Controversial Canonization; Augsburg’s Native American Film Series

As expected, Pope Francis’s trip to the United States has included the controversial canonization of Junipero Serra, the priest responsible for creating a chain of missions on the California Coast. Serra is the first saint canonized on U.S. soil. A Yahoo News article headlined: Pope makes California missionary a saint, says:

Francis praised the 18th-century missionary as “the embodiment of ‘a Church which goes forth,’ a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God,” according to a translation of his homily released by the Vatican. … But the missionary is seen by some Native Americans as having contributed to the death of tens of thousands of their forebears, through illness, brutality or malnutrition.

Democracy Now ran a video piece titled Native Groups Protest Pope Francis’ Canonization of Junipero Serra over role in California Genocide. “According to historian Alvin Josephy, what happened in California ‘was as close to genocide as any tribal people had faced, or would face, on the North American continent,'” the Democracy Now website said.

A CNN account said that:

The Pope praised Serra’s treatment of Native Americans, saying that he “sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it.”

Augsburg Native American Film Series to Honor Native Women Filmmakers

Augsburg hosts and annual Native American Film Series and this year’s series will honor Native women filmmakers and animators.

The first event, Wednesday, Oct. 21, is called “First Light: Sisters of Sunrise” and will feature a selection of short films “that explore the power women filmmakers have as keepers of our genesis and creators of legacy and legend.” Filmmaker Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo) will host the event.

All events are free and open to the public

Details of the various films are available on the event’s website, above. The screenings will be held at Sateren Auditorium, Music Hall, 715 22nd Ave South, on the Augsburg campus. There is a reception starting at 6:15 p.m. and the screening begins at 7 p.m. A discussion with filmmakers follows the screenings.

Other films in the series will be held on Feb. 17 and April 6. Watch the website for details.

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