News Wrap: Denali; Treaty Rights; Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit

Mount McKinley Now Officially Renamed Denali

President Obama is visiting Alaska to highlight the alarming signs of climate change that exist in that state, but he started his visit by renaming Mount McKinley “Denali,” CNN reports, “an historic nod to the region’s native population, which the White House says is under threat from the already-present threat of climate change.”

Treaty Rights Protest Presses Forward in Northern Minnesota

Two Ojibwe men got ticketed last week in northern Minnesota for using gillnets to fish, a violation of state law, Minnesota Public Radio reports. It was exactly what the men wanted. This opens the door for a court challenge to argue for broader fishing and gatherting rights the men argue exist under an 1855 treaty.

Earlier, members of the Ojibwe group tried to get the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to cite them for harvesting wild rice on Hole in the Day Lake without a state permit. Trying to avoid the conflict, the DNR issued a special one-day permit for the ricing. The group, however, persisted with more activities to get the citation they wanted.

Ideas for Pope Francis During his U.S. Visit

Activist lawyer Libby Comeaux wrote a thoughtful blog titled: “Five Ways Pope Francis Can Overcome the Irony that Threatens Laudato Si’” Her ideas including delaying or canceling the canonization of Father Junipero Serra, and “renouncing and withdrawing the three 15th century papal bulls implicated in the Doctrine of Discovery.”

Comeaux’s blog argues that the environmental themes the Pope writes about in Laudato Si are in stark contrast to the world view embraced in the papal bulls that created the Doctrine of Discovery:

Indigenous peoples have suffered over 500 years from intentional decimation of persons, communities and lands, accompanied by forced assimilation into a culture that insults and ridicules their most cherished ethical principles. In the process, by operation of these bulls over time, they are not the only ones who suffer. The entire planetary web of life is being devastated by massive extraction and dumping for profit. Laudato Si’ wants to bring forth a new paradigm that will heal this twin tragedy, but the irony is that the old paradigm finds its roots in these very papal bulls. Traditional indigenous scholars and elders have been asking for papal revocation for over 30 years, to no avail. Francis would be wise to get on with it, without delay.

Click on the link above to read more.