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Christian Domination and the Failure of ‘Truth and Reconciliation’

Aug 17 to Aug 18

A conference in Onondaga Nation Territory at Syracuse University and Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center.  Saturday and Sunday, 17-18 August 2019.


This conference continues discussions between religious communities and Indigenous Peoples about the Doctrine of Christian Discovery (DOCD) so that real healing can occur. “Truth and Reconciliation” efforts in settler-colonial states have the appearance of resolving the history of conquest and domination but often do not result in a healing of Indigenous Peoples and their lands. Using words like reconciliation, repudiation, domination, discovery, conquest, missionization, colonialism and settler-colonialism, or referring to Indigenous Peoples in the singular or as populations, issues or groups, has consequences. Noam Chomsky, George Lakoff, and Steven Newcomb remind us that word choice matters and, although these concepts appear benign, they actually perpetuate and give cover to a violent past. The DOCD continues to be a matter of urgent concern for Indigenous Peoples around the world. It has emboldened trans-national corporations to further their extraction practices everywhere forcing standoffs and migration of Indigenous Peoples. Our lineup of speakers will address international migration issues and the connection between the DOCD and the destruction of Mother Earth.


Confirmed speakers:


Conference fees:

Register Now 


There are a limited number of scholarships available to cover the registration fee.

If you need a scholarship, please send an email to [email protected] and briefly tell us who you are, why you would like to attend and any work you do connected to dismantling the ‘doctrine of discovery’ and why you are applying for a scholarship. Please put ‘scholarship request’ in the subject of the email.

 If you want to contribute a scholarship for others to attend the conference you can donate to the conference.


Book your group rate for SU Religion.


Draft Schedule

Saturday 17 August

  • 8:00 AM — Onondaga Lake Water Ceremony – at Onondaga Lake
    • Meet at pier near Salt Museum
    • Opening address by Tadodaho Sidney Hill
    • Water Ceremony conducted by Betty Lyons and Eve Reyes-Aguirre
      • (Bring waters from your home territories for this event)
  • 9:00 AM — Haudenosaunee breakfast — at the Skanonh Center
    • Orientation to the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center, Sandy Bigtree and Phil Arnold
  • 11:09 AM — Registration — at Falk College, SU
  • Noon-1:30 PM — Lunch — followed by the film “The Doctrine of Discovery” (1 hour) and a talk with Steven Newcomb.
  • 1:30-3:30 PM —  International work panel — Grant Auditorium, SU
    • Panelists: Betty Lyons, Tupac Enrique Acosta, Eve Reyes-Aguirre, & Jake Edwards
  • 4:00-6:00 PM — Law Panel — Grant Auditorium, SU
    • Panelists: Joe Heath, Steve Newcomb, Dana Lloyd
  • 7:00-9:00 PM — dinner — Falk College, SU

Sunday 18 August

  • 8:00 AM—light breakfast (Falk, SU catering)
  • 9:00-11:00 AM—Religion panel  — Grant Auditorium, SU
    • Panelists: Philip P. Arnold, Adam DJ Brett, Eglute Trinkauskaite, Sandra Bigtree
  • 11:30 AM-1:00 PM—Listening circle on what people are doing about the DoD — Falk College, SU
    • Facilitated by Gail Bundy
  • 1:00-2:30 PM—lunch —Falk College, SU
    • During lunch the Onondaga youth will perform social songs
  • 2:30-4:00 PM—Oren Lyons Keynote, “Truth and Reconciliation” — Grant Auditorium, SU
    • Followed by a discussion
  • 4:30-5:30 PM—Final thoughts and concerns, “Value Change for Survival” — Grant Auditorium, SU


Aug 17
Aug 18


Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center
Liverpool, NY, Onondaga Nation Territory + Google Map