Columbus and the Church

The following paper by Richard Lundstrom was written on September 22, 1975. I have copied it from an original mimeographed copy in its entirety and added interactive bi-directional links to the end notes. The other Lundstrom paper focuses on the nature and effect of shared cultural mythologies. This paper shows how susceptible we individuals are to self deception and delusion. It is easy to read this paper and be horrified by how terrible Columbus and the early Europeans were to the native people when they first arrived on this continent, but to do so would mean missing the point which is that we modern day humans are no less susceptible to delusions than were the first European-Americans. It should be pointed out that Mr. Lundstrom was a devout Catholic and a Jesuit scholastic, and his focus on the Roman Catholic Church should not be taken to mean that other Christian Churches and other religions do not also have similar problems. The cause of all of the problems is not the churches, but rather our own human nature.   It can be very painful to tear away our blinders and see ourselves for what we are, and it can be even harder, but far more important  to learn to forgive ourselves without putting our blinders back on.

The Pontifical Commission of Justice and Peace has recently issued a paper entitled "The Church and Human Rights" admitting that the Catholic Church has not always properly promoted and defended human rights.1 While affirming the basic truth of its traditional dogmas and the rectitude of its current moral stance, the paper admits that, in the matter of justice, the Church has erred or sinned. The Vatican has prudently excluded the paper from any of its traditional papal categories--it is neither solemn definition, nor encyclical, nor bull nor allocution--for with what degree of its infallible authority shall the Church admit that it has erred? Rather the admission has come in humility, without pomp, without the thunderous dialectic and theological dust raised by such issues as those concerning the Trinity, the hypostatic union, transubstantiation and the geometric configurations of the souls of the just.

Nonetheless, the paper is timely and if it guides us aright it might lead us to the transformation that John XXIII, Paul VI and the World Synod of Bishops have urged, but toward which the Catholic Church in the United States has advanced uncertainly, obliquely, if indeed it has advanced at all. It could hardly be otherwise since a Church convinced of its own righteousness is in no position to move anywhere except in constricted concentric circles around the vision of its own innocence, a vision that has endured despite the fact that the United States has been and is so manifestly unChristian that one scarcely knows where to begin to expand the proposition, and despite our terrible oppression of the non-white masses of mankind. We Catholics have always consoled ourselves that such sinful conditions exist despite the Church. Now, however, following the example of the Pontifical Commission, we may examine our collective conscience, repent, and, thus freed, turn our faces toward justice and peace and the deep structural transformations needed to attain them.

The greatest obstacle to such salvific awareness of sin is the typical aprioristic conviction that the Church has not sinned because she can not. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the Church can sin because it has done so, most mortally indeed.

Let the examination begin with Christopher Columbus for in a very real sense his "Discovery" begins the American experience. Furthermore, on October 12 we shall uncritically celebrate the man and a nice selection of his deeds supplied, like as not, by such seekers of truth-before-profit as EXXon, Gulf, and I.T.T. We shall not celebrate his sins nor those of his Church. But we can, perhaps, become aware of them.

Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Seas, after a long voyage, hit an island he called San Salvador and went ashore under a banner emblazoned with the Cross. He found its inhabitants to be merry, loving, generous, hospitable, possessors of a spiritual religion, unacquainted with murder and theft, so gentle that a hundred would fly before a single Spaniard who was but jesting with them. All of these things he wrote in his own hand.2 Yet with no seeming awareness of inconsistency, he attacked these "Indians" and their villages, enslaving as many as his ships could handle on their return voyage.3

On his second voyage, a colonizing expedition, he set up headquarters on the island he called Hispañola, now Haiti and Santo Domingo. He subjected the inhabitants of the island in a series of attacks featuring horse, cannon, musket, lance, sword and man-killing dog against defenseless men, women, and children.4 The Indians were soon demoralized both by the attacks themselves and by their inability to comprehend the unrestrained rapacity of their tormentors.

In order to extract the wealth of the West Indies as quickly as possible, Columbus next instituted the encomienda system--a grant of land with the forced, unpaid, perpetual labor of the Indians living on it.5 From the Indians not thus enslaved Columbus exacted a terrible tribute6 which the most strenuous labor of the strongest Indians could not satisfy. And one's life stood forfeit for non-payment of tribute. The Indians could not tolerate the consequent agony. They resisted. Some fled to the mountains where they starved to death or were hunted down by the man-killing dogs. Others practiced mass infanticide and mass abstinence from sexual relations in order that children should not live in such horror. Many were subjected to unspeakable torment: they were dismembered by horses, they were maimed in ingenious ways, they were roasted upon griddles, they were disemboweled, impaled, drowned, hanged, the heads of babes were dashed against rocks. And when an Indian turned upon a Christian and killed him, there went forth an edict--for every Spaniard killed, one hundred Indians shall die.7

Thus Hispanola was soon depopulated under Columbus and his immediate successors, including his son Diego. So slave traders fanned out to the other islands of the Caribbean in search of more slaves and the Indians of these islands underwent the same annihilation.

