DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY
What Is The Doctrine of Discovery?
The Doctrine of Discovery, a concept of public international law expounded by the United States Supreme Court in a series of decisions, originated from various church documents in Christian Europe in the mid-1400s to justify the pattern of domination and oppression by European monarchies as they invasively arrived in the Western hemisphere. It theologically asserted the right to claim the indigenous lands, territories, and resources on behalf of Christendom, and to subjugate native peoples around the world.
This doctrine continues to be employed in a variety of ways legally in the United States of America and in the State of Wisconsin. Native Americans are still treated as those without legal rights or legal standing with regard to their property and their cultural values. The Christian Church participated in the original Doctrine that led Europeans to overwhelm and steal property rights from all indigenous peoples in this Continent.
Wisconsin Congregations Asked To Study Doctrine Of Discovery
The voting body at the 2018 Wisconsin Conference UCC Annual Meeting voted to enter into a time of discussion and study around the Doctrine of Discovery and our faith, with the purpose being to vote on a resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery at the 2019 annual meeting. The Ho Cak UCC and the Wisconsin Conference Racial Justice Task Force presented this resolution. In order to bring the resolution to the floor for a vote in April 2019, at least 65 congregations in the Wisconsin Conference must engage in discussion or study of this issue and submit a response form prior to March 31, 2019.
Our church has given the topic some study in the month of February, 2019 and will continue to be informed and educated about this important issue in a Lenten Study group that will be held in March and April of 2019. Our congregation will submit a response form in preparation of the vote at the 2019 annual meeting of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ.