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Onondaga Nation calls on Pope Francis to repeal lands doctrine

The Onondaga Nation of New York is calling on Pope Francis, the new leader of the Catholic Church, to repeal the Doctrine of Discovery.

The doctrine arose from a series of papal bulls that were used to justify the taking of lands held by Indian nations. It has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court has in numerous cases, including Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, which has been partially fixed by the recognition of limited tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians in S.47, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

“The doctrine of discovery put us in the same place as the buffaloes and rabbits, roaming the land,” said Oren Lyons, a faith keeper of the Onondaga Nation, told The New York Daily News. “We didn't have right of title to land, but rather occupancy.”

Lyons said Pope John Paul II was willing to discuss the papal bulls but Pope Benedict, who abruptly resigned last month, closed the door on the matter.

Get the Story:
Native Americans to new Pope: Recant the ‘Discovery Doctrine,’ which gave Catholics dominion over New World (The New York Daily News 3/13)

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