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Rome Reports

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Indigenous people from US arrive to Rome to ask Pope to revoke ancient Bull

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe plans to give a letter to Pope Francis, swaying him to revoke the Papal Bull concerning the United States' Doctrine of Discovery.

President, Rosebud Sioux Tribe
“So, when we look at the Doctrine of Discovery, we're looking at a document that set the basis for basically almost extermination of us as a people.”

The document was signed by Alexander VI in 1493, giving early Christians to claim land previously occupied by indigenous people. Now, the tribe is asking Pope Francis to revoke the decree and start a new phase for indigenous rights.

They have traveled from the United States and Canada to Rome, aware of the Amazon Synod. These indigenous people are uniting with the Catholic Church to change laws in the United States and show their support for indigenous people from the Amazon.

They met in Rome to express concern for the care of the “common home,” discussing indigenous challenges such as “for-profit” companies that exploit natural resources, as well as the struggle of gaining an understanding of people that do not face these situations in everyday life. 

President, Rosebud Sioux Tribe
“The lack of consultation with indigenous people on our own land, so people just come in and take advantage of us, you get tired of it after a while. So in terms of working with other peoples, it's good that we have this commonality because they're doing the same and it's just a matter of us getting together because the divide and conquer of the colonial powers, they divided us conquer us, and so we're here scattered like leaves.”

These indigenous are far from South America, but their stories are similar to those of the Amazon people. Their past in the United States hasn't been easy, but they remain hopeful in forming a relationship with the Church and Amazon.

President, Rosebud Sioux Tribe
“We're sending with you, we want to work with you, and how can we help you on an international picture.”

While it's unclear if the pope will receive the letter while the group is in Rome, it is clear that synod is drawing attention to indigenous people not only in South America, but around the world. 

Rachel Dobrzynski