This clip is from Honor Earth, Bishop Charleston's presentation for The Guibord Center. It will be the springboard for our webinar, "When Worldviews Collide," on Tuesday, March 31.
To illustrate a Native American understanding of kinship, Bishop Charleston tells a story about the Hopi people’s belief of their primary purpose for being on earth. In the 1600s, when Spanish Catholic missionaries prevented the Hopi from carrying out their sacred rituals, the conflict led to devastating consequences.
He relates that when Spanish conquistadores first encountered the Hopi in the 1500s, they took no interest because the Hopi didn't have the gold and other resources the Spaniards sought. The Hopi were then left alone until around 1620, when Catholic missionaries began visiting to convert them to Christianity.
When their initial efforts failed, the missionaries began using harsher tactics. For the next 60 years, they severely mistreated the Hopi—ultimately preventing them from practicing rituals that the Hopi believe are essential for the continuation of life on Earth for all beings. This final indignation led the Hopi to join other Pueblo tribes and revolt in 1680. They killed all the missionaries in their territory, tore down the church, and scattered the stones in the desert.
Bishop Charleston describes this act of revolt and destruction as previously unthinkable. The Hopi are renowned among Native American peoples as peaceful, with no warrior class or history of raiding as other tribes had.
In our webinar, we’ll explore the vastly different perspectives of the Hopi and the Spanish missionaries that led to this horrific incident. We’ll also consider notions of kinship in our own faith traditions and identify parallels in our current-day experiences.