Monday, April 11, 2016

The Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Doctrine of Discovery


The Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Doctrine of Discovery: Medieval Christian theology at the heart of modern international policy
- 09.10.15 -

This educational project is funded and published by
P.O. Box 4569 Arcata, CA 95518
Researched and Written by
Cynthia Boshell, J.D.
Human Rights Consultant

Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples

Edited by
Joe Parker, Ph.D.

Department of International and Intercultural Studies
Pitzer College

About Cynthia Boshell, J.D.
Cynthia Boshell (Kusa-Kosati-Muscogee, Wind Clan) is a human rights consultant who focuses primarily on empowering Indigenous Peoples' exercise of self-determination. As a 2011 Seventh Generation Fund delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Cynthia wrote and presented to both the Global Indigenous Women's and the Global Indigenous Peoples' Caucuses regarding the influence of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on Indigenous women and communities [under the direction of U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Expert member and Special Rapporteur on the Doctrine of Discovery, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, Onondaga]. Cynthia holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law (2015), where she earned a certificate in Native American Law and a certificate in Sustainable Energy and Resources Law. She lectures in Native American Studies at Humboldt State University where she introduces learners to the roots of colonization, the causes of environmental injustice, and the impact of genocide on Indigenous Peoples.

Seventh Generation Fund's Red Papers emanate from the
Gourds of Wisdom
Keeping Indigenous Knowledge
an Indigenous Peoples' Think Tank.

"When we walk upon Mother Earth, we always plant our feet carefully because we  know the faces of our future generations are looking up at us from beneath  the ground. We never  forget them. In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale." - Oren Lyons (Onondaga Nation), Seventh Generation Fund Board of Directors.

This paper continues the international discussion of how 500 years of genocide impacts Indigenous Peoples.

1          The experiences of genocide cannot be told by outsiders; the survivors are the only ones who are qualified to speak the truth of how dehumanizing brutalities impact them. Denying victims the opportunity to be heard, dismissing the their concerns as "revisionist history," and urging them to overlook past atrocities ratifies the acts of the perpetrators and deprives victims, survivors, and their descendants of the deserved healing and recovery process. Many truths about how worldwide genocide impacts Indigenous Peoples have yet to be voiced by the survivors, recognized by the international community, and redressed by the States that are responsible. Although the forcible  domination  of  Indigenous  Peoples  by Christian-European  empires has been on-going in the "Western Hemisphere"1 for over five hundred years, it is only recently that the leaders of Indigenous nations have been able to gain access to the United Nations in Geneva to officially speak on their own behalf, and object to the religiously-based, international genocide that has been termed the "Doctrine of Discovery.2

2          Indigenous Peoples' international dialogue focuses on reasserting their inherent human rights, on holding both States and the Roman Catholic Church accountable for the systematic extermination of Indigenous cultures, and on dismantling the framework of domination forced on them by the past and continuing assaults of Christian nations on their territories, cultures, and well-being. In 2010, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) appointed Special Rapporteur Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga, Snipe Clan) to conduct a preliminary study on how the Doctrine of Discovery has impacted Indigenous Peoples. Ms. Frichner's study was ground-breaking–the first study of its kind ever presented to a United Nations body. Entitled Impact on Indigenous Peoples of the International Legal construct known as the Doctrine of Discovery, which has served as the Foundation of the Violation of their Human Rights, (E/C.19/2010/13; Feb. 3, 2010),3 Special Rapporteur Fricher's study concluded that a wide range of human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples is rooted in the intentional policy of Christian domination that has been institutionalized and enforced through national and international law.4 In 2012, the Haudenosaunee, the American Indian Law Alliance, and the Indigenous Law Institute of North America co-presented a conference room paper on the Doctrine of Discovery,5 challenging the UNPFII to probe into the deep roots and systematic biases that  continue  to  sanction  violence  against  Indigenous Peoples–particularly against women–and the domination and dehumanization of Indigenous Peoples everywhere the genocidal Doctrine of Discovery is applied. The 2012 paper also called for the Roman Catholic Pope to formally revoke the religious documents in which various Popes feigned the authority to give non-Christian nations and peoples to Christian monarchs as property for exclusive exploitation. Importantly, this paper recommended the UNPFII commission a more detailed study, examining how these inhumane acts and political agendas effect Indigenous Peoples.6 That study was completed in 2014 by Permanent Forum Chair Grand Chief Edward John (Akile Ch'oh) and examined some of the deeper consequences of the framework of dominance, recommended avenues of redress, and joined Ms. Frichner's 2010 study and the 2012 conference room paper in urging international bodies to continue examining the impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery in private, public and international forums.7

3          The purpose of this paper is to provide background information for some of the key issues that the 2012 conference room paper addressed. In particular, this discussion will examine some of the points that Ms. Frichner's noteworthy 2010 study introduced, focusing on the deep religious roots of the Doctrine of Discovery and how it came to be embedded in present day practices that continue the systematic extermination of Indigenous Peoples.

Everywhere the Doctrine of Discovery is applied, the result has been genocide.

4          The Doctrine of Discovery is an international policy of ethnic cleansing, originating in the Medieval Roman Catholic Church, that legalizes the destruction of non-Christian peoples. The "doctrine" is a collection of Christian beliefs, suppositions, and perceptions of the world that began to converge around 1095 AD with Pope Urban II's Speech at Clermont,8 which evolved into a fanatical “religio-political” ideology of empire. 9 The purpose of this dogma was to disguise the Church's insatiable hunger for power and wealth behind a screen of an allegedly charitable world-wide Christian mission to Christianize non-Christian peoples. However, the primary purpose of the doctrine was clear: To facilitate resource exploitation, State-and Church-sponsored acts of genocide10 were carried out globally, legitimized by integrating the ideology of empire, known as the "Doctrine of Discovery," into the existing laws of European Christian nations. The term "Doctrine of Discovery" is a term that has been used consistently by the Roman Catholic Church and nations of Christendom to disguise the truth: that they deliberately committed crimes against humanity for the purpose of profit.11

5          As a result of over five hundred years of victimization by colonial States, the condition of Indigenous Peoples worldwide is one of extreme marginalization.12 Statistically, the percentage  of Indigenous Peoples who populate many colonial states is in the extreme minority. 13 Everywhere practices of domination and dehumanization have been applied, destruction, demoralization and death have followed. Indigenous women disproportionately suffer from violence and sexual exploitation14 when compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts, and experience greater impacts to their health and access to social services. Indigenous youth are the future of Indigenous Peoples, yet they are the most vulnerable and marginalized group in the world, according to UNICEF.15 Indigenous families are deprived of the most basic standards of health, well-being, and continuity. 16 Indigenous Peoples are denied autonomy when States violate the right to exercise free, prior and informed consent regarding decisions that affect their lands, resources, and economies.17 States continue to devalue Indigenous Peoples' rights to, inter alia, identity, nationality, property, culture, traditions, spiritual practices, education, self- governance, legal systems, wellness and future posterity. 18 Yet, both domestically and internationally, Indigenous Peoples have no effective mechanism to enforce existing treaties, protect themselves from continuing atrocities, or prevent further State-condoned violations of their fundamental human rights. Currently there are very few international or domestic remedies to achieve justice; State-sponsored genocidal assaults on Indigenous Peoples continue unabated and invisible to the majority of society.19

6          One hundred percent of the resources human beings rely on for survival, comfort, and prosperity are provided by our Mother Earth. The global community of human beings faces a diminishing supply of natural resources as world population and affluence of nations increases. Greater demand for diminishing supply promises bigger profits to private industry and is a strong, perverse incentive that accelerates resource extraction. Consider that Indigenous Peoples occupy approximately 20% of the world's land surface, which contains an estimated 80% of the world's cultural and biological diversity. Corporations perceive Indigenous territories as an untapped source of mineral, energy, and intellectual wealth,20 so as natural resources diminish elsewhere, profit-driven entities are even more inclined to prey upon Indigenous Peoples' territories, sacred sites, vital cultural properties and traditional knowledge. 21 To enable exploitation of resources, States continue to violate human rights, relying on principles rooted in the Doctrine of Discovery as an excuse to disregard the fundamental rights of the Indigenous Peoples. 22 The long-standing practice of profiting off of property stolen from Indigenous Peoples23 is a significant contributor to Indigenous population decline and to global climate change, posing a threat to the national security of States as diminishing resources and climate disruption foreshadows the destabilization of society as a whole. 24 As pressure increases on Indigenous Peoples' lands, identities, communities, and existence, it is urgent to understand and discuss the policies that systematize disrespect for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and make possible the systematic annihilation of Indigenous nations.

