Native American Heritage Month

Every year during the month of November, the U.S. honors the rich culture of the First Americans. This month is also referred to as National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Native American Heritage Month allows us to spread awareness about more than just ceremonies, pow wows, various feasts, different languages, and ancestral narratives passed down through generations; it allows us to continue to support the remaining tribes and their traditions, as well as appreciate their sacrifices and successes. Understanding the various challenges and atrocities they suffered in the establishment of this country is just as critical as recognizing and celebrating their many significant contributions to the growth of this country.


The Discovery Doctrine

The Doctrine of Discovery is a principle of international law dating from the late 15th century. Issued in a papal decree by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, it specifically sanctioned and promoted the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian territories and peoples.

“The 1493 Papal decree aimed to justify Christian European explorers’ claims on land and waterways they allegedly discovered, and promote Christian domination and superiority, and has been applied in Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas. If an explorer proclaims to have discovered the land in the name of a Christian European monarch, plants a flag in its soil, and reports his “discovery” to the European rulers and returns to occupy it, the land is now his, even if someone else was there first.” (Upstander Project)

“Hundreds of years of decisions and laws continuing right up to our own time can ultimately be traced back to the Doctrine of Discovery—laws that invalidate or ignore the rights, sovereignty, and humanity of indigenous peoples in the United States and around the world.” (Unitarian Universalist Association)

Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts

This film is one of the responses of the Anglican Church's Primate's Commission on discovery reconciliation and justice. The purpose of this film is to respond to the calls to action by helping to provide education and insight into the racist foundations of many of our property and other laws still in existence to this day.

Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts

An explanation of the Doctrine of Discovery and why it should be repudiated. Produced by the Unitarian Universalist Association, with support from a generous donor.

The Doctrine of Discovery from UUAYaYA on Vimeo.

Back to top