Steven Newcomb: Domination doctrine and the Quinault Nation

A view of Lake Quinault in Washington. Photo by Tom Harpel / Flickr

Steven Newcomb of the Indigenous Law Institute discusses a dispute over the ownership of Lake Quinault by the Quinault Nation in Washington:
In a February 17, 2015 article titled “Lake was never given to the tribe” posted on, Guy Boudia builds his argument on a tacit and flimsy premise of Christian domination. He attempts to use this against the Quinault Nation, and by extension, against all the original and rightfully free nations of North America.

One argument Boudia makes is that Lake Quinault does not belong to the Quinault Nation because of what he euphemistically calls “the Doctrine of Discovery and Conquest from the 1400s European Law.” Boudia’s use of the word “conquest” suggests a rightful triumph and victory over enemy Indian nations. Indeed, by using “conquest,” Boudia has skillfully disguised the claimed right of domination that the United States has used and continues to use against all the nations of this continent, nations that were existing here free and independent before Christian European colonizers invaded.

The system of domination that Boudia used as the basis for his article has a number of sources, starting with Genesis 1:28 of the Old Testament, which instructs “man” to “subdue the earth,” and “dominate” all living things. Another related source is a series of documents issued by various popes of the Catholic Church in the 1400s. The Dum Diversas from 1452 is one such Vatican document that serves as part of the basis for Boudia’s argument against the Quinault Nation in the name of “1400s European Law.”

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: The Quinault Nation and the Claimed Right of Domination (Indian Country Today 3/4)

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