7          To forward the discussion of how Christian domination impacts the world's Indigenous Peoples, this research will introduce and examine the main principles that embody the international "legal doctrine," euphemistically termed the "Doctrine of Discovery," which sanctions the domination, exploitation and extermination of Indigenous Peoples. This examination focuses on the origin, basis and purpose of three main principles of the doctrine; explains why and how the oppression of Indigenous Peoples became an intentional policy goal; and describes how the United States accepted, evolved and continues to use the doctrine in its domestic and foreign policy to disguise the genocidal nature of its interference with Indigenous Peoples' human and collective rights. This paper concludes by presenting several policy recommendations to liberate and restore the rights and dignity of Indigenous Peoples.

Principles of domination were essential elements of the Roman Catholic Church contracts with Christian European monarchs.

"I do not wish to delay, but to discover and go to many Islands to find gold." Christopher Columbus, October 15, 1492.

8          The Medieval Roman Catholic Church is the necessary starting point to begin understanding the religious nature of modern policies and how these policies endorse the domination of non-Christian people. Beginning with the First Crusade in 1095 AD, the Popes issued oral and written edicts, calling for Christians to participate in religious warfare against non-Christian nations,25 and soliciting contracts with Christian monarchs to conduct "Just War." Some of the major contracts were termed "Papal Bulls," which were a form of documentation reserved for the most important Church pronouncements.26 Generally, these contracts promoted three goals:  the  spread of Christian religion, spread  of  Christian political empire, and the conversion of non-Christian property and resources into commodities for Christian European markets. The contracting Monarch gained the exclusive right to exploit the resources and populations of non-Christian peoples who were successfully dominated; the Church secured the permanent right to place Christian clergy in the newly dominated territories for the purpose of civilizing (Christianizing) non-Christian peoples. The contracts did not recognize that non-Christian peoples have rights. In fact, the Pope clearly ordered his monarchs to destroy non- Christians who refused to submit peacefully to domination. In these contracts we can trace how Christianization, expansion of Christian empire, and conversion of non-Christian property into commodities for the economic markets of Christian nations were developed, refined, and used as tools of Christian domination throughout the centuries of crusading. As the crusades turned westward, the same tools and approaches were applied world-wide with  genocidal  ferocity during what chroniclers have termed the "Age of Discovery."

9          Because the Popes claimed to be the Earthly voice of the Christian God, the Pope was assumed to possess a measure of authority that was even greater than that of a monarch. When a Christian monarch made a contract with the Pope, the contract was considered by other Christian monarchs to be paramount to all other agreements. The Papal Bulls Dum Diversas and Romanus Pontifex are two such contracts that Portugal negotiated with Pope Nicholas V. Significantly, these two Bulls illustrate how the ideology of Christian domination is a common thread running through crusades against peoples of Islam and the search for exploitable resources that were previously outside of European Christian awareness. A third contract, the Inter-Caetera of 1493, was successfully negotiated by Spain. Inter-Caetera contained no warfare provision against Islamic nations, since Spain had already concluded a war with Islamic nations over Granada;  the Spanish contract was solely focused on Spanish claims to territories previously unclaimed by Christendom.27 However, the Pope stated explicitly that all the provisions contained in the Dum Diversas and Romanus Pontifex should be incorporated into the Spanish contract as well. This inclusion affirmed that warfare against non-Christian Indigenous Peoples was not confined to the crusades of Europe and Middle East. The Christian westward campaign of "discovery" was an intentional continuation of Christian crusading.28

10       Eye-witness accounts record how the Spanish under Christopher Columbus' supervision interacted with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas accompanied Columbus on the search for previously unidentified territories and recorded the degenerate behavior of the Spanish toward the Indigenous Peoples. De Las Casas refused to use "conquest" to describe Spanish actions, instead describing what he had witnessed as "assault", "massacre", "horrid crimes", "tyranny and cruelty", "inexpressible outrages", "inhumane and barbarous butcher" and "torments never before known or heard."29 De Las Casas describes what has come to be acknowledged as genocide: the systematic extermination of entire populations through violence,  enslavement, and domination.  Claiming the divine  right of the Pope, Spain justified these atrocities with the flimsy pretext that it had the responsibility to Christianize the world's non-Christian people. In truth, Christianization meant destabilizing and dominating free and independent peoples, and degrading their resources, property and persons into  "commodities" to increase the wealth of Christian monarchs and the Church. The tools of Christian domination continue to be actively applied in the present and are relevant to contemporary issues such as globalization, exploitation of Indigenous Peoples' resources, and the continued denial of Indigenous Peoples' human rights.

Christian natural law relies on Biblical principles to justify the genocide of Indigenous Peoples.

11       Although the Inter-Caetera of 1493 purported to give the Spanish absolute ownership of non-Christian lands, Spain sought an authority independent of the Pope's divine right to add weight to its claimed absolute right in these lands. Spain found that authority in Christian natural law as formulated by Dominican legal scholar Franciscus de Victoria.30 This approach held that the moral laws of the Christian God, the creator, were also the laws of nature. Thus, there could be no discrepancy between Christian law and natural law. Because of this, Christian law was a universal natural law that applied to Christians and non-Christians equally.31 In reality Christian natural law became a mechanism for justifying the destruction of Indigenous cultures and forcing Indigenous Peoples to conform to Christian norms.32 Under Christian natural law, monarchs concluded that they possessed a divine right - sovereignty - by reason of their exalted status as "rulers of men." The divine right of the king rendered the monarch (or sovereign) infallible.33 Because Christian monarchs embraced "Christian natural law" as the basis for policy and as the standard for their nations' jurisprudence, the extent to which Christian dogma justified and energized colonial aspirations cannot be overstated. 34 Victoria proposed three "natural law" theories that were similar to many of the elements found in the Spanish and Portuguese contracts with the Church. Like the Church contracts with Spain, these theories were based on the spread of the Christian religion, the conversion of Indigenous property to commodities for transferring wealth to the Christian monarchy and the Church, and the usurpation of Indigenous self- governance.

12       The religious domination proposal suggested that because Christians were commanded to preach the gospel, natural law gave Christian nations the right to enter non-Christian lands for the purpose of evangelizing and building facilities to aid in conversion efforts. Resistance to Christianization would be sufficient cause for the Christian discoverer to conduct "Just War," forcibly seizing non-Christian lands and replacing the existing non-Christian, Indigenous government with Christian rulers. This theory incorporates the Inter Caetera contract with Spain, which stated,

13       [Y]ou have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring them to the Catholic faith ... you purpose also, as is your duty, to lead the peoples dwelling in those islands and countries to embrace the   Christian religion  ... you should appoint to the aforesaid mainlands and islands worthy, God-fearing, learned, skilled, and experienced men, in order to instruct the  aforesaid inhabitants and residents in the Catholic faith and train them in good morals."35

14    When combined with Christian natural law, the effect was that non-Christians had no     right to reject Christian teaching or to deny evangelists access to their territories. To reject Christian proselytization was to choose warfare and destruction. The Spanish Requiremento of 1513 is an example of how the religious element of Christian natural law was applied. Carried by Spain's agents throughout North and South American continents to proclaim Spain's domination, the Requiremento stated:

15    Wherefore, as best we can, we ask and require you that you consider what we have said to you, and that you take the time that shall be necessary to understand and deliberate upon it, and that you acknowledge the Church as the ruler and superior of the whole world. But if you do not do this, and maliciously make delay in it, I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their highnesses; we shall take you, and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and  refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him: and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of  their highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us.36

16       Victoria's second Christian natural law proposal was a political justification for domination, suggesting that the seizure of non-Christian governments by the Christian monarch would benefit the non-Christian Indigenous Peoples, whom Victoria characterized as inherently less intelligent than the Christian Spanish. Victoria alleged that, because non-Christian Indigenous Peoples had no "proper law nor magistrates," and had community-oriented governmental structures that were unfamiliar to hierarchical monarchies, Indigenous Peoples were incompetent to govern themselves. 37 This argument supposes that since the law of Christianity and the law of nature are one, Christian government is inherently superior to the governments of non-Christian peoples and as such, is justified in usurping the governments of non-Christian, Indigenous Peoples.38 Victoria's proposal incorporated and updated the terms of Spain's agreement with Pope Alexander VI in which Spain ostensibly had the right to extend its authority and jurisdiction over all the peoples and lands it discovered.39 Victoria envisioned Spanish paternalism would achieve a dual purpose, serving as a source for protecting Spain's claim to non-Christian territories from interference by other nations Christian monarchs, while becoming a source of power for Spain's complete subjugation of the Indigenous Peoples that it claimed dominion over.

