Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Canonizing A Predatory Missionary: Validating the Genocidal Mission System of Junipero Serra

This September 23rd, 2015, roamin catholic pope Francis is scheduled to canonize Junipero Serra, a predatory missionary that is gaining increased ire from indigenous peoples across Turtle Island, especially those like the Kizh whose Ancestors were directly and mortally impacted by the violence and brutality of the likes of Serra, other christian missionaries and the Spanish conquistadors.

 The catholic cable tv channel, Eternal Word Television Network/EWTN and the Knights of Columbus have been running promotional programming to support the roamin catholic church's plan to canonize Serra and to promote his great legacy of evangelization, as they like to call it (the Knights of Criminal Columbus said the same about Criminal Columbus on their website in the past, but that statement has seemingly been removed from their website).  EWTN is currently running a documentary over five days in half hour segments called “Serra: Ever Forward, Never Back”,  an arrogant fantasy of small screen cinematic proportions.  The Knights have posted a short, but equally misleading and culturally insulting promotional video entitled, “Blessed Junipero Serra: Apostle of California, Exemplar of Evangelization”.

Click link to see KoC video:

Organizer and activist, Toypurina Carac, has been answering the roamin catholic church’s validation of indigenous genocide by creating and sharing a powerful statement in the form of a petition that is very near its goal of 10,000 signatures to convince the vatican and pope to reconsider their (in)sightless and discompassionate plan.  Ironic that the vatican is calling the papal visit a “Mission of Love”.  If you were to speak to those who are the offspring of those who were brutalized by Serra’s predatory mission system, they have a much different story to tell.

From the petition:   
 (please share widely; organizers are planning protests in DC and NYC)

“Urge Pope Francis to abandon the canonization of Junipero Serra

To be delivered to His Holiness, Pope Francis 

Pope Francis is coming to Washington, D.C. to canonize Junipero Serra as a Saint. It is imperative he is enlightened to understand that Father Serra was responsible for the deception, exploitation, oppression, enslavement and genocide of thousands of Indigenous Californians, ultimately resulting in the largest ethnic cleansing in North America.” 

Tweet the Knights at @KoC, EWTN at @EWTN and the pope at @Pontifex to let them know your perspectives on this important issue.

The petition was sent to pope Francis today Sept.17 at about 12noon. Toypurina Carac and others have organized and will speak at two press conferences in NY and Washington DC on the 21st and 22nd of Sept. respectively. Please let your networks know so that we can be of substantial support during the press conferences to help send a powerful message of support to our indigenous sisters and brothers and their blessed Ancestors who suffered tremendously at the hands and whims of Junipero Serra and his brutal system of land theft, exploitation and slavery.

New York, Monday, September 21, 2015,
10:00 am- 12:00 noon
Saint Peter’s Church…619 Lexington Avenue, NY 10022-4610.
Balcony Room

Washington D.C., Tuesday, September 22, 2015
11:00 am- 1:00 pm
Plymouth United Church of Christ, Washington D.C.; 5301 North Capitol St NE, Washington, DC 20011



Mzee Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed. said...

I watched and recorded today's installment of the EWTN Serra production and was again disappointed at the arrogance, cultural insult and prettified narrative of colonialism and exploitation. There was constant devaluing of indigenous culture along with the embarrassing heroic construction of Serra.

In addition, the production portrayed the indigenous people as simpletons of very few words akin to the "natives" in Gilligan's Island. It is hard to take seriously a story that features indigenous characters that don't have the intelligence or agency to utilize their language while trying to make sense of the presence of foreigners like Serra, the Spanish soldiers and/or Serra's predatory compatriots.

This is not only a cruel distortion of history, but an insipid and juvenile attempt at representing indigenous peoples with full and complex cultural histories created by full and complex human beings.

Diane Horton said...

I heard on the radio last evening that Pope Francis has already issued an apology to a group of indigenous cultures in South America for their cruel treatment at the hands of Catholic missionaries. So I am interested to know why he would not be doing the same thing here in North America instead of canonizing the compassionless, cruel, and ambition driven Junipero Serra.

beck58 said...

If we spend our time apologizing for the atrosities forced upon every individual the Pope would not have time to eat or sleep. Christian Missionary crossed countless miles, killing countless people in order to bring God to the people. In addition to the intended message, mostly all Pagans were burned at the stake, until the Churches foundations brought up the combining the two stories.

Mzee Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed. said...

Diane, this is one of the numerous glaring contradictions in the rhetoric of the pope, vatican and the roamin catholic church in general. It seems there is a major disconnect in the pope's mind and heart between what was stated in South America and what is being calculated in North America around the predatory missionary Junipero Serra. I hope that people, that catholics can see this glaring contradiction and address this as we move closer to a more aware and compassionately responsive world that can openly address the destruction of racist, sexist and anti-indigenous narratives and social systems and structures.

Mzee Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed. said...

beck58, yes the apologies might go on for quite some time and I think they would be important if they came along with real systemic change in how power relationships and social, political and spiritual narratives are expressed. It is important that the actions of these predatory missionaries, drunk with cultural arrogance and exploitative intent, are reconciled and healed with serious considerations and actions toward decolonization, the honoring of treaties and the cessation of predatory mission work, evangelization and all forms of religious imperialism and privilege. Thank you for reading and sharing here.

Toypurina Carac said...

I am so sorry that Ms. Beck 58 is a religious woman but feels the slavery, rape, torture, coerced conversions and ultimate genocide of my ancestors is something the Pope should not worry about. Serra was an Inquisitor and War Criminal, under the Doctrine of Discovery, his conquest was not divine; Europeans and Christians were not the "Chosen People" to vanquish, plunder and pillage as they did. This "evangelism" as the Pope calls it, was murder. Furthermore, we consider the terms Pagans, Savage, Heathen and Redskin to be insults. Our Spirits still live within us; this will be dealt with , in the Spirit World. This canonization is a scandal.