Some 30 Indigenous communities of Michoacan, Mexico, have released a statement demanding Pope Francis apologize for the genocide committed with the complicity of the Catholic Church against their people during the Spanish invasion of the Americas in the 16th century.
"For over 500 years, the original people of the Americas have been ransacked, robbed, murdered, exploited, discriminated and persecuted,” the Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan said in a statement.
In 2015, Pope Francis "issued a sweeping apology for crimes of the Church against the indigenous during the conquest of the Americas."— ¡Gabe! Ortíz (@TUSK81) February 6, 2016
#Vatican spokesman says Pope Francis means to give blessing to use of indigenous languages at Catholic masses in Mexico— Joshua McElwee (@joshjmac) February 5, 2016
“Within this framework, the Catholic Church has historically been complicit and allies of those who invaded our land,” they added.
Various Purepechas communities from Michoacan demanded that the pope make a public statement apologizing for the church's role in the genocide and ongoing disappearance of the Indigenous people of Mexico.
The council also denounced that with weapons and the help of Catholic missionaries, a culture, language, religion and other European values were imposed on the people of Mexico.
"The Bible was the ideological weapon of the Conquerors,” they added ahead of the pope's visit to Mexico, which begins Feb. 12.
The Spanish intervention and invasion of the Americas represents one of the biggest acts of genocide in history, they said.
“The arrival of the Europeans meant the interruption and destruction of various original civilizations, which had their unique ideas and concepts of the world, our own government, writings, languages, education, religion and philosophy,” the statement added.
The “European invaders” caused the death of 95 percent of the the total Indigenous population within 130 years after the unfortunate arrival of Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes, the council noted.
They highlighted that before the Spaniards arrived to the Mexican region, there were about 25.2 million Indigenous people, and that after 1623, less than 700,000 were left.
The pope is scheduled to visit Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, Feb. 16.
Last year, First Nations people also demanded the pope apologize for the genocide committed by colonization.
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