17       Victoria's third Christian natural law proposition concluded that Spain was justified in exploiting non-Christian peoples for economic purposes. This suggestion relied on the Good Samaritan parable from the New Testament to conclude that Indigenous Peoples violated Christian natural law if they prevented Christian nations from "engaging in trade."40 Victoria reasoned that since every man is the neighbor of every other man,41  and every man is obligated  to love his neighbor,42 non-Christian Indigenous Peoples were legally required by Christian natural law to love the Spanish and therefore obligated to cooperate with Spain's desire to increase its wealth. In Victoria's logic, denying Spain the resources it desired or interfering with Spain's profits violated Christian natural law, so Spanish Christians would be justified in waging war against the violating Indigenous Peoples and taking their property and persons.43 These ideas are an extension of those included in the Romanus Pontifex in which Pope Alexander VI instructed the Portuguese to:

18       make purchases and sales  of  any  things  and  goods  and  victuals whatsoever, as it shall seem fit, with any Saracens and infidels, in the  said regions; and also ... enter into any contracts, transact business, bargain, buy and negotiate, and carry any commodities whatsoever to the places of those Saracens and infidels.44

19       In a long succession of reprehensible acts of savagery the Christian Spanish evidenced very little of the Christian principles of brotherly love, kindness, and humility they purported to embrace. In reality, the violence that the Spanish visited upon Indigenous Peoples did not arise from Indigenous nations refusing to allow Christian exploitation of their resources. Instead, the inhumane practices of slavery and other dehumanizing treatment were used to instill fear into the minds of the people for the purpose of breaking down any idea of resistance and forcing them into slavery so that the Christian Spanish dominators could exploit natural resources and labor.45 As applied, Victoria's principle of commerce came to mean that Christians could freely take

whatever they wanted from non-Christian peoples.

20       Victoria's arguments were carefully formulated to disentangle Spain from dependence on the Church's largesse; however, Victoria relied on the same principles expressed in the Papal Bulls to incorrectly conclude that Christians were superior to the Indigenous Peoples that they chose to dominate.46 Soon other Christian European monarchs adopted Christian natural law to justify their own assaults on Indigenous Peoples.47 Institutionalizing Christian natural law into  the secular legal systems of Christendom established the foundation for international law and continues to define the racist relationship between modern political States and Indigenous Peoples.

The United States Supreme Court modernized Christian domination to serve colonial occupiers in Indigenous territories.

This framework of dominion and pogrom of econogenics runs precisely along the same lines of the fanatical “religio-political” ideology of empire that invaded this hemisphere in 1492 with the Doctrine of Discovery, then during the War on Mexico in 1846 rode into the O’odham Territories now known as Maricopa County on the war horse of the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny.48 -Tupac Enrique Acosta, Seventh Generation Fund Vice-Chairman

21       By the time the nations of Christendom began aggressively invading the Americas, the doctrine of Christian domination had been evolving for at least 500 years. Colonists sent by the Christian monarchs were given divine rights and privileges through corporate charters to establish settlements and exploit resources for the British trade monopoly.49 The marriage of money, religion, and empire was not accidental. At the core of colonization is the belief that wealth is sacrosanct;50 this fosters the idea that, as a political ideology, Christianity is a form of entitlement. To illustrate the depth of callousness that this fiction encourages, consider the following excerpts, written by wealthy English Puritan lawyer and Massachusetts Bay Colony founder John Winthrop. Winthrop called upon the popular principles of Christian natural law to justify the colonial policy of genocide in which smallpox-infected blankets were gifted to Indigenous Peoples deliberately to spread the deadly disease:51

22    God's hand hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space, the greatest part of them are swept away by the smallpox which still continues among them: so God hath thereby cleared our title to this place.52

23 If God were not pleased with our inheriting these parts, why did he drive out the natives before us? And why does he still make room for us, by diminishing them as we increase? ... If we had no right to this land, yet our God has a right to it, and if he be pleased to give it us (taking it from a people who had so long usurped upon him, and abused his Creatures) who shall control him or his terms?53

24       Winthrop encouraged serious belief in the fiction that the Christian colonists were the Chosen People - the Children of Israel - engaged in a holy war against the non-Christian Indigenous Peoples in the "new" Promised Land of Caanan to which they had a divine right.54 With the end of the Revolutionary War, the belief in the divine right of the United States to dominate and consume non-Christian Indigenous Peoples and their homelands  became the primary policy tool for nation-building, economic development and expansion. This idea of domination continues to be a cornerstone of national identity and the foundation upon which the United States asserts its claim of sovereignty.

A.        Religious justification used to force Christianization of Indigenous Peoples.

25       In the 1823 Johnson v. M'Intosh case, the United States Supreme Court made a formal declaration that Christian natural law was the basis for policies carried out by the Church, by secularized Christianity, and by religious sectarian colonial governments. 55 It is not a coincidence that Johnson v. M'Intosh repeats the three main themes of religious, political, and economic control upon which Church contracts and secular Christian natural law had relied.  To appreciate the sweeping implications of the M'Intosh decision, it is important to examine how the Court repurposed Medieval Christian domination to serve the expansionist goals of Christian settler States while giving the appearance that domination of Indigenous Peoples is a legitimate exercise of democratic government.

26       The M'Intosh decision explained that when the Revolutionary War between the United States and Great Britain ended, the treaty between these nations required the United States to agree unequivocally to "that principle which as been received as the foundation  of  all  [Christian] 56 title in America." 57 This means that the United States, as successor to Great Britain's claims in North America accepted the Christian foundation of it's land claims, including the genocidal principles of Christian domination that made the title system possible.58 Marshall's opinion describes the historical acts of Christian domination and the civilizing process (Christianization) as a legally binding transaction in which the nations of Christendom received absolute freedom to exert power over non-Christian nations in return for undertaking the mission of establishing the Christian religion and Christian civilization. Marshall wrote, "The potentates of the old world found no difficulty in convincing themselves that they made ample compensation to the inhabitants of the new, by bestowing on them civilization and Christianity, in exchange for unlimited independence."59

27       Restated, the Court categorically refused to overturn or even examine whether the United States' claim to ownership of Indigenous land was legitimate. A thorough analysis of the underlying British claim would have revealed that the policy of genocide, rooted in Christian natural law was entirely irrational and a violation of the lofty principles of democracy that the United States purported to hold inviolate. If the Court found Great Britain's claim invalid, then the United States' claim could not be valid. By refusing to do further analysis, the Court formally embraced the religious bias and racial inequities against Indigenous Peoples that the practices of Christian domination systematized.60 Manifested within the laws and policies the United States are Church and secular Christian natural law requirements to Christianize, or "civilize" Indigenous Peoples. The civilizing process was an aggressive attempt to supplant Indigenous Peoples' non-Christian religious beliefs with the beliefs of Christianity. This was accomplished by confining Indigenous Peoples in prison camps (reservations) and boarding schools that were operated by religious institutions for the purpose of re-education and conversion.

