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Program Information
Doctorine of Discovery
Doug George-Kanentiio
 Pete Bianco  Contact Contributor
Sept. 15, 2018, 6:34 p.m.
This talk explains the origins of the Doctorine of Discovery. This is the legal basis that was used to justify the theft of non Christian people’s lands by the authorization of the Pope. This doctrine is called a Papal Bull. Spanish Sovereigns agreed to finance Christopher Columbus but how would they finance the trip? In 1492 they were able to overwhelm the last Muslim community in Grenada and expropriate their property. Also they decided to expel the Jews. While Columbus was in a port in Western Spain getting ready to make his trip to the Americas literally next to him are ships full of Jews whose property has like the Muslims been taken by the crown and they use that wealth stolen from these people in order to finance his trip.
Doug George-Kanentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk, is the vice-president of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge. He has served as a Trustee for the National Museum of the American Indian, is a former land claims negotiator for the Mohawk Nation and is the author of numerous books and articles about the Mohawk people.
Columbus enslaved Native Americans and brought them to Spain to ask what should be done with them. In 1493 Pope Alexander VI sanctioned Pope Nicholas’s decision 40 years prior. In 1452 Pope Nicholas had sanctioned the taking of land, property, and the physical lives of people who were non-Christians because they were moving into Western and Central Africa. They needed a legal moral basis for this behavior. He based his justification on old Roman practices. So Pope Alexander’s Papal Bull in created 1493 used the logic that if you were not a Christian you were the enemy of Christ and you could use force to affect their conversion. But underlying all this was the economic initiative.

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