Native Groups Call on Vatican to Retract 500-Year-Old Charter
WASHINGTON—On May 4, 1493, then-pope Alexander VI issued what was known as a papal bull – the Inter caetera – which set off the European conquest of the New World at the expense of indigenous tribal people. On May 4 of this year, Steven Newcomb, co-founder of the California-based Indigenous Law Institute, met with Pope Francis and called on him to formally revoke the bull.
“We are also calling on them to formally acknowledge that it was issued and that the system of thought and behavior that was unleashed on the planet,” he said. Newcomb's Shawnee and Lenape ancestors were among the hundreds of tribal groups that lost land and other rights to European settlers.