Native American Times posted the following letter.
Native American Times, operating in both print and electronic media, is the largest
independently owned Native American newspaper in the United States. Native American Times'
reporters and columnists provide a daily digest of news that is often utilized for national
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On January 28, 2008 a Minnesota County newspaper The Independent Age published the
following letter to the editor.
Note: When I wrote this letter I mentioned that I was a
Catholic Native rights activist, I am now a New Age religion Native rights activist.
Offended by Columbus, Rum River
After Minnesota Representative Mike Jaros received my draft bill to change the name of the Rum
River and 13 other Minnesota geographic site names that are offensive to Native people, he
slightly edited it and then with the consent of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council he
introduced it to the Minnesota legislature.
As a Catholic Native rights activist I am also trying to influence the Roman Catholic hierarchy
to revoke the Papal Bull Inter Caetera. After Tony Castanha, the internationally
renowned leader of the movement to influence the Roman Catholic hierarchy to revoke the 15th
century Papal Bull [Inter Caetera] and also the leader of the movement to put an end to the
glorification of Christopher Columbus, read my article Changing The Racist Name Of The
Knights of Columbus, he contacted me and said: "time to go after these 'Knights' guys.'"
Father Bartolome de Las Casas, the first European historian in the Americas, wrote, when
referring to Columbus and his Knights' "for they are still acting like ravening beasts,
killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples, and to
such a degree that this Island of Hispaniola once so populous (having a population that
I estimated to be more than three million), has now a population of barely 200 persons."
The movement to revoke Inter Caetera was initiated by the Indigenous Law Institute in 1992. At
the Parliament of World Religions in 1994 over 60 indigenous delegates drafted a Declaration
of Vision. It reads, in part: "We call upon the people of conscience in the Roman Catholic
hierarchy to persuade Pope John II to formally revoke the Inter Caetera Bull of May 4, 1493,
which will restore our fundamental human rights. That Papal document called for our Nations
and Peoples to be subjugated so the Christian Empire and its doctrines would be propagated.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Johnson v. McIntosh 8 Wheat 543 (in 1823) adopted the same
principle of subjugation expressed in the Inter Caetera Bull. This Papal Bull has been, and
continues to be, devastating to our religions, our cultures, and the survival of our
Archbishop Harry Flynn recently sent me a letter wherein he wrote: "I greatly appreciate
your sending me the article that you wrote recently on returning the fundamental human
rights of indigenous peoples."
Thomas Dahlheimer, Wahkon
Rum River Name Change Movement
Tom Dahlheimer's website