July 27th, 2009
The subject of my book, Native America, Discovered & Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, & Manifest Destiny, is a hot topic in the Episcopal Church.
Indian Country Today reports that at its 76th General Convention on July 8-17, 2009 the U.S. Episcopal Church “passed a landmark resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and urging the U.S. government to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Organizers of the bill hope it will lead to the overturning of a 19th century U.S. Supreme Court ruling and Congress’ assumption of plenary power over Indian nations they say are illegitimate and immoral, and continue to strip American Indian nations of their inherent sovereignty.
The resolution, called “Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery,” was 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 July 8 – 17 in Anaheim. . . .
“Through the official action of an important religious institution in the United States, the document raises the visibility of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, while providing a means of educating people about that doctrine and its continuing effects on indigenous nations and peoples. The resolution is also important because of its focus on and endorsement of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
The resolution is also timely: The U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has called for a study of the Doctrine of Discovery and its historic and continuing effects on indigenous people to be completed by the forum’s convening in 2010. . . .
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 essentially 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 resolution renounces the doctrine “as fundamentally opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our understanding of the inherent rights that individuals and peoples have received from God,” and promises to share the document with its churches, governments within its boundaries, and the U.N.
It resolves to eliminate the doctrine within the church’s contemporary politics, programs and structures, and urges the U.S. government to do the same. It asks Queen Elizabeth to publicly repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, and encourages all Episcopal churches to support indigenous peoples in their ongoing efforts for their inherent sovereignty and fundamental human rights as peoples to be respected.“
Read the entire article.