Our Petition Appeal to Pope Francis:
What is it?
The Doctrine of Discovery refers to three 15th century papal bulls that provided the moral and legal rationale for Christian explorers to confiscate all land and possessions of the inhabitants of "barbarous nations." This ultimately resulted in the Indigenous peoples to be killed and displaced, while their sacred lands have been reaped for wealth at the expense of the wellbeing of our planet.
Why Revoke it?
Even today the Doctrine of Discovery continues to negatively effect millions of Indigenous Peoples. Since 1823, the Doctrine has been used in U.S property law relating to Indigenous land. It is used as the justification for claiming that Indians don't have title to 'discovered lands,' that the Indigenous peoples are mere tenants on their ancestral lands. As recently as 2005, in the case City of Sherill v Oneida Indian Nation, the court ruled that “under the ‘doctrine of discovery,’ fee title to the lands occupied by Indians when the colonists arrived became vested in the sovereign - first the discovering European nation and later the original States and the United States.” A revocation would spark a conversation for Indigenous advocates, policy makers and ordinary citizens to address its outdated and unjust policies toward sacred tribal lands, which are too frequently taken for profits at the expense of environmental integrity.
For over a decade religious and Indigenous organizations have been working to request the Pope revoke the Doctrine. Pope Francis has demonstrated advocacy on behalf of the poor and marginalized peoples of our planet. He has recognized the Church's crimes committed against the Indigenous peoples, has affirmed the sacred nature of Indigenous lands, while asserting Indigenous tribes should be the principle dialogue partners for projects affecting those lands. The Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, Christian Church, World Council of Churches, New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, the United Methodist Church, have all repudiated the Doctrine. And dozens of other religious organizations, including a group of 13 Catholic groups started by the Loretto Community, have been calling for its revocation since early 2013. Sign the petition and learn more at romeroinstitute.org
We respectfully ask you, Pope Francis, to revoke the Doctrine of Discovery, which vested moral and spiritual authority in Colonial powers to brutally and violently conquer Indigenous lands.
(Names of Petition Signers will Appear here)