On Hispanola alone more than 250,000 Indians perished; in all the West Indies--the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles--more than a million were exterminated. 8 The actions initiated by Columbus meant absolute genocide. The Indians of the Indies--the Taino, the Arawak, the Carib--have been extinct for four hundred and fifty years.9

Columbus emerges from the blood and fire of the charnel house he himself created as a profiteer, a slave owner, a slave trader,10 and an active practitioner of genocide. He raised the curtain on the most terrible crime in human history--the onslaught of the white Christians against the Indians of the Americas. And Columbus was above all else a Catholic. He was faithful to his devotions and fervent in them. His chief motive in his Voyages, he said, was the spread of the Catholic Faith through the conversion of the natives.11 He was so conscious of this mission that he developed a cryptographic autograph that emphasized the etymology of Christopher: he was a Christ bearer.12 He adopted the brown habit of the Franciscans as a sign of his commitment to poverty and humility.13 He could gather fifteen hundred Indian slaves for shipment to Spain and when the assigned ships could hold only five hundred he could turn the surplus thousand over to his men for an unalleviated orgy of sex and violence, to escape which some Indians ran themselves to death, literally.14 Yet Columbus could retire after his nightly prayers, invincibly righteous, and lose no sleep over these murders. His chief worry was about inadequate profits.

Columbus was no hypocrite.

Would that he had been.

His attitudes, like those of the Europeans who followed him to the New World, were formed in a Catholic culture and were transmitted to him in the very air he breathed. He inhaled them from home, school, pulpit, books; from parents, monks, priests, nuns, and friends.15 To understand such attitudes, one might recall the marriage of the Catholic Church to the power of the Roman Empire fashioned by Constantine. And one might remember especially the long centuries of warfare between the Catholic Europeans, who were white, and the followers of Islam, who were not.

Whatever the factors, by the time of Columbus the Catholic attitude toward pagans was full blown and case hardened. The maritime laws of Oleron express it thus: Any Christian may Attack any Turk, or any other enemy of the Catholic Faith, treating him as if he were a dog, without fear of penalty.16 In 1430 Pope Martin V sanctioned Portuguese incursions into Africa by granting them the exclusive right to commerce, the slave trade and evangelization there.17 In 1452 Pope Nicholas V reaffirmed these rights.18 In 1488 Pope Innocent VIII accepted with joy a gift from his fellow Christian monarchs--one hundred moorish slaves.19 In 1489 this same pope promulgated a bull giving Portugal permission to enslave Saracens and other pagans and to seize their land.20 In 1493 Alexander VI in the Bulls Inter Cetera I and II divided the non-Catholic world between Spain and Portugal, Spain to get the New World, Portugal to get Africa and the East, even though he knew these lands were inhabited. For he did "give, grant, and assign forever to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, all singular the aforesaid countries and islands.... together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances of the same." "The barbarous nations," the Pope states as his cherished wish, "were to be overthrown and brought to the faith itself."21

The basic attitude of the Europeans as described by and prescribed by the Popes is quite clear: A Catholic recognizes no rights in non-Catholics. And those who were not Catholic were, with very few exceptions, not white either. These pagan, colored peoples could be attacked dispossessed, enslaved, forcibly converted, killed. Indeed Christian nations were under an oft-repeated papal commission to do so. The Catholic attitude, the attitude shared by Columbus, had these notes: it was arrogant in its profession of absolute power over men of other religions and races; it was racist in its condemnation of non-Whites; it was violent in the conquest, conversion and cultural suppression of those it oppressed. All these qualities existed in extreme degrees. One final note--the Christians and their Church were unconscious of any error or sin.

Obviously Columbus was no moral aberration. He was very much the man of his times. It was an article of his Catholic Faith that these non-white pagans had no rights before a Catholic. Hence he respected none. The treatment he meted out to the Indians was sanctioned by Pope and King. In conquering, enslaving, looting and exterminating them, he was about the work of God. If there was any fault anywhere, it lay with the Indians.

