Doctrine of Discovery
The Doctrine of Discovery holds keys for the faith community to understand its role in these times of both ecological crisis and calls for justice.
The Doctrine of Discovery refers to a system of beliefs and 15th century Papal Bulls that gave permission for Christian colonizers to ‘invade, capture, subdue, and vanquish all pagans and Saracens’, who were seen as enemies of Christ. As a result the lands and possessions of indigenous peoples were seized and slavery was authorized in perpetuity. These beliefs, reinforced by a theology of ‘domination’ declaring humans to have dominion over the earth and all it’s creatures have led us down a dangerous path, resulting in the genocide of indigenous peoples across the globe, enslavement, exploitation and the degradation of our planet. As people of faith, we have the power and the responsibility to examine the truth of these ideologies and indeed, rapidly correct our course.
A Letter to Pope Francis
Mindahi Bastida presents a letter to Pope Francis asking for support for indigenous peoples to protect and restore sacred sites in the world and to rescind the historical Papal Bulls, affecting indigenous peoples lives and territories.
Statements in Faith
CEE Field Ed student, Petra Thombs mobilized an effort to engage and educate the Union Theological Seminary Community on the Doctrine of Discovery resulting in a letter to the Vatican signed by Union President, Serene Jones.
Addressing Inter-Generational Trauma Brings About Both Healing and Policy Change
In a multi-year relationship, CEE worked with community members in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2019, Mindahi Bastida joined them to celebrate the city’s Proclamation of its first Indigenous People’s Day and for an OPEN Conversation about Indigenous People’s rights, the consequences of the Doctrine of Discovery, original caretaker’s wisdom, history and connection to the land.
“Our nation is going through a painful reckoning with systemic racism and worsening economic inequity, so the “environment” can seem to be a lesser concern. But as many Native American and Black voices have pointed out, ecological, racial and economic issues have always been intertwined.”
– CEE Director, Karenna Gore wrote recently on the concept of ‘domination’ as it is playing out in this time of COVID-19 and Ecological Crisis for World Environment Day 2020.