Indigenous Lives vs Doctrine of Discovery

Following is some information from Phyllis Young, Standing Rock Organizer, The Lakota People’s Law Project. She links the “dual traumas of colonization and the exploitation of Grandmother Earth”.

As an Indigenous woman, I feel the heavy weight of history. At Standing Rock, the dual traumas of colonization and the exploitation of Grandmother Earth have collided in our battles against oil extraction and pipelines. I cannot thank you enough for your support—and I ask you to stay with us through November’s hearing on DAPL’s expansion and the planned construction of Keystone XL in 2020. Pipeline resistance must and will remain our top priority for the foreseeable future.

As Native activists, our work to reclaim our own history is also critical. That’s why we’re challenging the root legal argument behind the subjugation of so many Indigenous people, both here and around the world. The Doctrine of Discovery, a papal declaration from the 15th century, was used as a basis for Manifest Destiny and continues to haunt my people today. It was cited by a Supreme Court justice as recently as 2005.

I encourage you to watch our new video (below), in which a world-recognized Shawnee and Lenape expert, Steve Newcomb, sits down with us to explore how the Doctrine of Discovery still allows the domination of Indigenous peoples to this day.

Phyllis Young, Standing Rock Organizer, The Lakota People’s Law Project

I’ve added the Doctrine of Discovery to the diagram below I’m working on. Pipeline battles these days also affect White people, when their land is stolen via Eminent Domain, so I added Eminent Domain to the diagram. I also changed the Green New Deal to Global Green New Deal, which I wrote about yesterday.

Jeff Kisling

Throughout the United States there is a backlash to recent eminent domain decisions. People are dismayed their government has the power to force landowners to surrender their property so that a new owner can utilize the land for a different, arguably better use. This shockwave of vulnerability extends to landowners and legislatures from all political spectrums. Moreover, it is hard to find a demographic group within the United States that is not outraged by recent eminent domain developments, except American Indians.

For centuries, American Indians have seen their lands taken by federal and state governments without consent, and at times, without compensation. Some Indian land takings have fallen squarely within the exercise of eminent domain powers, but takings have routinely occurred under other theories that provide no legal remedy.


Now you have ecological systems and collapse, the die-off of all the insects, you have the sixth extinction. That’s what’s happening right now. You have Fukushima all the radiation. From that you know you can go on and list a whole litany of all the different symptoms and effects and consequences of domination and dehumanization. But most people don’t name it as that and now these people are living in the wreckage of that psychological dysfunction and these other people that caused that act blameless, they bear no responsibility. So how do we get rid of the domination system that afflicts the planet at this time? It has been afflicting it for so many centuries, thousands of years? That’s the rule the real challenge.

Steve Newcomb discusses the Doctrine of Discovery
This entry was posted in #NDAPL, civil disobedience, climate change, Green New Deal, Indigenous, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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