Columbus is a monstrosity. Supported by his Church, he committed crimes in a spirit of idealistic righteousness. In the name of God, he worked genocide against the people of God.

Throughout the Christian attack on the Indians, the clergy operated with the same attitude as Columbus and their other lay counterparts. They effected little true religious conversion and much psychological destruction.22 It might be relevant here to mention that the Indian tribes, almost universally, would have nothing to do with any Christian religion until they had been physically overpowered;23 Hence the priests, and later the ministers, quickly learned to attach themselves to the big battalions of the Europeans.) Priests saw to it that the temples and alters of the Indians were razed, that their sacred icons were smashed; that their historical records were destroyed.24 They branded as diabolical the Indians' religious beliefs and practices and gods. They further humiliated the Indians by enslaving them and forcing them to build thousands of churches and monasteries--often on the sites of their own holy places.25 The Church and its religious orders grew wealthy from the loot and the slaves. The clergy exacted their daily bread from the sweat of the Indians' brows.26 They were in a slightly sublimated manner, one hopes, arrogant, racist, greedy and violent. And they too were totally unconscious of it. For even the best of priests, men like Toribio de Motolinía and Bartolomeo de las Casas, supported the conquest and did their best to further its aims.27 (Las Casas would later change his mind, but he is a lonesome figure.)28 They sometimes protested the excesses of greed and slaughter but even here their chief consideration was profits or empire, as when Motolinía warns the Europeans that their depredations in New Spain will soon leave no one to serve them.29

And the ministers of the Church were always present as the conquest spread, sometimes even commanding the military forces themselves.30 Catholic priests managed the building of a long line of mission-forts from South Carolina to Florida, thence along the Gulf Coast to Texas, from Texas through New Mexico and Arizona to California and the Pacific Coast.31 The Indians lured into these missions were enslaved.32 They were not free to leave;33 They were subjected to a harsh and unrelenting regimen enforced by the priests through severe physical punishment, including death;34 they were impressed for military service against fellow Indians;35 their labor was exploited to support garrisons strategically located to hold off the English, French, Russians, Americans and unconquered Indian tribes;36 their religions, their social relationships, their cultures were suppressed.37 These missions were, furthermore, death traps in which, as at Santa Barbara, tribes had a half-life of thirteen years.38 Missionaries could demand and get scalps as proof of "their" Indians' success in Christian wars against other Indians.39 They could administer severe beatings to Indians they thought disobedient, unobservant, laggard.40 They could order the death sentence for what they considered more serious offenses (refusal to submit was the most common "crime") and could even order the heads of executed Indians to be displayed around mission territory impaled on pikes as a warning to other Indians.41 (Semi-American heros like Eusebio Kino and Junípero Serra must face many such charges.)42 Naturally the Indians resisted. In the Carolinas, in Florida, in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, in California and all points to the south, they killed priests, more than three hundred being Franciscans and Jesuits.43 They killed one hundred and eleven priests in what is now the United States alone.44

The motive for the Indians' resistance to the priests was explained by Popé, the leader of the 1680 Pueblo revolt in New Mexico in which the Indians put twenty-one priests to death.45 In addition they broke up and burned the churches, the images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and other saints, the bells, the crosses and everything pertaining to Christianity; they separated from the wives the priests had given them and took those whom they desired; they plunged into the rivers, washing themselves and their clothing in order to remove every vestige of the sacraments. Those things they did, said Popé, because they wished to be free of the labor they performed for the religious and the Spaniards and because they wished to live in their own way.46

The general Indian attitude toward the Church may have been best summarized by the Inca Atahualpa who, when informed by Fray Vincente de Valverde that he must submit to the Europeans because the Pope had given his land and its people to them, replied, "Your Pope must be nuts." Such candor resulted in his early execution--for heresy.47

It would be a mistake and a distraction to suggest that these priests were knowingly immoral. With very few exceptions, they were men of integrity and sanctity. Their labors and self-sacrifice were often heroic. Their devotion to Christ was utterly beyond dispute. It is precisely here that a large part of the problem lies: men of great personal probity act as the executors of a corrupt and oppressive institutional structure. It is a tribute to the strength of ideology that it can bring even the best of men to such a tragic state. And the religious ideology is the strongest ideology of all.

