Rekindling the fires of colonialism past
Cultural Preservation Story 110

Rekindling the fires of colonialism past

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John Ahni Schertow
May 16, 2007
 

I don’t normally cover stories like these on IC, but for the sake of relevance I thought I should. First, the commereration, neigh, celebration of Jamestown’s 400th anniversary:

“Fifty years on, we are now in a position to reflect more candidly on the Jamestown legacy”. At this place “Three great civilizations came together for the first time — Western European, native American and African…” or rather the Christians, the Savages, and the indentured servants. Absolutely incredible. Read the Queen’s speech here

From Reuters: “We’re celebrating 400 years of survival in a fairly hostile environment,” said Anne Richardson, chief of the Rappahannock, one of several Powhatan tribes involved in the commemoration events this month that included a visit by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

The struggle is not over. The last time the queen visited Jamestown, 50 years ago on the 350th anniversary, it was illegal in Virginia to register as an Indian, and violators faced up to a year in prison. (read the story)

Why revel in birth of imperial monster?
By Taiaiake Alfred

“America’s 400th Birthday”, the year-long staging of the mythologies of colonialism being played out on Virginia’s cultural and physical landscapes, culminates this month with the commemoration of the founding of the first permanent English settlement in North America.

Jamestown 2007 is being celebrated as the initial step in Euro-Americans’ march to pre-eminence and the foundation of “representative government, the rule of law, free enterprise and cultural diversity”. The Magna Carta is on display and the “Erection of the Cross”, whereby the continent was claimed for England, has been re-enacted. Its official sponsors are the Verizon Corporation and the Anheuser-Busch beer company, and the Queen and the President will preside at the closing ceremonies. What’s not to like?

Well, for one thing, how about the glorification of genocide? It’s hard for a native person to be anything but shocked and saddened to the core by the effrontery of it all. Jamestown 2007 is, in essence, a surreptitious celebration of the conquest of our homeland and the destruction of our people in the service of imperialism and the expansion of the white race. (read the full article)

Second, the Pope’s recent trip to Brazil…

Pope: Indians were ‘silently longing’ for Christianity
Pope Benedict has angered Indian leaders in Brazil for saying their ancestors welcomed Europeans because they were “silently longing” for Christianity.

On the last day of his visit to Brazil, the Pope spoke to Latin American and Caribbean bishops on Sunday. He cited the “rich religious traditions” of Indian people but said their ancestors were seeking God “without realizing it.”

The Pope also suggested that Christianity was not detrimental to Indian culture. “In effect, the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture,” he said.

Jecinaldo Satere Mawe, the chief coordinator for Coiab, an Indian rights group in Brazil, called the comments “arrogant and disrespectful.” Dionito Jose de Souza of the Makuxi Tribe said the Pope was trying to erase the “dirty work” of colonization. Sandro Tuxa, another Indian leader, called them “offensive, and frankly, frightening.”

Reading
Pope Benedict addresses Latin American Bishops Conference
Brazilian indigenous groups criticize pope’s comments
Anger at Pope’s Brazil comments

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