[gtu-list] Quakers Repudiate Doctrine of Discovery

Rita Brock ritabrock at sbcglobal.net
Mon Oct 1 07:33:18 PDT 2012


FYI
---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: June Licence <jlicence at buffalo.edu>
Date: Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 8:15 AM
Subject: [RS+] Quakers re Doctrine of Discovery
To: June Licence <jlicence at buffalo.edu>


http://mother-earth-journal.com/2012/08/19/quakers-repudiate-the-doctrine-of
-discovery/


Quakers Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery

Posted by Terri Hansen on 8/19/12 . Categorized as culture,human
rights,indigenous peoples,news releases

NEW YORK, NY - New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
(commonly called Quakers) formally repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery at
its annual Summer Sessions in Silver Bay, New York, on July 26, 2012.

New York Yearly Meeting is the denominational organization of Quakers in New
York State, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

The Doctrine of Discovery is a principle of international law that
originated in Christian church law in the 15th century. It is a basis for
non-indigenous governments' claims to legitimacy and control of indigenous
lands and peoples and still has the force of law today.

The Quaker organization chose to act after two years of deliberation under
the leadership of its Indian Affairs Committee, which was first formed in
the late 1700s. The Friends denounced the Doctrine of Discovery as contrary
to their experience of God and as a violation of their spiritual experience
of the fundamental equality of all persons, stating:

"We cannot accept that the Doctrine of Discovery was ever a true authority
for the forced takings of lands and the enslavement or extermination of
peoples. It is reprehensible for the United States to use the Doctrine of
Discovery as a legal doctrine to compel a jurisdiction over Indigenous
Peoples or their lands."

New York Yearly Meeting also called upon the United States Senate to "enact
the legislation that will make UNDRIP [the United Nations Declaration of the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007] the law of the land in the United
States of America."

The concern also grew in part out of the Yearly Meeting's long relationship
with the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, located
in upstate New York. In fact, Quaker concern for just treatment of the First
Nations of North America goes back to the religion's very origins in the
1600s.

The Doctrine of Discovery undergirds all our laws regarding property.

The United States has used the Doctrine to rationalize its dominion of its
indigenous peoples throughout its history, citing the Doctrine as recently
as 2005 in the U.S. Supreme Court case City of Sherrill v. Oneida Nation of
Indians. "We are therefore not just repudiating the actions of a 15th
century pope," said YYM General Secretary Christopher Sammond. "The doctrine
provides legal basis predicated on the assumption of Europeans being
superior to First Nations peoples. Those assumptions are contrary to our
experience as Friends that a Divine Spark lives in every person and that we
are therefore all loved equally by God."

Full text of New York Yearly Meeting's statement:

We seek to live in a just peace with our fellow human beings, both as
individuals, and as peoples.

The United States has formally declared its support for the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007. We now call on the
United States Senate to enact the legislation that will make this the law of
the land in the United States of America.

We repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which originated in the 15th century
from Papal Bulls and European royal charters issued at that time. The
Doctrine of Discovery mandated the seizure of lands belonging to any
non-Christian peoples and encouraged the enslavement, exploitation, or
eradication of those peoples. We cannot accept that the Doctrine of
Discovery was ever a true authority for the forced takings of lands and the
enslavement or extermination of peoples. It is reprehensible for the United
States to use the Doctrine of Discovery as a legal doctrine to compel a
jurisdiction over Indigenous Peoples or their lands.

We honor the inalienable rights of Indigenous Peoples to their homelands,
water, spiritual practices, languages, cultural practices, and to
self-government, all of which sustain life and the life of a People, and the
autonomy of Indigenous Peoples. An Indigenous People has the right to make
decisions and establish constructive arrangements with other nations,
governments and peoples on their own behalf.

For more information on New York Yearly Meeting and the Doctrine of
Discovery, visit the New York Yearly Meeting fact sheet on its website.

See also the following independent resources:

UN Preliminary Study on the Doctrine of Discovery (pdf).
 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
 Doctrine of Discovery (study group)
 Indigenous Law Institute




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Indigenous Women's Initiatives
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