B.        Modern political justifications to usurp Indigenous Peoples' self-governance.

"By ignoring the cumulative impact of the intellectual rationalization, the cultural, historical, and legal practices, patterns, and policies that have resulted in the officializing of white supremacy across all of Arizona, the courts shield the issue of patterns of systemic profiling within the entire U.S. justice system."61

- Tupac Enrique Acosta, Vice Chair, Seventh Generation Fund Vice Chairman

28       In Johnson v. M'Intosh, the United States Supreme Court accepted Christian domination with full knowledge of its oppressive nature and its religious bias against Indigenous Peoples. Medieval theories of Christian domination evolved into the subtle forms of inequality that permeate modern institutions and remain ensconced, often invisible to casual observation. The M'Intosh decision repeated the 500-year-old justifications used to excuse genocide. First, the Court placed the blame on the victims for the forcible domination by Christian monarchs:

29 "Although we do not mean to engage in the defen[s]e of those principles  which Europeans have applied to Indian title, they may, we think, find some excuse, if not justification, in the character and habits of the people whose rights have been wrested from them."62

30 Next, the Court exaggerated the differences between Christian and non-Christian peoples, focusing on the "Indian savage" myth to persuade itself that "Just War" was the only solution available to Christian government to reduce the "dangers" Indigenous Peoples posed to society:

31  "But  the tribes of  Indians  inhabiting this  country were fierce savages,  whose occupation was war, and whose subsistence was drawn chiefly from the forest. To leave them in possession of their country, was to leave the country a wilderness; to govern them as a distinct people, was impossible, because they were as brave and as high spirited as they were fierce, and were ready to repel by arms every attempt on their independence."63

32       Using a risk-reduction argument enabled the Court to reach its desired conclusion: that Britain's policy of Christian domination was reasonable. While it should seem obvious that genocide is not at all reasonable, the Court did not address the reasonableness of genocide. It avoided this question by presuming that because the genocide of Indigenous Peoples was a long- standing practice embraced by Christendom, it was valid. The Court merely asked whether a Christian dominator acts reasonably when it "wrests" rights away from non-Christian peoples who resist Christian interference. What the M'Intosh opinion does not ask is whether it is reasonable to force Christian values on those who do not embrace the Christian religion; or whether religious bias is a legitimate basis for law-making; or whether it is reasonable to usurp the deeply rooted rights and governance systems of Indigenous Peoples merely because their systems of self-governance are different than the hierarchical government structures used by Christian nations. Had the Court addressed any of these other questions, it would have had great difficulty justifying Christian domination. But by severely limiting the scope of its analysis, the Court decided that it is reasonable to deprive non-Christian Indigenous Peoples of their inherent human rights. Following in the footsteps of the other nations of Christendom, the U.S. Supreme Court legitimized the use of Christian natural law and Church law as a basis for United States law and policy.

C.         Modern economic justification used to undermine Indigenous Peoples' property rights.

33       At issue in Johnson v. M'Intosh, was whether Indigenous nations retained the power to dispose of their land once the Christian nations claimed domination rights. Independent nations make their own decisions about the control and exchange of their territories and about how natural resources will be managed. However, the M'Intosh opinion undermined the sovereignty  of Indigenous nations with respect to the control of their territories.64  The Court's insistence that the property ownership rights of Indigenous Nations should be subject to the control of the Christian sovereign found its source in notions espoused by both the Church and Victoria.65 The M'Intosh opinion cites an example the Rhode Island charter which was issued by Christian British monarch Charles II in an attempt to establish a superior title to the area of Rhode Island. The Court viewed the charter as a valid title simply because the document claimed to be valid. Charles' charter clearly relied on the myth of Indigenous Peoples as inferior to justify his actions in making the grant.66

34       To reward the immigration of British Christians who left "their desirable stations and habitations, and with excessive labor and travel, hazard and charge [transplanting] themselves into the midst of the Indian natives" Charles encouraged the use of "lands, islands, rivers, harbors and roads, as are very convenient, both for plantations, and also for building of ships, supply of pipe-staves,  and  other  merchandize and  which  lies  very commodious,  in  many respects, for commerce,"67 including the constituent elements of the land along with the territory itself.68 Charles II viewed the profit gained from Indigenous Peoples' lands as reimbursement for the expense of Christianizing the Indigenous Peoples of North America; the M'Intosh opinion agreed that the United States' claim to the territories of Indigenous Peoples was justified since the  United States had assumed Britain's responsibility to Christianize the Indigenous Peoples of North America.

35       Indigenous Peoples are inherently sovereign. Yet, the Johnson v. M'Intosh justifications and excuses for Christian domination have been used worldwide to dispossess Indigenous Peoples, destroy their independence and sovereignty, and convert their territories into commodities to bring wealth to Christian dominators. Genocidal practices continue because a majority of the world's nations have never been held responsible for the institutions and practices that continue to rest on the claim that the irrational principles of Christian natural law and Medieval Church doctrine are legitimate. This research concludes that a genocide of epic proportions has been perpetrated upon the world's Indigenous Peoples for at least 500 years by those States which have applied and continue to apply the arbitrary, illogical, and dehumanizing Medieval principles of Christian domination.

Contemporary political policies are rooted in Papal and natural law theories of divine rights of sovereigns, cultural superiority and genocidal practices.

36       Christian domination is defined by an insatiable drive for wealth disguised as a global mission to Christianize peoples who are considered "inferior" because their lifeways do not follow the Christian concept of "civilization." Civilization is defined as Christianization. By that definition, any peoples who are non-Christian are uncivilized. The act of defining non-Christian Indigenous Peoples as uncivilized is an exercise of power, rooted in the assumed divine right of the Pope, the king, the State, and the corporation, which is statutorily created by political entity alleging a divine right.

A.         The United States claims a divine right to meddle in the affairs of independent States of Abya Yala

37       In 1823, U.S. President James Monroe warned the other members of the Family of Nations to end their efforts to dominate the Western Hemisphere.69 This U.S. foreign policy, known as the Monroe Doctrine, stated that further colonization efforts would be viewed as acts of aggression by the United States, and would require U.S. intervention. Monroe was aware that the purpose of colonization was domination, and although his stated purpose was to defend the newly independent, former Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Americas, this was not purely an act of altruism. The political purpose of the Monroe Doctrine was to assert the United States' claim that it was fully equal with the other Christian nations of Europe. By stating its willingness to back up the Monroe Doctrine with military force, the United States claimed that it, too held a divine right: the Divine Right of the State and that this right was equal to the divine right claimed by other sovereigns. The Monroe Doctrine was announced approximately thirteen years after the period when Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America began claiming independence.  The United States feared another round of colonial conquest to the south, which could potentially jeopardize U.S. territorial claims west of the Mississippi, making them vulnerable to invasion  and colonization by European States. Further, the potential for recolonization of independent nations to the south could interfere with the U.S. goal to dominate resources and trade in the Western Hemisphere. Within thirty years of the Monroe Doctrine's announcement, the meddling of the United States in South America was overt. Prior to 1900 the United States was responsible for building a railroad in Panama (1855), supplying arms to the Mexican government in its war against France (1863), supplying troops to Nicaragua (1894) which eventually became a de facto U.S. colony (1899), and claiming Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Eastern Hemisphere nation of the Philippines after defeating Spain in a war (1898).

38       In 1905 United States President Theodore Roosevelt announced what has become known as the "Roosevelt Corollary."70 In this speech Roosevelt used the "just war" argument to defend his position that the United States had a patriarchal responsibility as a "civilized" and "enlightened" state to ensure that its neighbors would "progress in stable and just civilization," prosper from their "natural riches," and be responsible for making good use of their freedom. As long as the Latin American countries followed Roosevelt's definition of "stable, orderly, and prosperous" the United States would not be forced to use military intervention to influence their affairs.71 The Roosevelt Corollary employed the same justifications upon which both the Roman Catholic Popes and Victoria had relied as grounds for human rights violations. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt replaced the Theodore Roosevelt policy toward Central and South American States with his own version: the Good Neighbor Policy. This policy stated that the United States would no longer use military intervention to influence the affairs of Latin America.72 However, United States military intervention in Latin American continued, as did the exploitation of resources and the political dominating process. Starting in 1900 at least 65 major U.S. interferences became public knowledge over the course of 115 years, for an average of one event occurring every 21 months between 1900 and 2015. 73 It is not an exaggeration to characterize the U.S. involvement in Latin America as a continuous effort to exercise domination. When categorized using the legal theories embraced by the Papacy and Victoria, it becomes obvious that the foreign policy of the United States is rooted in the same divine right ideology asserted by the Pope and by the monarchs.

B.        The Divine Right of Corporations: Hunger for Profit Fuels Ongoing Genocide

39       Recall that the first British colonies in North America were corporations. Corporations are a very old form of conducting trade with roots in the Roman empire.  Corporations, called publicani, were awarded contracts and eventually publicani evolved into permanent forms of conducting business and investing for the purpose of making profit. Because publicani were politically connected and very influential, they were lucrative. The publicani system was filled with scandal and operated as an agency of the government, extending credit, collecting taxes and enslaving those who were unable to make the payments demanded. These early Roman corporations operated with little or no legal boundaries under the blessing of the Roman State, in spite of their abuse and oppression of the Roman population. 74 The Roman concept of corporations became part of Christian Church law and also part of the secular law of Christian monarchies. 75 Starting as early as 1492 with Columbus, Christian monarchs began issuing charters, which delegated rights and powers based on the sovereign's alleged divine right, to enterprising   businessmen for the purpose of conducting trade and establishing local governments. Corporate charters gave the grantee entrepreneur the absolute right to carry on business: They gave a divine right to corporations.76  To deny the holder of a corporate charter  the right to do business was to violate the monarch's divine right to make the decree. The colonization of Abya Yala was conducted under the authority of corporate charters, making the domination of Indigenous Peoples a business enterprise. Corporations conducted the profitable slave trade, the exploited Indigenous resources, and ruthlessly applied the divine right to profit to achieve ethnic cleansing. Because corporations operated under divine grants of power, they were immune to most laws except those that the monarch or the monarch's court placed on them. Civil corporations, the founders of colonial governments made the law: they were sovereigns.