What Columbus and the Spaniards did, other European Christians likewise did. The Portuguese, the French, the English, the Dutch, the Swedes, the Russians, the Americans--all possessed the same attitudes deriving from the same ideological base.48 All were arrogant, racist, greedy and violent and few were aware of any sin. Only practical exigencies such as the maximization of profits necessitated regional adjustments in the treatment of the Indian tribes. Moreover, Indian populations in the north were not as dense as those in the West Indies, New Spain and Peru. Still the white Christians did the best they could with the Indians available to them. The Puritan Fathers and Mothers, for example, exterminated the Pequot Indians with ruthless efficiency, thereby setting up a model we Americans have repeatedly emulated and with which we are still enamored.49 And the culture-destructive activities of the Spanish priests have been more than matched by the efforts of the United States churches, including the Catholic Church, to complement military subjugation with the annihilation of Indian societies and the individual Indian personality.50 These assaults which have by no means ceased, reached their greatest intensity in the United States, in the twentieth century, against the Indians of the northern plains51 and it may be, to quote John Collier, "that the world has never witnessed a religious persecution so implacable and so variously implemented."52

Samuel Eliot Morrison, even though his writings suggest that he may be an approximate academic analogue to the activists like the Paxton Boys and General Custer, quotes Bartolomeo de las Casas in calling Columbus's activities on Hispañola irrational, abominable and intolerable.53 He might have said the same thing about activities of the Catholic Church. He chose instead to praise the Church.54 Among historians, as among ordinary mortals, the Church is justified, or excused at least, because her motive was the conversion of the Indians to the Catholic Faith.55 But this motive has caused as much destruction among the Indians as the adventurer's lust for gold, probably more.56 Still it is the usual practice of white Christian historians to ignore genocide by concentrating upon the motives of those who are responsible for it.57 In this regard, many Indians are becoming less and less infatuated with white historians.

For the Native Americans are still an oppressed people, living constantly under the awful threat of imminent destruction. Tribes still vanish with alarming regularity, leaving none to mourn their vanished beauty and their thousands of years of creative cooperation with the God of us all. They are still victims of the same greed, violence, arrogance and racism that came to their world with Columbus. Their destruction is not now achieved by gun fire, although the current infestation of the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Sioux Reservations by federal forces gives eloquent witness to this nation's readiness to do so. Rather the Indians die because those who dominate the nation still lust after Indian land and resources and will not allow the Indians any power commensurate to the need to protect themselves. They die because the most solemn law of the land in their regard is violated time and time again by the government of the United States. They die because their very existence gives the lie to our bicentennial bombast. They die because our system of capitalism, like a vampire, can live only on the life-blood of victims.58

They die because the Church has failed them.

On the reservation this Church furthers oppression; it preaches a truncated Christian morality that fosters submission; it preaches a false peace that frustrates the revolution that must occur if the Indian nations are to survive. In its dealings with non-Indians, the Church curries the favor of those who have favors to curry only because Indians are poor. It will not apply its Christian ethic to challenge the structural immorality that impoverishes the Indians. Rather it derives its support from these structures and has all the usual reasons of expediency for not risking its physical survival by standing with the Indians in opposition to them.

Yet it is with God's people as it was with Christ himself. One is either with them or against them...

Indians themselves are trying to make us understand. Many speak to the Church through their indifference to it. Others make sterner statements.

In 1971 the Hopi informed us that the Christian Church is their greatest threat--ranking ahead of the U.S. Army, Peabody Coal and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.59

In 1973, in both anger and agony, Vine Deloria, Jr., spoke thus to us Christians:

"To have given an adequate answer at Wounded Knee the federal government would have had to admit that it is and always has been made up of pathological liars. But by definition whites and Christians, the civilized peoples of the world, do not lie..." "On the one hand the Indian protestors are intent on demonstrating that the white man's religion and his government are hollow, without honor and without substance. Experienced Indians regard this desire to show up the bankruptcy of the white's values as suicidal. Of course practically every Indian is convinced that the white man is corrupt to the core, but many Indians reject attempts to demonstrate as much because--and they point to Vietnam and the massacres of the 1800s--they believe that the white man will kill his opposition rather than win it over by example or reason with it."

For the Indian, he says, the dilemma is how to call upon a more universal sense of justice than the white Christian world can sustain or fulfill.60

In 1975, at their July meeting in New Mexico, members of the American Indian Movement agreed that the Institutional Church is the greatest enemy of the Native Americans.

Such statements contain either the seeds of our redemption or the obituary of the relevance of the Christian Church. They should elicit response other than indignation if the Church is to carry out the mission of its God.

But for a little moment, following the example of the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace, and as a first step toward the repentance and the transformation that must take place, let us admit it simply: our Holy Mother the Church and we her children, have, most grievously, sinned.

