Monday, May 6, 2013

5 de Mayo: Communiqué to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted 
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix
400 East Monroe

Phoenix, AZ  85004 

5 de Mayo, 2013 

Good Greetings,

On March 23, 2012 our organization organized an Indigenous Peoples Forum on the Doctrine of Discovery at the Arizona State Capitol House of Representatives.  The purpose of this forum was to bring forward the perspectives and historical processes which frame the inter-relationships between the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of the territory and the hemisphere, in terms of our coexistence with the States that are direct beneficiaries of the Doctrine of Discovery in the Americas. 

Our intention of moving deliberately out of the age of colonialism and towards decolonization, called upon us to define and determine for ourselves as "Peoples, equal to all other Peoples" the criteria of fundamental processes required to guide this vision of our political, economic, cultural, and spiritual liberation from the schema of domination which has been normalized by Christendom and justified by the Doctrine of Discovery for over five hundred and twenty years in this continent of Abya Yala [the Americas].
The report of the Forum in Arizona was presented in May of 2012 to the 11th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.  Two recommendations from this session of the UNPFII are especially pertinent to this communiqué:

4.            The Permanent Forum recalls the fourth preambular paragraph of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which affirms that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust. Legal and political justification for the dispossession of indigenous peoples from their lands, their disenfranchisement and the abrogation of their rights such as the doctrine of discovery, the doctrine of domination, “conquest”, “discovery”, terra nullius or the Regalian doctrine were adopted by colonizers throughout the world. While these nefarious doctrines were promoted as the authority for the acquisition of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples, there were broader assumptions implicit in the doctrines, which became the basis for the assertion of authority and control over the lives of indigenous peoples and their lands, territories and resources. Indigenous peoples were constructed as “savages”, “barbarians”, “backward” and “inferior and uncivilized” by the colonizers who used such constructs to subjugate, dominate and exploit indigenous peoples and their lands, territories and resources. The Permanent Forum calls upon States to repudiate such doctrines as the basis for denying indigenous peoples’ human rights.

9.            The Permanent Forum recommends that States include in all education curricula, in particular the school system, a discussion of the doctrine of discovery/dispossession and its contemporary manifestations, including land laws and policies of removal.

In consequence and in implementation of the above recommendation from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, we convened at Arizona State University West on April 19-20, 2013, an International Conference organized under the theme of DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery. Co-conveners of this International conference were TONATIERRA, Maya Vision, Centro Cultural Techantit, Instituto de Ciencia y Cultura Indigena (ICCI) of Ecuador, and Universidad Amawtay Wasi also of Ecuador.   The event was hosted by the Social Justice and Human Rights Program at ASU West.

In the course of reviewing the local history of the issues of conflict and criminal violations of our Human Rights as Indigenous Peoples, which lie at the core of continuing pogroms of persecution disguised as “legal” policies under the mantle of the Doctrine of Discovery, we now present to you the following archive of documents:

  • 2010 UN Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery.
  • 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Papal Bull Inter Caetera of 1493
  • El Requierimiento of 1513
  • ANASAZI: Spring 1984 Letter to Pope John Paul II
  • May 30, 1984 Response: Vatican Secretary of State
  • February 7, 2012 Memorandum to the US Justice Department
  • March 14, 2013 Article: “Usurped” - Cardinal Bergoglio and the 30th Anniversary of the War over the Malvinas/Falklands Island between Great Britain and Argentina.

Our purpose in presenting this archive of information to you at this time is to establish a proactive and inclusive approach to addressing the issues of Human Rights violations, in particular the Right of Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples, in order to move forward into the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery as it continues to serve as a cloaking device of pathology and colonization which deforms and distorts the spirit and well-being of our common humanity.   Please consider this communiqué as a request to meet and discuss the implications and clarifications required as we prepare to participate in May of 2013 once again at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, and expect to provide a report of the developments here in Arizona relevant the ongoing process of implementing the cited resolutions of the UNPFII, in the Spirit of Truth.

Tupac Enrique Acosta, Yaotachcauh 
Tlahtokan Nahuacalli 

Tezcatlipoca            Quetzalcoatl             Huitzilopochtli




Embassy of Indigenous Peoples

802 N. 7th Street Phoenix AZ 85006


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