I have written and spoken about the impact of the “Doctrine of Discovery” on Native American affairs for years. This “new” news from the Vatican is astounding. I think that, for the most part, the Vatican and the Catholics in general have tried to forget this piece of “ancient” history that basically says that Christian nations have the right to discover—and rule over—lands inhabited by non-Christians. In other words, all of the Americas were subject to the doctrine, and our USA, in Supreme Court opinions developed by Chief Justice John Marshall in the 1820s and 1830s, declared “that the principle of discovery gave European nations an absolute right to New World lands.” Native peoples were left with a doctrine of “occupancy” and “limited sovereignty.”Read Rich’s Post →
Years ago, when I knew much less of the Indian story in the Pacific Northwest, I had an informal Nez Perce history class here at the Josephy Center. A dozen of us were on the balcony one day when Tamastslikt director Bobbie Conner and her mother came in the door. I shouted down that we were talking about the Stephens Treaties of 1855. Bobbie shouted back that any discussion of Indian treaties had to begin with the Doctrine of Discovery.Read Rich’s Post →
I’ve been wondering where to start in understanding the Bundys and the militia takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge—and I keep getting pushed back in time and place. My journey started with the obvious—the Paiutes, but it didn’t take me long to get to the Pope!