Richard H. Lundstrom
September 22, 1975

End Notes

1. Denver Catholic Register, Sept. 3, 1975, p. 1.
2. Olson and Bourne, Eds., The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, "Journal of the First Voyage," Scribner's, New York, 1901, p. 144.
A sailor, Rodrigo de Triana, first saw land and should have collected a 10,000 maravedi reward for the first sighting. Columbus, however, staged his own "first" sighting. Rodrigo was so angry that he converted to Islam. Columbus collected the reward in the form of a life annuity paid by a levy on the butchers of Seville. So reports Las Casas. p. 109.
3. Ibid., p. 144, p. 225.
Morison, Samuel Eliot, Christopher Columbus Mariner, Mentor, New York, 1955, p. 43, p. 64.
4. Washburn, Wilcombe, ed., The Indian and the White Man, Anchor, Garden City, 1964, pp. 222-7.
Las Casas, Bartolomeo de, The Spanish Colonie, University Microfilm, Ann Arbor, 1966, pp. A1 - A4
5. Collier, John, The Indians of the Americas, Mentor, New York, 1948, p. 79, p. 80.
Morison, loco citato, p. 119. Morison calls this system repartimiento. The repartimiento was a grant of Indian labor.
Pearson, Keith L., The Indian in American History, Harcourt Brace, New York, p. 32
6. Collier, loco citato, p. 72.
7. Las Casas, loco citato, p. A 3, p. A 4, p. A 5 and passim.
Washburn, loco citato, p. 225-7.
8. Morison, loco citato, p. 98.
9. Stock, Francis Borgia, O.F.M., ed., Motolinía's History of New Spain, Academy of American Franciscan History, Washington, D.C., 1951, p. 100.
"Columbus and Genocide" - by ??? from American Heritage Magazine, Oct. 1975.
In order to enslave the Indians over possible objections of the "sentimental" Isabella, Columbus sent back word to Spain that the Indians were cannibals. The lie still enjoys some repute.
10. Morison, loco citato, p. 97, p. 98.
11. Morison, Ibid., p. 118
In the plan of colonization submitted to Ferdinand and Isabella, Columbus asked for priests. One gets the strong impression, however that he wanted them principally to ride shotgun on gold shipments back to Spain. When Columbus concluded his second voyage, not one Indian had been converted, but untold thousands had been murdered. p. 273-7.
12. Morison, Ibid., p. 64.
13. Morison, Ibid., p.102.
14. Morison, Ibid., p. 97.
15. Prescott, William H., History of the Conquest of Mexico and History of the Conquest of Peru, Modern Library, New York, p. 275 and passim.
16. Pardessus, J.M., ed., Collection de Lois Maritimes, "Jugemens d'Oleron," Paris, 1828, Tom. I, p. 351, cited by Prescott, loco citato, p. 276.
"S'ilz sont pyrates, pilleurs, ou escumens de mer, ou Turcs, et autres contraires et ennemis de nostredicte foy catholique, chaseun peut prendre sur telles manieres de gens, comme sur chiens, et peut l'on les desrobber et spolier de lurs bins sans pugnition. C'est le jugement." (Prescott's italics). Prescott loco citato, p. 277.
17. Houtart, Francois and Rousseau, André, The Church and Revolution, Orbis Books, New York, 1971, p. 245.
18. Ibid., p. 245.
Valtiera, Angel, S.J., Peter Claver, Newman, Westminster, p. 76. "It is granted to King Alfonso V of Portugal that he may claim for himself and his successors any Saracens, pagans, kingdoms, dukedoms, possessions, real and moveable properties that they may possess, and subject the aforesaid persons to perpetual slavery." (Valtierra's italics.)
19. Valtierra, loco citato, p. 76.
21. Deloria, Vine, Jr., God is Red, Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1973, p. 274.
McNickle, D'Arcy, They Came Here First, Lippincot, New York, 1949, p. 156.
After the terrible slaughter of New Spain, Clement VII welcomed the returned hero, Cortés, and amid magnificent celebration and pomp thanked the "Conquerors of Mexico" for the great service they had rendered to Christianity. He also issued bulls granting them plenary absolution for any sins they may have committed. (Some smack of Ford and Nixon here.). Prescott, loco citato, p. 661.
22. Moquin, Wayne and Van Doren, Charles, eds., A Documentary History of the Mexican Americans, New York, Praeger, 1971, pp. 66-7.
Spicer, Edward H., Cycles of Conquest, U. of Arizona Press, Tucson, p. 282.
Burke, James Wakefield, Missions of Old Texas, A. S. Burns and Co., New York, 1971, pp. 31-2.
Bancroft, Hubert Howe, History of Mexico, Bancroft and Co., San Francisco, 1883, Vol II p. 386.
