The Vatican has formally repudiated the “Doctrine of Discovery,” which justified colonization and the taking of Indigenous lands.
Two Vatican departments issued a joint statement Thursday saying it’s not part of teachings of the Catholic Church.
Indigenous people have long called for the church to rescind the legal concept.
Tribal advocates are objecting to the online auction of Native artifacts.
Robyn Vincent has more.
A lot of the pieces in a Bonhams auction come from the late University of Colorado Denver professor Dean Taylor.
Items are going for hundreds of dollars and include things like a beaded hide doll from the Plains Indians and hide drums.
Tribal advocates say the dispossession of Native cultural and sacred items is common today.
Shannon O’Loughlin directs the Association on American Indian Affairs.
She says there’s a direct relationship between alarming health statistics in Indian Country and this kind of dispossession.
“If we look at all of the statistics, they’re horrible in Indian Country in all of those things are the result of this intergenerational historic trauma being dispossessed of your home, the things that give you health and security.”
O’Loughlin says the auction is one of many that should give collectors pause.
She urges people to consider the human costs of commercializing these sacred items.
The Bristol Bay Sustainability Summit took place in Dillingham, Alaska this week.
It’s a time for people to gather and talk about what sustainability means for the region.
As KDLG’s Izzy Ross reports, the keynote speech focused on the strong foundations already in place in the region’s Native communities and culture bearers.
Igiugig Village Council President AlexAnna Salmon doesn’t think the way forward is a mystery.
“What we’re trying to achieve isn’t impossible. It already was. We come from perfection.”
During her keynote speech at the Bristol Bay Sustainability Summit, Salmon said she used to think she had to leave the village in order to succeed. But that has changed.
“I want to be one of those elders that is wise. I want to share how to sew where the best berry patches are. How to make all the traditional foods. That’s what I want to be, is that elder.”
Salmon keeps returning to traditional knowledge as the most powerful way to protect and sustain Bristol Bay’s lands and peoples. Salmon said tribes need to assert their authority as nations in land stewardship.
“Let’s sustain for 8,000 more, leaving the littlest footprint. In Alaska we have the opportunity to do it right, to get it right.”
That means people can focus on sustaining instead of restoring. And part of that is acknowledging the efforts of others.
Salmon said her elders had to give up living freely on the land to ensure the community’s children had a school, and they focused on western-style settlements in order to keep them home.
“I had no idea that my entire community reorganized and settled so that I could have that education at home, so that I could love and live Igiugig. That is a sacrifice.”
Salmon said moving forward, they need to continue to focus on education – like speaking Yup’ik in the classroom and creating local opportunities for students.
As for the sustainability people are seeking, Salmon said it’s already embedded within Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples.
“This is our state. We’re the only people with an inherent right to our lands and waters. We have a proven track record. We have never diminished our resources. We have stood the test of time.”
Get National Native News delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up for our newsletter today