doctrine of discovery

Something for Native American History Month…

Now here’s a little thing you didn’t know about our system…

The 1493 Doctrine of Discovery guided the colonization of the Americas and became part of U.S. American law, history, and dominant culture.

The Doctrine of Discovery is built into U.S. government, laws, dominant culture, and the way we think about problems that face our nation and world. It is a frame that hides in plain sight, and its devastating effects continue to this day.

The 2012 UUA General Assembly passed a resolution repudiating the doctrine and calling for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Basically, it’s so deeply rooted in centuries old attitudes that we don’t see it anymore… and it needs to be uprooted like a weed.

The Doctrine of Discovery is a principle of international law dating from the late 15th century. It has its roots in a papal decree issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1452 that specifically sanctioned and promoted the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian territories and peoples. Hundreds of years of decisions and laws continuing right up to our own time can ultimately be traced back to the Doctrine of Discovery—laws that invalidate or ignore the rights, sovereignty, and humanity of indigenous peoples in the United States and around the world.

Check the sidebar for the speech by Oren Lyons, spiritual leader of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation of the Haudeenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. I saw him speak years ago near here, and he is amazing.

As we enjoy Disney’s latest hero, a young girl whose descendants’ cultures we nearly obliterated, think of how you can be part of positive change.


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