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Religious protest against exploitation of indigenous land

Quaker Indian Committee disavows Doctrine of Discovery, affirms Declaration Indian Country Today By Gale Courey Toensing  Dec 17, 2009 PHILADELPHIA – Inspired by the actions of the Episcopal Church, a Quaker group has disavowed the Christian Doctrine of Discovery and voiced its support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Indian Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends issued a Minute – analogous to a resolution – at its September meeting.

The committee “renounces the Doctrine of Discovery, the doctrine at the foundation of the colonization of Indigenous lands, including the lands of Pennsylvania. We find this doctrine to be fundamentally inconsistent with the teaching of Jesus, with our understanding of the inherent rights that individuals and peoples have received from God, and inconsistent with Quaker testimonies of Peace, Equality, and Integrity,” the Minute reads.
The Doctrine of Discovery was a principle of international law developed in a series of 15th century papal bulls and 16th century charters by European monarchs. It was a racist philosophy that gave white Christian Europeans the green light to go forth and claim the lands and resources of non-Christian peoples and kill or enslave them – if other Christian Europeans had not already done so.

The doctrine institutionalized the competition between European countries in their ever-expanding quest for colonies, resources and markets, and sanctioned the genocide of indigenous people in the “New World” and elsewhere.

As a spiritual corollary of the renunciation, the Indian Committee also expressed its support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the General Assembly Sept. 13, 2007. The Declaration presents indigenous rights within a framework of human rights.

Only the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia – countries with large populations of indigenous peoples with huge aboriginal land claims – voted against the Declaration’s adoption. Australia has since adopted it.

Quaker Indian Committee disavows Doctrine of Discovery, affirms Declaration | Indian Country Today | Content

December 23, 2009 - Posted by | indigenous issues, Religion and ethics, USA | , , , , , ,

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