15th century papal edicts authorized the African slave trade, Indigenous land seizures

The worldview they helped create still is alive today

This blog has written often about the Doctrine of Discovery: 15th century Catholic Church edicts that provided the moral and legal justification for European monarchs and their “explorers” to seize Indigenous lands and enslave, convert, or kill Indigenous peoples in lands which would become known as the “New World.”

The Doctrine of Discovery also includes papal edicts issued decades before Columbus sailed, edicts that justified Portugal’s west African slave trade. Continue reading

White Fragility at the State Legislature: Full Blown Freak Out Over a Sign

The Minnesota Historical Society changed its “Fort Snelling” sign to read “Fort Snelling at Bdote” and some white legislators became unhinged.

“Bdote” is a Dakota word for confluence, or where the waters meet. There’s nothing controversial in the meaning; what’s controversial, apparently, is the use of a Dakota word on the sign.

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, who chairs the Senate Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee, slipped a $4 million (18 percent) cut to the Historical Society’s state funding as punishment for the sign, according to a WCCO news account.

Continue reading

PUC Final Order Approving Line 3 is Racist

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) Sept. 5 final order approving the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline is disturbing. It ignores significant arguments brought forward by Native nations, environmental groups and youth, cherry picking facts to justify its decision.

The order has many flaws in how it addresses climate change, environmental risks to our state’s clean waters, and other issues that will be explored in a later blog. This blog focuses on the order’s racist conclusion that the PUC doesn’t need to consider the pipeline’s treaty rights impacts. Continue reading