Deloria on the Christians who conquered native peoples

“Average Christians when hearing of the disasters wreaked on aboriginal peoples by their religion and its adherents are quick to state, ‘But the people who did this were not really Christians.’ In point of fact they were really Christians. In their day they enjoyed all the benefits and prestige Christendom could confer. They were cheered as heroes of the faith, enduring hardships that a Christian society might be built on the ruins of pagan villages. They were featured in Sunday school lessons as saints of the Christian church. Cities, rivers, mountains, and seas were named after them.

And if the exploiters of old were not Christians, why did not the true Christians rise up in defiance of the derogation of their religious heritage and faith? If the Prime Minister of Canada is today not Christian in his attitudes toward the Indians of Canada, where are the Christians in Canada who prophetically denounced his actions? If the leaders of the Brazilian government do not exercise Christian values, where are the Christians to disclaim their actions? If exploitation of the Amazon for commercial purposes by American investors results in the un-Christian activity of poisoning thousands of Indians, why are not the true Christians demanding the resignations of the heads of American corporations supporting Amazon development?”

— Vine Deloria, Jr., God is Red: A Native View of Religion, 261-262.



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