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Copy of Doctrine of Discovery Task Force

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Danielle Rowaan

on 24 February 2016

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Transcript of Copy of Doctrine of Discovery Task Force

Papal Bull Dum Diversas – Doctrine of Discovery 1452
“…invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and
subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever
, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and
all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them
and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit.” (Pope Nicholas V)
Dehumanization of

did this come up??
Creation Stewardship
Task Force 2011
Marshall trilogy:
Indians as savages
can hold
to land (landlord)
North American=Christian=superior
can only
land (tenant/occupant)
The Doctrine of Discovery is foundational.
Christianize the "heathen"?
loss of culture/language
generational trauma
So how does this seemingly obscure Doctrine
impact our contemporary Gospel ministry?
"The Doctrine of Discovery was
the theological and legal basis for colonial expansion and presumes that civilization is not present if the institutions of Western Culture are not available
. Discovered and uncivilized lands are considered Terra Nullius--uninhabited land--even if peoples and cultures are present. The Right of Discovery legitimized exploitation and rule under the guise of benevolence and civilization. As Western civilization spread, catastrophe and discovery were hard to distinguish.

Though long repudiated by most of the world's major religious traditions, the Doctrine of Discovery reappears in contemporary challenges to aboriginal life and identity such as assimilationist policy.
Theologically, the Doctrine of Discovery has been the handmaid to the idolatrous assumption that God's presence has been confined to Western civilization--an idea that has all but destroyed the capacity of the major denominations to grow in Indigenous communities

-Bishop Mark MacDonald
photo from Flickr user photophilde
Doctrine of Christian Discovery
In the United States...
In Canada...
St. Catharines Milling v. the Queen (1888):
granted land rights to prospecters,
ignoring Aboriginal title & treaty rights
The Indian Act:
a person = "an individual other than an Indian"
Findings of the taskforce:
-The CRC is not unique, and we have been impacted by this way of looking at Indigenous peoples, this flawed theology, as deeply as other denominations
--> Rehoboth is just one example
--> we have all been touched by this history (see story "God is Not White" from Banner)
-To heal the Body of Christ and to repent of these fallen ways of thinking, we need to hear stories and listen deeply to each other. Reconcilation is a long-term commitment.
• to acknowledge the DOCD and its legacies as systemic sin and moral wounds with wide effects on life and ministry among both Indigenous people and settlers;
• to confront the legacy of the DOCD in a denomination-wide commitment to learning, prayer, confession, lament and repentance;
• to direct agencies of the CRCNA to: build substantive dialogue and relationships with Indigenous Christian leaders; to asses and build sound mission practices and; develop congregational learning and action resources on the legacy of the DOCD;
• to acknowledge the CRCNA’s historical appropriation of a Euro-superior worldview and resulting trespasses against Indigenous peoples and commit to continued investigation of archives in order to uncover the effects of these trespasses;
• and to make safe space and provision for the sharing of stories about the legacy of the DOCD in CRC ministries.

To learn more and contact the task force...
A European doctrine integrated into North American systems:
Key taskforce recommendations:
Full transcript