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Why repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery?


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Post: The Doctrine of Discovery has been used to  justify the colonization and killing of Indigenous Peoples.

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Issued by the Pope in the 1400’s, the Doctrine was based on the assumption that Christians were superior, and that Indigenous Peoples were less-than-human. This racist ideology remains embedded in Canada's constitution, and forms the basis for colonial jurisdiction over lands and waters today. The Doctrine of Discovery continues to harm Indigenous-settler relationships, affecting how Indigenous Peoples can govern, and use their land.

The Vatican, who were the original authors of the Doctrine, repudiated it in March 2023. Canada? We’re still waiting. Despite its deadly consequences on Indigenous Nations, the Doctrine continues to influence how we govern the lands and waters of “our home on Native land”. 


Want to learn more?

Check out Home on Native Land:
A self-guided, 10 lesson course on Indigenous Justice in Canada.


Through a series of 10 videos, cartoons & lessons, you'll take a walk down the back alley of history — and the frontlines of legal action