IAC Minute: The Doctrine of Discovery

Submitted on 04/26/2017

Indian Affairs Committee

New York Yearly Meeting
Religious Society of Friends

On July 22, 2010, the Indian Affairs Committee presented a minute, reproduced below, for first reading at NYYM Summer Sessions. Minute 2010-07-37 from Summer Sessions 2010 reads in part: “Friends approved the Yearly Meeting receiving the minute from Indian Affairs Committee and Witness Coordinating Committee…and directed Indian Affairs Committee to share the minute with the monthly meetings and worship groups, together with explanatory and educational materials, and to travel among the meetings to explore with Friends the opportunities and challenges offered by the minute.”

IAC Minute Endorsing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery, 2010

[Indian Affairs Committee] Minute 06-10-02. Friends approved the following minute:

We seek to live in a just peace with our fellow human beings, both as individuals, and as peoples.

We call on the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007, so that it becomes the law of the land in the United States of America.

We repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which originated in the 15th century from Papal Bulls and European royal charters issued at that time. [See attached historical background.] We cannot accept that the Doctrine of Discovery was ever a true authority for forced takings of persons and land. It is false for the United States to assert the Doctrine of Discovery to compel a jurisdiction over indigenous peoples or their land.

We honor the inalienable rights that sustain the existence of indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples have rights to their homeland, water, spiritual practices, language, cultural practices, and to self-government. Indigenous peoples have the right to make decisions and conduct international relations on their own behalf.

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