posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 10:27 AM
The Doctrine of Discovery was a principle of international law developed in a series of 15th century papal bulls and 16th century charters by European
monarchs. It was a racist philosophy that gave white Christian Europeans the green light to go forth and claim the lands and resources of
non-Christian peoples and kill or enslave them – if other Christian Europeans had not already done so.
The doctrine institutionalized the competition between European countries in their ever-expanding quest for colonies, resources and markets, and
sanctioned the genocide of indigenous people in the “New World” and elsewhere.
While indigenous delegates from around the world were sidelined at the 15th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, the
collective voice of indigenous peoples at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions was heard calling on the Pope to repudiate the Christian
Doctrine of Discovery.
While the delegates came from diverse geographies and cultures, they easily unified around the intersecting themes of the Christian Doctrine of
Discovery, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and climate change. The delegates articulated their concerns in a
document called “An Indigenous Peoples’ Statement to the World Delivered at The Parliament of the World’s Religions Convened at Melbourne,
Australia on the Traditional Lands of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation December 9, 2009.”
The seven point statement calls for immediate action on climate change; the protection of earth-based religions and sacred sites both within and
outside their territories; strengthening and protecting indigenous cultures and languages, repatriation of the ancestors’ remains and sacred items,
and the support and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The final item is “To call upon Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican to publicly acknowledge and repudiate the papal decrees that legitimized the
original activities that have evolved into the dehumanizing Doctrine of Christian Discovery and dominion in laws and policies.”
Full story here
As a spiritual corollary of the renunciation, the Indian Committee also expressed its support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, which was adopted by the General Assembly Sept. 13, 2007. The Declaration presents indigenous rights within a framework of human rights.
Only the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia – countries with large populations of indigenous peoples with huge aboriginal land claims – voted
against the Declaration’s adoption. Australia has since adopted it.
The action by PYM’s Indian Committee was initiated by Elizabeth Koopman, who said she was inspired by the Episcopal Church’s resolution, called
“Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.” The resolution passed unanimously by the Episcopal House of Bishops and by an overwhelming majority of the
House of Delegates during the church’s 76th General Convention held July 8 – 17 in Anaheim