Doctrine of Discovery


 

The Doctrine of Discovery is a philosophical and legal framework dating back to the 15th century that gives “Christian governments” legal rights over indigenous lands and domination of indigenous people.  This doctrine was firmly supported by the Christian Church using a biblical framework to justify the various acts against indigenous people.  Because bibilical justification was given by the church and Christians benefitted from the use of enslavement, extraction of resources and extinction – the destruction of indigenous people and their way of life, we firmly believe it is the church that must now work against it’s continued use, be able to acknowledge it’s destructive force and benefits received and work toward right relationships with indigenous people here in the United States and around the world.

One of the goals under Transformative Peacemaking in the next several years is to educate the wider church about the Doctrine of Discovery. At the 2017 Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando we hope to present a resolution denouncing the use of the Doctrine of Discovery. Another of our goals is to find ways to partner with the MCC office in Washington to explore how we can be voice in stopping the use of this doctrine.

 

Resources