Motolinía and Bancroft tell the story of Cristóbal, an Aztec youth, who was baptized after being forced to attend a Catholic school. His father killed the boy in a fit of terrible rage. Motolinía thought the father martyred the youth. Perhaps the father thought he was performing the obsequies for a dead Indian. 
23. Morison, loco citato, pp.325-6.
Prescott, loco citato, p. 122.
Washburn, loco citato, p.161, pp.167-75.
The leader of Indian resistance on Hispañola was Hatuey, whose name has long graced bottles of a famous Cuban beer. Hatuey escaped Hispañola and reached Cuba, becoming the leader of Indian resistance there. Finally captured, and about to be burned alive, he was urged to embrace Christianity and thus go to Heaven. Hatuey asked if white men also went to heaven. Upon hearing that they did, he replied, "Then I will not be a Christian, for I would not go again to a place where I must find men so cruel." Prescott, loco citato, p. 123. In his report on the Vizcaino expedition of 1602, Fr. Ascensión states that no wars should be made upon Indians without the advice and consent of the priests. (Boulton, loco citato in footnote 27, p.132.)
24. Spicer, loco citato, p. 325-6.
Bancroft, loco citato, p. 179.
Collier, John, loco citato, p. 69.
25. Waters, Frank, Pumpkin Seed Point, Sage, Chicago, p. 97.
Collier, loco citato, p. 88.
26. Collier, loco citato, p. 69.
Prescott, loco citato, p. 1122.
27. Boulton, Herbert Eugene, ed., Spanish Explorations in the Southwest, 1542-1706, Scribners, New York, p. 114, pp. 131-2.
Bancroft, loco citato, p. 18, p. 23, p. 93, passim.
Motolinía, loco citato, p. 225, p. 292 and passim.
Burns, Edward McNall, and Ralph, Philip Lee, World Civilizations Their History and Their Culture, W.W. Norton and Co., New York, 1974, Vol. II, p. 883.
Las Casas, Bartolomeo de, Treynte Prooposiciones muy iuridicas, etc., Seville, p. 52. cited by Boulton, loco citato, p. 134.
Fr. Ascensión shows incisive insights into the profit motive. (Boulton, loco citato, p. 132.)
28. Prescott, loco citato, p. 2-4-7.
When Las Casas went against Dr. Sepulveda in their famous debate, he openly condemned the basis of the Conquest as expressed by many Popes and Spanish monarchs. He took a terrible risk by thus espousing heresy--the Inquisition was in full swing. It should be noted that he was at least allowed to speak. (Las Casas, loco citato, pp. Q4-R3.
29. Motolinía, loco citato, p. 251.
30. Boulton, loco citato, pp. 132-33, p. 437, p. 439.
Spicer, loco citato, p. 324.
Weigle, Morta, Penitentes of the Southwest, Ancient City Press, Santa Fe, 1970, p. 4.
31. Bolton, Herbert, The Mission as a Frontier Institution in the Spanish-American Colonies, Texas Western College Press, El Paso, 1960, pp. 1-23.
Washburn, loco citato, p. 131.
32. Collier, loco citato, p. 131.
33. Staff of Sunset Books, eds., The California Missions, Lane Book Co., Menlo Park, Calif., 1964, pp. 14-15, 31-32.
Collier, loco citato, p. 131.
34. Spicer, loco citato, p. 325.
Moquin and Van Doren, eds., loco citato, pp. 139-146.
Bolton, loco citato, p. 13.
35. Bolton, loco citato, p. 13.
36. Englebert, Omer, Last of the Conquistadors Junípero Serra 1713-1784. Harcourt Brace, New York, 1956, p. 58.
Staff of Sunset Books, loco citato, pp 14-15, 31-2.
Boulton, loco citato, p. 9, p. 10, p. 11.
Omer Englebert's (he's French) work on Serra was received as definitive. Hear him about Indians: "How was one to civilize these Redskins; dirty, boisterous, lazy, generally drunkards, in the habit of lying, cheating, stealing, killing; people who begged without shame, enjoyed the sight of suffering, knew nothing of the sentiment of honor or gratitude, seemed susceptible only to fear and considered as their neighbors only the folk of their own clan and kinship?.... Even in our day, if all you do for one of them is teach him his letters and give him an automobile, you will have one newspaper reader and motorist the more, but not one savage the less....Since civilization is a matter of the inner being, and of an ethical standard, it was only by transforming their soul and their conscience through the revelation of the true god and the observance of the Ten Commandments that one could change these malefactors into honest folk." Englebert, loco citato, p. 39. 
37. Burke, loco citato, p. 45, p. 9.
Moquin and Van Doren, eds., loco citato, pp. 131-6.
38. Collier, loco citato, pp. 31-2.
39. Bolton, loco citato, p. 11.
