May 29th, 2010
A former Penobscot Indian Nation chief is calling on national Indian organizations to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and all laws and policies based on it.
Penobscot elder and former Chief Jim Sappier has drafted identical resolutions for the United South and Eastern Tribes and the National Congress of American Indians in support of the Episcopal Church’s “Call for Justice for Indigenous Peoples” to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.
The resolutions have been forwarded and will be presented at USET’s semi-annual meeting June 14 – 17 in Mobile, Ala., and NCAI’s mid-year conference June 20 – 23 in Rapid City, S.D.
The national Episcopal Church passed a resolution last summer disavowing the Doctrine of Discovery and calling on the United States government to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. USET and NCAI have already passed resolutions supporting the endorsement of UNDRIP.
I have written extensively about the Doctrine of Discovery in my book and in articles you can download for free on the web (and this one on the Doctrine in New Zealand). The Doctrine is a principle of international law developed in a series of 15th century papal bulls and 16th century charters by European monarchs designed to claim the lands and assets of non-christian, non-european peoples.
Sappier said the resolutions are based on the crucial need for education about the history of the Indigenous peoples and the U.S. government.