40       Business corporations and religious missions form the foundation of the Christian political system known as the United States. It should be little surprise that U.S. policy serves business corporations, both domestically and internationally, and that contemporary business corporations operate under laws that are crafted by them to favor profit-making and resource extraction.77 Profit, which has always been the purpose of colonial trade, continues to drive the exploitation of Indigenous lands and the extermination of Indigenous Peoples. The current globalization of trade in the form of water, mineral, timber, and land privatization converts the homelands of Indigenous Peoples into corporate property that is used to fuel distant markets and convert the communal property of Indigenous Peoples into commodities for international sale, barter and trade. Global corporations operate with the blessing of multiple States and make their own  private  laws  that  they  enforce  on  helpless  local  populations.  This  private law-making practice violates fundamental human rights and is no less genocidal than the colonial activities of the Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, Dutch, and Russian dominators acting under the Christian Doctrine of Discovery. The genocidal practices of domination and oppression of Indigenous Peoples continues unabated today, drawing authority from Medieval Christian doctrines that have evolved for over a century. The descriptive terminology may have changed slightly to emphasize economic rather than religious purposes, but the underlying practices spring from a common source.

Conclusions and recommendations

41       When the facts and data are laid out, it is difficult to deny the obvious: that individual States and the international community have used the Medieval Christian principles of  superiority contained in the Doctrine of Discovery to engage in a thousand-year genocide against Indigenous Peoples. Although the Doctrine of Discovery is the foundation of contemporary international law as well as the domestic law of United Nations member States, human rights violations and practices of domination are considered a "normal" form of relationship with Indigenous Peoples. A rational analysis of the facts clearly shows that the marriage of wealth, power, and religious fervor that spawned the Medieval Doctrine of Discovery continues to live transparently behind the individual and national acts of privilege. It is time to acknowledge and dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Urging international States and private organizations to examine the Medieval religious biases that give rise to inequities and irrational practices of domination in domestic and international policies.

42       First, recognizing that the inherent sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples is irrevocable, permanent  and  immune to  revocation by other  entities,  it  is  imperative that the nations of the world acknowledge that the Medieval Doctrine of Discovery has been become a systematic form of genocide that continues to interfere with Indigenous Peoples' exercise of sovereignty without their free, prior, and informed consent.

42       Second, observing that all peoples originated from tribal peoples and thus the principles of Christian domination have been employed worldwide for many centuries to accomplish the extermination of cultural, religious, and social diversity existing States are encouraged to examine their individual roles in the genocide of non-Christian peoples and particularly Indigenous Peoples. This should include analyzing the entwinement of religious bias with domestic and international policy and undertaking revisions of the laws that enforce creation of an inferior class of humanity based on religious belief. These revisions to policies and laws should be inclusive of the rights of Indigenous Peoples rights as written in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

43       Third, recalling that the principles of Christian domination, known as the Doctrine of Discovery, originated with the Medieval Roman Catholic Church's rhetoric that launched the crusades and "just war" on non-Christian peoples, the Roman Catholic Church through the Pope is called upon to expressly and unequivocally denounce the policies of Christian domination as ethnically biased, morally unjust, spiritually corrupt, legally irrational, and destructive to the brotherhood and survival of humankind. This pronouncement should emphasize the need of political states to engage with Indigenous Peoples to dismantle the reprehensible systematic human rights violations that are rooted in the Doctrine of Discovery.

44       Fourth, encouraging renewal and recovery of relationships between human and non- human beings for the purpose of restoring balance and well-being to all creatures, the human population is urged to continue and increase international and domestic dialog about the roots, purposes, causes and damages that the principles of Christian domination have caused to the planet and all peoples. This dialogue should include a serious effort to identify potential remedies and healing processes necessary for existing and future generations of Indigenous Peoples and human beings to fully realize their inherent rights and fundamental liberties as free, independent, self-governing peoples and nations.