40. Collier, loco citato, p. 131.
Burke, loco citato, p. 145.
Loth, John H., Catholicism on the march, The California Missions, Vantage Press, New York, 1961, pp. 71-2.
41. Spicer, loco citato, p. 310.
42. Spicer, loco citato, p. 325.
Bolton, loco citato, p. 11.
New Catholic Encyclopedia, McGraw Hill, N.Y. 1867, vol. 6, p. 45.
If it hadn't been for Junípero Serra and his missions, the Russians may well have taken over California. The Nation for Dec. 10, 1914, thanks Serra for having snatched California from Russia. Considering current papal overtures to Russia, one wonders how this fact will relate to his proposed canonization.
  The Indian, Orlando, to Junípero Serra: "Why was it, Padre, you friars had such a grudge against nakedness? Why was it so wicked to go about as God made us?" and in explaining a massacre: "They taught us to pray, spell and plow and dissemble our sex....Suppose we preferred hunting and fishing to hammering horseshoes?....What if we liked to dance under the moon....what if we liked our freedom under the stars?" Niebuhr, Hulda, review of The Great Walker, Christian Century, Aug. 22, 1956, p. 973.
43. Bolton, loco citato, p. 114-5, pp. 14-15.
Marshall, T.W.M., Christian Missions: Their Agents and Their Results, Excelsior, New York, 1896, Vol. II, pp. 198-205.
44. Hughes, Thomas, The History of the Society of Jesus in North America, Longmans, Green and Col, New York, 1917, Vol. II, p. 210.
45. Moquin and Van Doren, loco citato, pp. 131-6.
Bolton, loco citato, p. 15.
Chavez, Fray Angelico, La Conquistadora, St. Anthony Guild Press, Patterson, 1954, p. 51.
46. Moquin, Wayne, ed., Great Documents in American Indian History, Fraeger, New York, 1973, pp. 112-5.
Josephy, Alvin M., Jr., "Revolt in the Pueblos," American Heritage, June, 1961, pp. 65-77.
47. Prescott, loco citato, p. 940.
Through unscrupulous guile, Pizarro lured the Inca Atahualpa and the flower of his nation, unarmed, into a trap where thousands of Indians were simply butchered. Pizarro cut his hand. The only other Spanish blood shed was that of the clerics who scourged themselves to blood to seek God's favor in the "battle." (Les Ecclesiasticos i Religiosos se ocuparon toda aquella noche en oracion pidiendo a Dios el mas conveniente suceso á su sagrado servicio, exaltacion de la fé é salvacion de tanto numero de almas, derramando muchas lagrimas i sangre en las disciplinas que tomaron."
(Naharro, Relacion Sumaría, MS). Prescott, p. 939.
48. Thomas, G.E., "Puritan Indians and the Concept of Race," New England Quarterly, March, 1975, p. 3.
Edmonds, Walter D., The Musket and the Cross, Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1968, pp. 145-148, 138-9, 210-224.
49. Deloria, loco citato, p. 173.
Deloria, Vine, Jr., Behind the trail of Broken Treaties, Delacorte Press, New York, 1974, p. 189.
Shorris, Earl, Death of the Great Spirit, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1971, pp. 79-88.
Sheehan, Bernard W., Seeds of Extinction, Morton, New York, 1974, p. 116, pp. 205-18, pp. 276-8.
Mather, Cotton, Magnalia Christi Americana or History of New England 1620-98, Antheneum House, New York, 1967, pp. 154-5, pp. 574-6 and passim.
Farb, Peter, Man's Rise to Civilization, Avon, p. 207. Pearson, loco citato, p. 46.
Spencer, Robert F. and Jennings, Jesse D., The Native American, Harper and Row, New York, 1965, p. 350.
Pearce, Roy Harvey, The Savages of America, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, 1965, pp. 21-35.
Klingberg, Frank J., ed., The Carolina Chronicle of Dr. Francis Le Jau, 1706-1717, U. of Carolina Press, Berkely, 1956, pp. 122-3.
In Moby Dick Melville names the doomed ship Pequot as a symbol of the Indians sacrificed to Kinky Puritan righteousness.
50. Pearson, loco citato, p. 79-83.
Spencer and Jennings, loco citato, p. 500, p. 501.
Collier, loco citato, p. 103.
Berkhofer, loco citato, p. 7, p. 106, p. 151.
Prucha, Francis Paul, Americanizing the American Indian, Harvard U., Cambridge, 1973, pp. 2-10.
Faced with this type of Indian apathy, the Church groups on the reservations tried various means of persuasion. Force was the most effective and common method. Missionaries and soldiers went to Indian homes and, in many cases, literally carried children to school against the wishes of the parents. The missionaries also made religious instruction and worship a requirement for receiving federal services.
