilized, leaving only his eyes to express his spirit. Months
> before the trip, the Vatican had warned that he might have to curtail
> his itinerary. That he carried it out in full, even that he insisted
> on walking down the steps from the airplane, rather than taking a
> lift, showed an extraordinary level of self-sacrifice.
> Catholic commentators have even begun to develop a theological
> construct, "the suffering Pope." In his personal pain, John Paul II
> is taking on the travail of the church, and humanity. The orthodoxy
> of this idea might be debatable. Some theologians might argue that
> only Jesus was required to undergo redemptive suffering. But it is a
> concept that Indian peoples understand to the core.
> Sundancers often contrast their own willingness to undergo physical
> suffering to the European Christians, who let Jesus do it for them.
> The refrain of the Sun Dance, and of other rituals of flesh
> sacrifice, is that it will rescue family and community from harm.
> Lehan lechel oyate kin nipi kte, le chemun welo. "So that the People
> might live, I do this thing." Some scholars even suggest a Christian
> influence in this deepened expression of the Lakota Sun Dance. A
> warrior in the 19th-century would have prayed, or given thanks, for
> his own survival, they say; the emphasis on saving the People can be
> traced to the influence of Nicholas Black Elk and his peers, who were
> interacting with Catholic missions. This is debatable of course, just
> as many Catholics would resist the idea that the Church could take
> lessons from indigenous spirituality.
> However, now it is the pope who is living out this doctrine of
> physical self-sacrifice. It might seem strange that the first Polish
> pope should also be the first pontiff to commune with the indigenous
> spirit at such a deep level. But this has been a papacy of many
> strange and, sometimes, hopeful developments. And this is a pope who
> has shown the deepest of connections with all humanity. 
> ©2001 Indian Country Today
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> From: "Carter Camp" <cartercamp at yahoo.com>
> Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 11:02:56 -0500
> Subject: [ndn-aim] Fw: Lehan lechel oyate kin nipi kte, le chemun
> welo
> Status: U
> As I read this piece of bullshit christian propaganda, I'm on the
> side of
> the warriors who long ago killed the sellouts. This is the worst kind
> of
> lying exploitation and it's all over the rez, much more harmful than
> the
> hippy wanabes and fakes, these catholics are stealing our children.
> The
> horrible thing is us ndns buy into that shit and lap it up. The xtian
> beliefs in hell, heaven and the apocolypse mean they can never live
> in
> harmony with the circle of life on a living Mother Earth. Christians
> are
> man-worshippers who long to leave for heaven and murder is their
> ticket to
> salvation. They try to hide their evil with the smoke of ndn ways but
> they
> and their devil are one and the same. BEWARE!
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
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