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By Timothy L. Hall

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This was called “the sending upward of the eagle man”; because he who died in war went into the presence of [the sun]; he went before and rested in the presence of the sun. That is, he did not go to the land of the dead. Thus the captive’s valor would not in vain perish; thus he took from the captive his renown. From the Florentine Codex, Book II: The Ceremonies, ca. 1550, a collection of narratives about Mayan culture compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, in Thomas, The Native Americans: An Illustrated History, p.

If we have bishops and other dignities, they will only follow the customs which, for our sins, they pursue these days, of squandering the goods of the Church on pomp and ceremony, and other vices, and leaving entailed estates to their sons or kinsmen. And the evil here would be still greater, for the natives of these parts had in their time religious persons administering their rites and ceremonies who were so severe in the observance of both chastity and honesty that if any one of them was held by anyone to have transgressed he was put to death.

You may summon the chiefs and Indians . . by the best device or devices there can be given them, to understand what should be said to them, conformably to a summons that has been drawn up by several learned men . . by all the ways and means you may be able to devise, that they should come into the knowledge of Our Catholic Faith and should obey and serve as they are bound to do; and you will take down in signed form before two or three notaries, if such there be, and before as many witnesses and these the most creditable, as may be found there, in order that it may serve for Our justiication, and you will send the said document; and the summons must be made once, twice, thrice.

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