A 500 year-old fiction

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.

Recently, when the Pope visited First Nation people in Canada, he heard them shout that they want the Doctrine of Discovery rescinded.

What is this doctrine that tribal people know well, but seems to have escaped most North American school curriculums? And how does it apply to the US government and the many tribes renewing themselves today?

The Papal Bull, “Inter Caetera,” was issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493. It had two parts, the first setting up Read The Article