The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code
It is said that racism is America’s original sin, often referring to anti-Black racism. But there is an earlier racism--the view that the original inhabitants of the Americas were barbarian and that civilized Europeans were superior and entitled by God to dominate them …and steal their land. All of this was codified by fifteenth century Catholic Popes in their “Doctrine of Discovery,” and was later adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1800s.
Dakota filmmaker Sheldon Wolfchild gives us a brutally compelling documentary detailing the tragic momentum of domination and dehumanization throughout this hemisphere. The film concludes with traditional teachings developed over thousands of years that provide a much-needed alternative for humans and their relation to the ecological systems of Mother Earth. It is this cosmology of First Nation peoples that informs todays resistance to pipelines and extreme extraction of fossil fuels, just as it is the original “Doctrine of Discovery” racism that supports the repression of their resistance to this day.
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