1 The term "Western Hemisphere" is an uncomfortable term for this discussion. It is used to refer to the continents of North and South America, which is named Aba Yala, Turtle Island, and many other names by the Indigenous Peoples whose homelands cover these vast land masses.  The idea of a "Western Hemisphere" originated with Thomas Jefferson's political position that "America has (not is but has) a hemisphere of its own, and that the unity of its peoples extended to all their 'modes of existence.'" Quoting Arthur P. Whitaker, "The Origin of the Western Hemisphere Idea," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 323-326 323, 98:5 (Oct. 15, 1954). Available on JSTOR, go to then search for "Whitaker origin of the western hemisphere idea." The idea that the continents of North and South America were entirely separate from Europe and congruous with the United States was both at once an assertion of United States' superiority and its claim to have domination rights over the Americas, senior to all other nations and peoples.
2 International debates and discussion about the rights of Indigenous Peoples have been on-going at least since the Medieval Christian monarchs of Europe cooperated with the Roman Catholic Church to conduct religious crusades against the Indigenous Peoples of Africa and the Middle East. See Dana Carleton Munroe. "The Speech of Pope
Urban II at Clermont, 1095" American Historical Review (Reprint) XI:2 (Jan. 1906). Available at Library of Congress Internet Archive. In 1452, 1454 and 1492 Roman Catholic Popes explicitly contracted for, purported to authorize and far exceeded their authority to approve a series of acts of dominance in which Christian monarchs were engaged to subdue, dominate, and control non- Christian (pagan) nations and peoples. In 1492, Christopher Columbus, acting on a contract between Spain and the Roman Catholic Church, undertook his infamous project to "discover" and subject non-Christian lands and peoples to forcible exploitation by Spain and the Church. Up until this time, the dialogue surrounding Indigenous Peoples was primarily focused on the rights of the monarch and the Church to profit from the "spoils" of conquest. Although post-1492 some Christian Europeans disagreed with the notion that Indigenous Peoples had no rights, even those who asserted the rights of Indigenous Peoples assumed that it was up to Christendom to define the scope of Indigenous Peoples rights. Indigenous Peoples themselves were not only excluded from the debate, they had no knowledge that other nations were in the process of defining, and limiting the scope of the rights they had always exercised. Purporting to be superior, Medieval Christians claimed the absolute right to determine the extent to which Indigenous Peoples' rights would be acknowledged, if at all. It was not until 1977 that Indigenous leaders were permitted to enter the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva to speak on their own behalf, and the first draft of a declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples was proposed. Thirty years later in 2007, the final Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly. See NCIV, "Indigenous Peoples First time to UN in Geneva by Oren Lyons" (May 27, 2010); Robert T. Coulter, "Commentary on the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," Cultural Survival, "A Wave of Change: The United Nations and       Indigenous Peoples" 18.1) (Spring 1994)  states/commentary-un-draft- declaration-rights-indige
3 Tonya Gonnella Frichner, "Impact on Indigenous Peoples of the International Legal construct known as the Doctrine of Discovery, which has served as the Foundation of the Violation of their Human Rights," United Nations, Economic and Social Council, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 1 E/C.19/2010/13 (Feb. 3, 2010). Available in six languages at
4 Id.
5 Haudenosaunee, American Indian Law Alliance, and Indigenous Law Institute of North America, "Conference Room Paper on the Doctrine of Discovery," UNPFII 11th Sess., U.N. Doc. E/C.19/2012/CRP.2 (Apr. 25, 2012). (Hereinafter "2012 Conference Room Paper").
6 The theme of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues' Eleventh Session (2012) was “The Doctrine of Discovery: Its continuing impacts on Indigenous Peoples and Redress for Past Conquests (articles 28 and 37 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).” (Abstract)
During that Session, the Haudenosaunee, the American Indian Law Alliance, and the Indigenous Law Institute of North America presented a paper which expanded upon “The Framework of Dominance” discussed in a preliminary study on the Doctrine of Discovery titled "Impact on Indigenous Peoples of the International Legal Construct known as the Doctrine of Discovery, which has served as the Foundation of the Violation of their Human Rights". This paper called upon the UNPFII to:
1.         Examine the underlying assumptions that it is permissible for Indigenous nations and peoples, and particularly women, to be searched out for the purpose of domination and dehumanization.
2.         Recognize that the destructive effects of domination and dehumanization continue to be global in scope.
3.         Acknowledge that use of the term "past conquests" works to confirm that act of domination by European Christian sovereigns were legitimate.
4.         Encourage the UNPFII to rethink its use of colonizing legal doctrine rather than accepting pre-defined legal terminology without considering the implications of the term in use.
5.         Call upon nations to identify and explain a legitimate basis for subjecting Indigenous Peoples, against their will, to archaic Christian European standards of domination.
6.         Authorize an international study on the effects of the international construct known as the "Doctrine of Discovery" upon the health, physical, psychological, social, wellbeing, human and collective rights, lands, resources, medicines, titles to such lands, resources, medicines, to be submitted to the UNPFII in 2014 as an addendum to the UN Year of Indigenous Peoples.
7 Grand Chief Edward John, "Study on the impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery on indigenous peoples, including mechanisms, processes and instruments of redress" E/C.19/2014/3  (Feb 20, 2014).
8 Dana Carleton Munroe. "The Speech of Pope Urban II at Clermont, 1095" American Historical Review (Reprint) XI:2 (Jan. 1906). Available at Library of Congress Internet Archive.
Pope Urban II's Speech at Clermont in 1095 was an exhortation to Christians to take up arms and fight against the Muslims, whom the Pope characterized as enemies of the Church. Although accounts of Urban's speech were recorded as historical rather than verbatim accounts, the general content of the speech contains rudimentary elements of later Popes' agreements with Portugal and Spain to exploit and enslave other Indigenous peoples worldwide.
9 Tupac Enrique Acosta, "The American Dream and the Nightmare of Manifest Destiny," on mexmigration: History and Politics of Mexican Immigration, Devon G. Peña, ed.
10 The definition of genocide varies depending on who is doing the defining. Inconsistent definitions fuel those who would deny genocide by claiming that the brutalities suffered by a group are not severe enough to meet a narrow definition. Denial of genocide deprives survivors of the right to heal. This paper defines "genocide" as it was originally defined in 1944, when the term first came into use, to describe the killing of Jews by the Nazis. "Genocide" is derived from Greek genos "race, kind" (see genus) + -cide and literally means "killing a tribe." See Raphael Lemkin, "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe" (1943).
Lemkin wrote, "Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups."
In 1945, Lemkin encouraged the United Nations to recognize genocide as an international crime. He urged, "The crime of genocide should be recognized therein as a conspiracy to exterminate national, religious or racial groups. The overt acts of such a conspiracy may consist of attacks against life, liberty or property of members of such groups merely because of their affiliation with such groups. The formulation of the crime may be as follows:
"Whoever, while participating in a conspiracy to destroy a national, racial or religious group, undertakes an attack against life, liberty or property of members of such groups is guilty of the crime of genocide."
11  2012 Conference Room Paper.
12 Inter alia Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
13 Caecilie Mikkelsen, ed. "Indigenous World, 2012" (May 2012). New Zealand has the highest percentage of Indigenous Peoples, numbering 17% of the overall population, Id., 224; Indigenous Peoples in Canada account for only 3.6% of the total population, Id., 50; Indigenous Peoples in Australia are comprise only 2.5% of the population, Id., 216, and Indigenous Peoples in the United States constitute 1.7% of the population, "The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010" 2010 Census Briefs 3 (Jan. 2012). In China, ethnic minority groups make up less than 9% of the population but are believed to account for 40 percent of the nation's extremely poor. "Statistics and key facts        about  indigenous peoples" IFAD    "Rural Poverty           Portal." Of these small percentages, each of these States report that the poverty and incarceration rates of Indigenous Peoples is far greater than for non-Indigenous Peoples. For example, the Australian government reports that Indigenous women are 23 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous women, and Indigenous men are 16 times more likely to be imprisoned than non- Indigenous men. Poverty tends to mirror the disproportionality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples while the level of academic attainment of Indigenous Peoples tends to be disproportionately inverse to that of non- Indigenous Peoples. "Indigenous World."
14 "Statistics and key facts about indigenous peoples" International Fund for Agricultural Development "Rural Poverty Portal."
For example, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) reports that in Thailand, "more than 40% of indigenous girls and women who migrate to cities work in the sex trade, and the majority of females trafficked across state borders in south-east Asia are from indigenous communities."
15 Indigenous children experience lower vaccination rates, school enrollment rates, and higher mortality rates, school drop-out rates, violence and exploitation rates, and less participation in decision-making that affects them. Because of the long history of cultural oppression, the youth are deprived of their rights to know and practice their  traditions
and the responsibilities that they must know to carry on as Indigenous Peoples. "Indigenous children face greater threats to survival" United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) (Feb. 25, 2004)
16 Homes and property are disproportionately contaminated with discharged industrial toxins and pollutants.
17 This typically occurs when colonial Christian governments approve activities that limit or deny Indigenous Peoples' ability to control their resources and stabilize their economies. The right to land and natural resources is a predominant issue for Indigenous Peoples' self-determination, "Indigenous World" 16, and States are bound to protect Indigenous Peoples' lands and resources under Article 26 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Yet, purporting authority over them, these governments engage in removal of valuable resources from their lands while disposing of hazardous, toxic, and nuclear wastes in or near their communities, effectively using Indigenous Peoples' territories as a dumping ground.
