Indigenous delegates at world religious convention call for Pope to repudiate Doctrine of Discovery

Indigenous Peoples at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne Australia called for the Catholic Church to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.

Indian Country Today reported in part: “The Doctrine, a fundamentally racist philosophy from the 15th century, continues to allow powerful nation-states to dehumanize people and devastate the living earth in their endless search for resources and markets, the delegation said.

Indigenous peoples from around the world, including a Haudenosaunee delegation, attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Australia Dec. 3 – 9. The Parliament is an interfaith organization formed in 1893 “to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.” It meets every five years.

While the delegates came from diverse geographies and cultures, they easily unified around the intersecting themes of the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and climate change. . . .

The seven point statement calls for immediate action on climate change; the protection of earth-based religions and sacred sites both within and outside their territories; strengthening and protecting indigenous cultures and languages, repatriation of the ancestors’ remains and sacred items, and the support and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The final item is “To call upon Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican to publicly acknowledge and repudiate the papal decrees that legitimized the original activities that have evolved into the dehumanizing Doctrine of Christian Discovery and dominion in laws and policies.” . . .

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