"At its 76th General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., July 8 – 17, the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution entitled, “Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery.” I’d like to discuss the significance of the resolution in relation to the efforts by indigenous nations to protect their sacred places. The Black Hills, Mt. Graham, the Go-Road in Northern California, Yucca Mountain and San Francisco Peaks are the most well known, but there are certainly many others throughout the continent.
Since they first arrived, Christian Europeans worked hard to cut the ties of indigenous nations to their traditional lands. Attacking their languages and ceremonial traditions in the name of Christianity was a key means of attempting to sever the ongoing spiritual relationship that indigenous nations maintained for many thousands of years with their most sacred places and territories.
Non-Indian court rulings have also significantly affected Indian nations. And the most foundational court decisions are historically grounded in the ancient view that Christians had the right to locate, invade and capture lands anywhere in the world, provided the lands were inhabited by non-Christians.
This religiously premised claim of a Right of Christian Invasion leads to an important question: “Is the ancient claim that Christians have the right to locate, invade and assume territorial dominion over the lands of non-Christian nations a legitimate source of U.S. law in the 21st century?” The answer from the Episcopal Church resolution is, “No, it isn’t a legitimate source of U.S. law.”"
Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: The right of Christian invasion
(Indian Country Today 7/31)
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