18 For instance, when governments approve the conduct of public and private projects in Indigenous Peoples' traditional sacred places of worship and burial sites and traditional community gathering places, cultural artifacts and property are destroyed or taken by private individuals, research institutions, and corporations. By approving these activities, States continue to undermine Indigenous Peoples' right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural and spiritual heritage. Compare this to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Articles 11, 12, 24, 25, 26, 29, 31, 32.
19 Governments that forcibly exert paternalistic control over "domesticated" Indigenous Peoples do not provide adequate avenues for Indigenous Peoples' forms of justice in their own systems, yet these same governments deny responsibility for their part in continued human rights violations. Internationally, the global community of States pay lip service to Indigenous Peoples' inherent right to live free and independent as self-determining, sovereign nations; in reality, Indigenous Peoples continue to be denied equal access to international law-making bodies.
20 "Indigenous World," 16.
21 For example, according to IFAD over 100 pharmaceutical companies have funded studies of indigenous plant knowledge and specific plants used by native healers. "Statistics and key facts about indigenous peoples" IFAD “Rural Poverty Portal”
Compare to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 24.
22 "Indigenous World,"13. Frequently States make unilateral decisions to permit public and private exploitation of Indigenous Peoples' resources and territories without  receiving  free, prior, and informed consent from the Indigenous Peoples who will be impacted. Compare to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Articles 18, 19.
23 James Anaya, "Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples" Addendum: The situation of indigenous peoples in the United States of America. A/HRC/21/47/Add.1, p.11, ¶ 40. (Aug. 30, 2012).
24 "Indigenous World," 14-15.
25 The characterization of Indigenous peoples as "non-Christians" and "enemies of Christ" evidences a psychology of polarization and establishes a hierarchy of domination in which Christians are encouraged to perceive themselves as superior to non-Christians and thus entitled to claim the possessions of non-Christians. It encourages the false assumption that there is a natural divide between those who have been baptized into the Christian religion and those who have not been. By the Pope claiming to be the "earthly father" of the world, with an obligation to ensure the "health of souls" and conversion of all peoples to Christianity, this doctrinal philosophy establishes a male- dominated patriarchy, which is contrary to many matriarchal Indigenous cultures. In keeping with his self- proclaimed position as the "earthly father" of the world, the Pope claimed for himself the right to recognize secular governments and was generous with rewarding his "children," particularly those monarchs whose zealotry brought more lands under the Church's domination. The rewards, in the form of exclusive, absolute rights to exploit lands, resources, and human beings form the basis for the doctrine of Christian domination. Vestiges of these Papal presumptions can be seen today in domestic relationships between the government and the governed, in laws governing the international relationships between modern States, and even in interactions between individuals. See Haudenosaunee, American Indian Law Alliance, and Indigenous Law Institute of North America, Conference Room Paper on the Doctrine of Discovery, para. 6, 14 UNPFII 11th Sess., U.N. Doc. E/C.19/2012/CRP.2 (25 April 2012). Located at: (Hereinafter referred to as "Haudenosaunee/ALIA/ILINA Paper"); Steven T. Newcomb, PAGANS IN THE PROMISED LAND: DECODING THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY xxii-xxiii (2008);) ; Pope Nicholas V, Dum Diversas (June 8, 1452); Pope Nicholas V, Romanus Pontifex (Jan 8, 1454); Pope Alexander VI, Papal Bull Inter Caetera (4 May 1493).
26 The Papal Bulls were agreements, or legal contracts, between the Church and Christian monarchs that were made for the purpose of spreading the Christian religion, expanding the domination of Christian empire to nations which did not follow the Christian ideas of governance, and also for converting the property, resources, and populations of non-Christian nations into commodities to increase the wealth of Christian empires and the Catholic Church. Papal Bulls could only claim the legal authority that Christian Monarchs agreed to recognize. However, the Bulls were enforced under threat of excommunication which, if carried out, would have resulted in a war between Christian nations and the offending, excommunicated nation, so violating a church contract was not a minor action.
27 Inter-Caetera. Pope Alexander VI expressly stated that every element found in the Portuguese contracts should be considered part of the Spanish contracts. The Spanish contract basically restated the provisions of the Portuguese contract without including specific references to Islamic peoples.
28   David  E.  Stannard,  AMERICAN  HOLOCAUST:  CONQUEST  OF  THE   NEW  WORLD   177,  192-193,  195    (1993); Haudenosaunee, American Indian Law Alliance, and Indigenous Law Institute of North America, Conference Room Paper on the Doctrine of Discovery, para. 6, 14 UNPFII 11th Sess., U.N. Doc. E/C.19/2012/CRP.2 (25 April 2012). Located at: (Hereinafter referred to as "Haudenosaunee/ALIA/ILINA Paper").
The practices of Christian domination are irrational, genocidal and systematic, relying on brutality to force non-Christian Indigenous Peoples to compensate the dominators for doing the Church's work. The Requiremento, a pronouncement of Spanish law, is an example of how the Spanish viewed their relationship with the non-Christian Indigenous Peoples. The Christian Spanish monarch required explorers to conduct a ceremonial reading of the document (in Spanish) upon coming into contact with non-Christian, non-Spanish speaking peoples. The pronouncement contained a recitation of Spain's contained in its contracts with the Church, and a list of responsibilities and infringements of rights of the non-Christian peoples that would occur so that Spain could exercise its contractual rights. First, the Spanish Christian monarch claimed the right to subjugate the non-Christians and possess their lands and territories, and if they refused to cooperate the Christians could conduct war, enslave them, take their property, and "do as much damage as possible" without liability. Second, non-Christian Indigenous Peoples were required to acknowledge superiority of Church over them and to cooperate in their forced subjugation to Church and king. If they refused to cooperate with the Christian agents of the monarch, they would be considered enemies of the Church and Spain. The result would be a "just war" in which the Spanish had the right to do "as much damage as possible" and repudiate all liability, holding their non-Christian victims responsible for bringing destruction on themselves.
29 See, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Popery Truly Display'd in its Bloody Colors (translated, 1689) Located at Early English Books Online (EEOB). Sadly, the acts witnessed by de Las Casas were not unique. The behavior of the Spanish toward non-Christian Indigenous Peoples took on the quality of a gruesome gladiator sport as the spread of Christianity came to symbolize tyranny and extermination.
30 Victoria is generally acknowledged as the "father" of international law because his legal theories established the fundamental principles of modern international law.
31 Black's Law Dictionary defines natural law as "A philosophical system of legal and moral principles purportedly deriving from a universalized conception of human nature or divine justice rather than from legislative or judicial action; moral law embodied in principles of right and wrong. Since a "universalized conception of human nature or divine justice" is a question of perspective (ie, which concepts are "universal"? Does a dominant minority concentrated in a small geographic area constitute "universal"? Whose definition of "human" is employed to determine which group will be used to define human nature? Which divinity is determines "divine justice"? Who defines "moral law"?) What is considered natural law differs between cultures. Hence, natural law is only "universal" within a culture and therefore it is inherently relative to all other cultures. The claim that Christian natural law is "universal" is an ethnocentric claim that Christian society, which is often referred to as "civilization," is superior to all other societies and cultures.
32 Christian natural law principles, derived from the Christian concept of "nature and nature's God" include the following concepts:
A.         The fundamental nature of human beings
The natural state of human beings is sinful because the original sin of the "first" humans was transferred to all their offspring. This resulted in a diminished state of existence, which affected natural "man's" intelligence and desires. The natural man was considered a natural slave, characterized by sloth, immorality, violence, lower intellect than their Christians, and just a step above beasts. Since natural man had a soul, it was only through Christianity that s/he could be brought into a higher level of living that was more pleasing to the Christian deity. (Derived from teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, Augustine and Aristotle). See generally Anne M. deLong, "Disrupting the Discourse of Conquest: The Suppression of Sepúlveda" Available at Lehigh University Library Services,; John Langan, The Elements of St. Augustine's Just War Theory, The Journal of Religious Ethics [12, 1] 19-38 (Spring, 1984) Available at JStor
B.         The creator's purpose for the earth
Although the supreme creator gave the Earth to human beings to hold in common, he meant for the land to be improved. Therefore, those who are willing to be industrious gain a natural right of ownership which is superior to others who continue to use the Earth in common with others. See Anderson, 24-25, quoting John Locke, Second Treatise on Government, Ch. 5, § 32, 34 & 41 (1690).
C.         A paternalistic form of government is good and necessary
The absence of agriculture, trade, commerce, economic development, time-keeping, and cultural achievements such as science, art, engineering, and literature is evidence that the natural state of humans is one of sloth. Therefore, a sovereign authority is necessary to motivate humans to achieve a "higher" level of living, and that is the role of Christian government. Anderson, 21, quoting Franciscus de Victoria, De Indis et de Ivre Belli Relectiones 151-157 (Ernest Nys ed.) (J. Bate trans., Carnegie Institution 1917) (orig. ed. 1557).
D.         Christian duty to "convert" the world to their religious beliefs
According to the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan, Christians are the natural neighbors of everyone, therefore, unless they are causing harm, non-Christian Indigenous Peoples cannot refuse admission to  their territories. (text p. 20). Christians, under this version of natural law, also have a natural right to preach the gospel to non-Christians, since this was commanded by God. Anderson, 20 quoting Victoria.
E.         Just war
If non-Christians attempt to prevent the free preaching of the Gospel, they deny the natural law rights of Christians, since it is the duty of Christians to save souls of non-Christians. If non-Christian peoples cannot be persuaded to accept Christianity, just war may be waged, the peoples may be enslaved, and their property may be confiscated. Anderson, 20 quoting Victoria. Just war had many proponents including St. Augustine. See Langan, Elements of St. Augustine's Just War Theory.
F.         Religion as Secular Law
