The following article is the product of years of discussions with Onondaga Nation leaders and research; and on-going discussions with Steve Newcomb, a Lenape scholar and author, whose book, Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery and decades of work to expose the doctrine have been critical in the movement to eradicate the doctrine.
The article discusses the doctrine of Christian discovery, as the foundation of United States Indian law, and how it has negatively impacted the rights of Indigenous nations’ land and treaty rights. Although it is currently difficult to see how the US courts or Congress will produce any true justice for Indigenous nations, given the 8 to 1 Sherrill decision in 2005 which they courts used the Doctrine to rule against the Oneidas, the article urges the continuation of work with the general public and religious and academic communities to pressure the Vatican to rescind the Papal Bulls of the 15th century and to completely remove the doctrine.
By: Joseph J. Heath, Esq
Albany Governmental Law Review
10 Alb. Govt. L. Rev 112 (2017)