Continental Commission Abya Yala
Communique to the Holy See, Vatican State
DISMANTLING THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY
10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
September 13, 2017
Your Holiness Pope Francis,
Within the framework of the historical trajectory of the Continental Summits Abya Yala, from the foundations of the First Indigenous Continental Encounter of Quito, Ecuador 1990 and then the Second Indigenous Continental Encounter of Temoaya, Mexico 1993, in the spirit of exercising the collective right of Self Determination as Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples of our continent of Abya Yala, we express our gratitude and respect for the letter of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia ONIC addressed to you, Pope Francis, during your recent visit as vicar and head of state of the Vatican.
In particular, as Continental Commission Abya Yala we extend our continental solidarity and support the determination articulated in that letter to affirm the various pronouncements that have been directed to the Vatican over the course of time from the Continental Summits of the Original Peoples and Nations of Abya Yala.
(i) Communiqué to the Holy See, the Vatican, within the framework of the Fifth Continental Summit of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala, La María, Piendamó, 2013,
(ii) Communiqué of the Continental Commission Abya Yala, Autumn Equinox, September 2015, Lenape Nation Territories, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
(iii) Notice on the Dismantling of the Doctrine of Discovery, Jovel Valley, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, February 2016
(iv) Message of Indigenous Peoples to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, June 1986.
In this regard, may we now inform you that our Continental Commission Abya Yala, with a mandate to carry out the DISMANTLING of the Doctrine of Discovery throughout the length and breadth of our continent Abya Yala, also express our solidarity with the call that on your official visit to Wallmapu Mapuche Nation territory in January 2018, to exhort and insist upon the Chilean government to recognize and protect the territorial, autonomous and cultural rights of the Mapuche people, in the spirit of equality and without discrimination.
Your Holiness Pope Francis, as Indigenous Peoples and Nations of Abya Yala we submit to you as head of the Vatican State the following:
Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues of the United Nations on the eleventh session (2012):
Special theme: "The doctrine of discovery: its lasting impact on indigenous peoples and the right to reparations for past achievements" (Articles 28 and 37 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
4. The Permanent Forum recalls the fourth preambular paragraph of the Declaration of the United Nations on the rights of indigenous that all doctrines, policies and practices based on the superiority of certain peoples or individuals or who advocate it on the grounds of origin national or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unfair. Throughout the world, colonizers have argued legal and political rights to deprive indigenous peoples of their lands, deprive them of their rights and repeal their rights, such as the doctrine of discovery, the doctrine of domination, the "conquest", the doctrine of terra nullius or doctrine real. While these nefarious doctrines were favored to justify the acquisition of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples, implicit in them had postulates were taken as the basis for asserting authority and control over lives of indigenous peoples and their lands, territories and resources. The Settlers considered the indigenous peoples "savages", "barbarians", "little evolved", "Inferior and uncivilized" and used these concepts to subdue, dominate and exploit to indigenous peoples and their lands, territories and resources.
The Permanent Forum urges States to reject such doctrines as a basis for denying rights of indigenous peoples.
6. Another current manifestation of the doctrines of dispossession is the concept of the deletion, present in regulations, policies and decisions of the courts in which States have allegedly "suppressed" the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, territories and resources, their right to self-determination, their languages, religions and even their identities and their existence using the notion of "Recognition", that is, recognizing some Indians and not others. The "Suppression", in the context of the rights of indigenous peoples to land, territories and resources, is incompatible with the current understanding of the law international law, and specifically with the mandatory rule that establishes absolute prohibition of racial discrimination. No other people in the world live subject to the threat of "suppression" of their rights.
7. International human rights law, including the equality and non-discrimination, such as those contained in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires that States to rectify the mistakes made in the past by these doctrines, including the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples to land, through legal and regulatory provisions, restitution and other forms of redress of their land rights, including those identified in Articles 27 and 28 of the United Nations Declaration.
8. At its tenth session, the Permanent Forum emphasized that the redefinition of the relationship between indigenous peoples and the State constituted an important instrument for understanding the doctrine of discovery and for vision for reconciliation, peace and justice. For this, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a robust human rights framework and standards to rectify these doctrines, articles 3, 28 and 37. The Permanent Forum encourages to carry out reconciliation processes "in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination discrimination, good governance and good faith. "
10. The Permanent Forum welcomes the recommendation to establish a mechanism to receive and review communications from indigenous peoples, especially in relation to the claim their rights to lands, territories and resources that have traditionally been have owned, occupied or used or acquired in any other way, or the violation of these rights. Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders should formulate this recommendation in more detail. The Forum takes note of the mandate of the Special Conference on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in this regard.
Your Holiness Pope Francis,
In order to institute the necessary corrective and collective measures in repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, being that the Doctrine continues to serve as a mantle of camouflage for the pathology and illegal colonization of Abya Yala that deforms and violates the spirit and well-being of our Common Humanity;
Progressing with the recommendation of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to establish an international mechanism for receiving and examining communications from indigenous peoples, especially with regard to claiming their rights to lands, territories and resources that they have traditionally owned, occupied or used , the Continental Commission Abya Yala accepts with great interest the report of Colombia, which indicates how the Doctrine of Discovery has been institutionalized in a discriminatory manner at the national level in Colombia, by designation as a successor state to the Papal Bull Inter Caetera of Alexander VI via the institution of the Constitution of Cúcuta (1821).
The Continental Commission Abya Yala, at the V Continental Summit Abya Yala (2013), sent an official communiqué to the Vatican from Maria Piendamó in Cauca Territory, regarding the position of the Vatican and Pope Francis as head of state, with obligation under international law to act in accordance with the principles of Decolonization of Abya Yala in accordance with the criteria of UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (1960) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).
This communiqué was never answered by the Vatican, nor has there been public comment by Pope Francis on the subject.
Recalling that you, as Bishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina in your public comment in 2012 on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas conflict made indirect reference to the Doctrine of Discovery by expressing a position that reaffirms Argentina's territorial claim to the islands as a successor state of the Papal Bull of Pope Alexander VI Inter Caetera 1493 in current times: "usurped".
Recognizing that this issue of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas conflict remains on the agenda of the United Nations Decolonization Committee;
Taking the above as context, and recognizing and acknowledging the role of the Vatican as a member state of the United Nations, with obligations as any other state to comply with the recognition and guarantees of the Right of Self Determination articulated in Resolution 1514 of the General Assembly (1960), and further that the recognition of the right of self-determination corresponds without discrimination to Indigenous Peoples as "Peoples, equal to all other peoples" (UNDRIP 2007), once again we urge Your Holiness to make public comment in repudiation of the Doctrine of the Discovery in his visit to Chile in January of 2018.
Continental Commission Abya Yala
La Maria Piendamo, Cauca [Colombia]
Annex of Documents
- Papal Bull Inter Caetera (1493)
- The Requirement (1513)
- 1984 ANASAZI Letter to Pope John Paul II
- 1984 Letter of Response : Vatican Secretary of State
Fifth Period of Sessions May 15- 26, 2006
United Nations NY, NY
Architectures of the States and the Territorial Integrity of Mother Earth
Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples 2012
Presented by: TONATIERRA May 7, 2012
Report of the Indigenous Peoples Forum on the
Doctrine of Discovery Arizona State Capitol
March 23, 2012
"We demand that the Preliminary Study on the Doctrine of Discovery, submitted to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues be integrated into the Social Studies Curriculum standards immediately for implementation across the spectrum of services delivered by the Arizona Department of Education at all levels across the state with no exceptions."