Letter to the Pope from the Indigenous Delegates
present at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva, August 1, 1991
Chief of State of the Vatican, Pope John Paul 11
The indigenous delegates present at the Palace of Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, in debate regarding the
Universal Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, convened by the "Working Group of Indigenous People"
of the United Nations, hereby present and declare:
In view of the declaration on May 3 and 4, 1493, of the Papal Bull INTER CETERA, by which territories of indigenous
people are conceded to Spain and Portugal, without taking into account the material or spiritual rights of the
indigenous people in case of ABYA-YALA (America) and other parts of the world;
In defense of the sacred rights of the indigenous people, and in promotion of human dignity and harmony that
should reign among humanity on this planet;
For all these purposes:
1) We demand from the Vatican state a denunciation of the unilateral treaty Pope Alejandro VI, as being contrary to
the Universal Human Rights of Peoples.
2) Whereas the year 1993 completes 500 years of a supposed spiritual conquest without clear rectification of this
universal injustice, allowing the nation-states that have benefited from the inheritance of Pope Alejandro A to
continue programmes of genocide and ethnocide, denying the indigenous people the recuperation of a harmony
based on reciprocal human respect, we demand that the Papal Bull of May 3 and 4, 1493 INTER CETERA be
3) We direct John Paul 11 to accede to universal concepts of justice including the spiritual and material rights of
indigenous peoples, in furtherance of life, harmony of human beings with our Sacred Mother, and the spiritual
peace of the Great Creator in accordance with the cosmovision of each one of our indigenous peoples, free from
Thus we proclaim in the name of Human Dignity, in harmony with our Mother Nature and in the Spirit of Truth.
Signed: The indigenous delegates, and organizations.
Source: 500 Years of Resistance;
1992 International Directory and Resource Guide. Oakland: South and
Meso-American Indian Information Center (SAIIC),