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Lecture 2

RE 100 Lecture 2: Religion and Colonialism

7 Pages

Religion & Culture
Course Code
Erich Fox Tree

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1. RE100 Unit 2: Religion and Colonialism Native American Science, Technology, and Religion Maize/Corn Began at least 9,000 years, not long after archaeologists believe ancient peoples began domesticating grains in Mesopotamia Archaeological evidence of grinding stones with domesticated maize have been found in caves/rack-shelters in Rio Balsas valley of Guerrero, Mexico, which have been dated to 8,700 KYA Believed to come from a wild plant called teosinte (=”god grain”) Teosinte has branching stalks capped by flowers and spikes. Seeds are small and attached bilaterally to spikes 6 principal genetic changes: a.1. One central stalk a.2. Multiple fruits/seeds now found on stable cobs a.3. The cob has more grains a.4. Seeds are softer than before a.5. Seeds stick to the corn cob a.6. Cobs are covered by husks, while individual seed chaff has reduced All the while, young maize retains its soft, sweet stalk that may have been why people originally consumed it Every part of the corn plant is useful: Food: seeds; sugar from stalk; tea from tassels Food preparation: leaves and husks used for tamales Agriculture: maize plant is a trellis for beans, which in turn wrap around maize stalks and help them resist wind. In return, beans fixe nitrogen for maize. Construction: stalks used for fences, shacks, and wattle-and-daub buildings Economics: maize is a basic trade item Religion: maize is central to religion and identity in many parts of the Americas where corn was a staple Maize in science and technology: Domestication Use of every part Importance to culture Intercropping Adaptation to ecological zones Nixtamalization (soaked grains) – processed in an alkali (soaked in lime water, i.e. tortilla chips) Preservation What is Colonialism? According to Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek, Associate VP, Academic and Indigenous Studies at Laurentian University, colonialism is a process that: Concerns land and resources Requires a specific ideology by the colonizer, who must imagine the colonized to be less rational, less worthy, or even less human than the colonizer. Always involves violence, including physical, structural, and symbolic violence Is ongoing; colonialism is not just something of the past What does colonialism affect? Everything The environment and resources Peace between peoples The survival and form of indigenous/colonized peoples, their communities, and their cultures The collective knowledge of the world Affects both the colonized and the colonizer Colonialism requires colonizers to construct ideologies to justify it. Those ideologies have religious dimensions for colonizers. Colonialism entails the rejection of continuing mutual obligations between groups Wiziyatawin and Michael Yellow Bird (2005: 2) The traditional economics of slavery The celebrated Gone with the Wind vision of slavery, with slaves treated as part of the slave-owner’s household, having children, and growing old is a nineteenth-centuth sugar-coating of the history of slavery. Through the 18 century it was not uncommon for whites in the Americas to work slaves to death. Indeed, ignoring the 10-12 million Africans captured for the trans-Atlantic slave trade who died before setting foot in the Americas. Median life expectancy for African slaves in North America was higher than slaves in Europe. The Age of Discovery 1400-1650: Europeans gain access to riches via trade routes outside of Europe Portuguese in the 14 century, Spaniards set about colonizing Canary islands upon stumbling unto them anew in 1402, which starts the age of discovery Iberian conquerors stumble onto the Canary Islands and rapidly enslave the island’s native indigenous peoples, called “White Indians” The indigenous population of the Canaries dropped precipitously after 1402, and the native language soon went extinct. Why did the population decline: war, slavery, disease, etc. Doctrine/Law of Discovery 1452-1455 50 years later, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal Bull, that gives free and full permission to invade, search out, capture and subjugate the Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, countries, principalities, and other property, and to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery ( avery/) 3 years later, 1455, Pope Nicholas V expanded it with another religious decree, which not only confirmed the Portuguese monarchy’s right to colonize and perpetually control non-Christians’ lands, property, and persons, but also prohibited other Christian nations from interfering with Portuguese colonies. Romanus Pontifex Rex implied that other Christian nations had a similar “duty” to lay claim to non-Christian lands, property, and people, in the interest of spreading “Christian Majesty” into non-Christian people. 1493 Alexander VI issued the bull that said that Christian nations had no claims to lands, property, or people already claimed by other Christian nations. Effectively gave the first Christian nation to “discovery” lands uninhabited by Christians an absolute and exclusive right to claim (non-private) property. Justified themselves by proclaiming that non-Christians are irrational and uncivilized, and as such, cannot establish laws, property rights, and ownership In short, Christian laws made non-Christians into non-persons. Supported by earlier papal bulls and donations made not only since the start of the Age of
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