(Pearson, p. 320.)
  Coupled with the desire for new lands was the equally adamant demand of the Christian churches for the breakup of the "tribal mass" through allotment. Missionaries had visited nearly every tribe, and in many of the remote tribes they discovered a relative immunity to their overtures in the religious field. The custom in most tribes of living in small groups or bands within the large reserved areas meant that the religious traditions of the tribes were being preserved through community religious ceremonies. Siphoning off a few converts for the little missions became a difficult task for the missionaries. They demanded that the reservations be divided into allotments according to the number of individuals in the tribe. In that way, the community groups would be destroyed and each family would be isolated from the rest of the tribe, and so, theoretically, vulnerable to conversion efforts. The result of this pressure was the passage of the General Allotment act of 1887 which gave the President the authority to make agreements with the tribes for the allotment of their lands and the purchase of the "surplus" lands by the United States.
Deloria, Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties, p. 189.
51. Collier, loco citato, pp. 132-34.
52. Ibid., p. 69. (also p. 48).
53. Morison, Christopher Columbus Mariner, p. 99.
54. Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Southern Voyages 1492-1616, U. of Oxford Press, New York, 1974, p. 737.
"Let us not forget that this century (16th) was also an epiphany in the religious sense; the main conception and aim of Columbus to carry the word of God and the knowledge of his Son to the farthest corners of the globe, became a fact: Christ had been made manifest to a new race of Gentiles. By 1615, the Christian Mass was being celebrated in hundreds of churches from the St. Lawrence through the Antilles to the River Platte, and along the west coast from Valdivia to Lower California. To the people of the New World, pagans expecting short and brutish lives, void of hope for any future, had come the Christian vision of a merciful God and a glorious Heaven. And from the decks of ships traversing the two great oceans and exploring the distant verges of the earth, prayers arose like clouds of incense to the Holy Trinity and to Mary, Queen of the Sea."
Morison knows of the horrors of the European attack under which millions of Indians died terrible deaths. Yet he has been speaking thus for decades. His attitudes reflect the inability of stupendous scholarship to transform basic racist biases.
55. Prescott, loco citato, pp. 257-77, pp. 685-6.
56. Bancroft, Hubert Howe, California Pastoral, San Francisco, History Co. Publishers, 1888, p. 83. Bancroft says:
"European piety was little less pestilential than European avarice."
Bancroft also notes here that 340,000 people were punished by the Inquisition, 32,000 being burned. Much of this occurred in the New World, the confiscated property of those convicted serving to enrich the Church. Cf. also Collier, loco citato, p. 83 and following.
57. de Madariaga, Hernan Cortes, Conqueror of Mexico, MacMillan and Co., New York, 1941, pp. 404-6.
Berkhofer, Robert F., Jr., Salvation and the Savage, U of Kentucky Press, Lexington, 1965, passim. C: Introduction,
Morison, locis citatis, passim.
Prescott, loco citato, passim.
Spicer, loco citato, p. 281.
Bancroft, History of Mexico, pp. 485-7.
Vaughan, Alden T., New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians, Little, Brown and Co., passim.
58. "Indian Oratory," Earth magazine, August, 1972. Sitting Bull explains it thus clearly: "They (the whites) have made many laws, and those the rich may break but the poor may not. They take money from the poor and weak to support the rich...."
59. Lalley, Francis A., "Bad Medicine at Black Mesa," America, Feb. 12, 1972, p. 145.
Josephy, Alvin M., Jr., "Hopi versus Christianity," American Heritage, Feb., 1973, pp. 49-55.
Barnes, Peter, "Bad Day at Black Mesa," New Republic, July 17, 1973, pp. 23-4.
60. Deloria, Vine, Jr., "The Theological Dimension of the Indian Protest Movement," The Christian Century, Sept. 19, 1973, p. 914.

Return to The Hard Part page

Read the other paper by Rich Lundstrom

Return to Liberation Site's Main Page

Creative Commons License
The content of this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.