When Christianity is incorporated into a nation's legal system, Christian principles are said to be "secularized" because they become part of the civil law system. Thus, a secular legal system can be based wholly on religious principles, and as a result establish religious principles as the basis for law, but because the authority to invoke the law comes from the government and not the Church, the law is considered "secular" or "civil" law and not "religious" law. "Secular" law does not mean that religion is no longer being embraced by the state. Rather, in this case it means that the principles of the Christian religion have been systematically adopted as the legal basis for the laws. In essence, the monarchies rationalized a way to legitimate the use of Christian religious law without directly relying on the Pope as the authority. As an example of how the United States continues to rely on Christian principles in its "secularized" legal system see Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, (1823), upon which rests the government's claims to Indigenous property land within its political borders.
G.         Civilization
Natural law is an exposition on how Christians expected the world to be ordered, and describes the concept of "civilization," and how Christian principles would be forced on the non-Christian world. Hence, when Christian nations proclaimed that it was their duty to "civilize" the "heathens," that terminology was a short-hand way of expressing their intent to force non-Christians to abandon their traditional customs and live according to Christian religious principles.
The Papal edicts and the concepts of Christian natural law formed the Medieval understanding of the Doctrine of Christian Domination, aka the Doctrine of Discovery, during the Age of Discovery. Christian Natural Law subsumed the principals of superiority employed for centuries by the Popes to justify domination by the church. The same principles were the basis for secular law and became the foundation of the Law of Nations. Using the precedential doctrine established by the Church secured the "first discoveries" of Christendom from infringement by any nations that were within the "family of nations" regardless of whether they acknowledged the exalted position claimed by the Pope, because they all agreed to be bound by "secular" law that institutionalized their shared  religious dogma that alleged Christian nations had inherent superiority.
33 Charlemagne, Constantine, and other monarchs have been credited with popularizing the notion that kings have a divine right of rulership that makes the sovereign infallible. The notion is an old one. Victoria's principles of Christian natural law gave a new twist to an old concept .
34 Robert T. Anderson, et al. "American Indian Law, Cases and Commentary," 16 and 21-22 notes 1, 2 (West 2d ed. 2010). The first Christian peoples who arrived from Britain did not make a distinction between wealth and religion. They literally carried written corporate charters from the King and the Bible that they viewed as written religious
law of their God. The fusion of wealth and religion was not accidental: The idea that wealth is sacred is a fundamental tenet of the religion they practiced, and one that required the religion be portable so it could be used to support exploitation of global resources.
35 Inter Caetera.
36 El Requiremento, 1513.
37 Anderson at 21, quoting Franciscus de Victoria.
38 Id.
39 [S]hould any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, [we] give, grant, and assign to you    and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south ... we make, appoint, and depute you and your said heirs and successors lords of them with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind. Inter Caetera.
40 Anderson at 21, quoting Franciscus de Victoria.
41 Id., Based on teachings of St. Augustine.
42 Id., Based on teachings of Christ recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.
43 Id.
44 Quoted from Romanus Pontifex, which is the Church contract with the Portuguese. Similar contracts had been made before and after the Romanus Pontifex, and it was understood that the right to carry on trade for financial gain was a primary provision. Therefore, although not unequivocally expressed in each contract, the trade provision was implied by the language. The Spanish later obtained an addendum to their contract Inter Caetera which expressly stated that all the rights and benefits enjoyed by the Portuguese also applied to the Spanish. See Pope Alexander VI, Eximiae Devotionis, 3 May 1493 (
45 See generally Bartholomé de Las Casas first-hand accounts of Spanish brutalities in the Americas, described in Popery Truly Display'd in its Bloody Colors, translated 1689. Available at Early English Books Online. (
46 Wagner, Henry Raup; Parish, Helen Rand (1967). The Life and Writings of Bartolomé de Las Casas. University  of New Mexico Press.
Although the Spanish engaged in widespread destruction of Indigenous Peoples, the voices of detractors were raised against the dehumanizing theories and practices. These Christian-based legal doctrines on war, land, and intelligence were controversial in their day, as they are today. For example, Victoria’s contemporary Bartolomé de Las Casas argued in two treatises on the "Just Title" that the only legality with which the Spaniards could claim titles over realms in the New World was through peaceful proselytizing, not through cruel policies and violent colonization. Public debates were also held on the legal status of Indigenous Peoples in 1550 shortly after Victoria made his recommendations to the Spanish King. In the public Valladolid debate of 1550, Bartolomé de Las Casas argued that Indians of the New World were full humans, while Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda argued that they were subhuman and required Spanish (Christian) masters to become civilized.
47 Laws made by governments are referred to as "secular law". As used in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the term "secular" had a different definition than it does in the twenty-first century. In modern English "secular" means devoid of religious or spiritual basis. However, as used in the Late Medieval and Early Modern eras, "secular" was defined as those things relating to temporal, or worldly matters. Even though a system of government might adopt wholly religious laws, the State controlled the worldly affairs of its citizens so the body of governmental law was considered temporal, or "secular" even if religious belief was inextricably entwined in every law and policy. Victoria's Christian natural law principles that were adopted into the Spanish legal system contained the biases, assumptions, and superstitions about non-Christian peoples that had become part of the Christian belief system through the centuries of Medieval-era inquisitions and crusades.
48 Tupac Enrique Acosta, "The American Dream and the Nightmare of Manifest Destiny", on mexmigration: History and Politics of Mexican Immigration, Devon G. Peña, ed.
49 For example, see Rhode Island Royal Charter (1663); First Charter of Virginia (1606); The Massachusetts Historical Society, Francis Kirby to John Winthrop, (Dec. 1631) in III Winthrop Papers, 55-56 (Massachusetts Historical Society 1943).
50 The colonists who established their corporate settlement in the area of what is now Boston, Massachusetts maintained that the Old Testament Abrahamic prophecies and promises which were the legacy of the Jewish people- the "Chosen People" - were transferred to Christians who, because of their service to the Christian god, gained the privileges reserved for the "Children of God." Upon landing in North America, the colonists allegorically saw themselves as having reached Caanan - the promised land - and as a result, they viewed the Indigenous Peoples as the "Cannanites" whose destruction God had commanded, and themselves as the historical Children of Israel, charged with slaughtering the peoples of the land and claiming the wealth for their supreme being. The colonists reenacted the Old Testament conquest with frightening religious fervor and justify their murderous behavior by creating colonial laws and policy based on their religious beliefs. Gail Forsythe-Vail, A story of Joshua, Jericho, and Massachusetts, presented at Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery International Conference at Arizona State University West (Apr. 20, 2013).
51 The method in which they accomplished their purpose was genocidal in its magnitude and ingenious in its execution. Infamous is the account of Christians gifting disease-laden blankets to deliberately spread infections. Between 80 and 96 percent of Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas were destroyed by European diseases. Anderson, et al., American Indian Law, Cases and Commentary, 27-28 (Apr 2010). Smallpox took the heaviest toll and cause the greatest suffering, but other methods of extermination were equally shocking. Official written accounts praise the acts of burning villages of undefended women, children and elders while they slept in their homes; food caches and ripening crops were systematically destroyed to ensure that those who remained would suffer starvation during the sparse winters. The primary purpose was to eliminate the Indigenous Peoples of the "Promised Land" to make exploitation of their property cheaper and easier.
52 Anderson, 28. John Winthrop to Sir Simonds Dewes (June 21, 1634) in III Winthrop Papers 171-172 (Massachusetts Historical Society 1943). (Quote translated to modern English).
53 Id., quoting John Winthrop letter to John Endecott (January 3, 1634) in III Winthrop Papers 149 (Massachusetts Historical Society 1943). (Quote translated to modern English).
54 Id.
55 Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, (1823).
56 Marshall uses the term "European" in his original writing. Since a non-Christian European sovereign would be excluded from the rights of discovery, use of European is misleading and technically incorrect. "Christian" is a more accurate descriptor and is inserted here.
57 M'Intosh at 587.
58  Id. at 588.
59 M'Intosh at 572-573 (emphasis added).
60 M'Intosh at 589, 591.
61 Acosta.
62 M'Intosh at 589 (emphasis added).
63 M'Intosh at 590.
64 "So, too, with respect to the concomitant principle, that the [non-Christian]64 inhabitants are to be considered merely as occupants, to be protected, indeed, while in peace, in the possession of their lands, but to be deemed incapable of transferring the absolute title to others." Quoting M'Intosh at 591. Note: For purposes of accurate terminology and illustration, the term "non-Christian" is substituted for "Indian", which is a pejorative term coined by the Christian dominator to deny the diverse nationalities of Indigenous Peoples within the political boundaries of the United States.
65This opinion conforms precisely to  the principle  which has been supposed  to  be recognised by all  [Christian]* governments, from the first settlement of America. The absolute ultimate title has been considered as acquired by discovery, subject only to the [non-Christian]* title of occupancy, which title the [Christian]* discoverers possessed the exclusive right of acquiring. M'Intosh at 592. See supra 64 and infra 71.
*Note: For purposes of accuracy and illustration, the term "Christian" is substituted for "European."
* * *
"It has never been contended, that the [non-Christian]* title amounted to nothing. Their right of possession has never been questioned. The claim of [Christian]* government extends to the complete ultimate title, charged with this right of possession, and to the exclusive power of acquiring that right... The very grant of a charter is an assertion of the title of the [Christian]* crown, and its words convey the same idea. The country granted, is said to be ‘our island called Rhode-Island;’ and the charter contains an actual grant of the soil, as well as of the powers of government. M'Intosh at 603. *See note at Supra above.
66 Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith … [W]e have been informed … on the behalf of … the purchasers and free inhabitants of our island, called Rhode Island, and the rest of the colony of Providence Plantations … in America, that they, pursuing, with peaceable and loyal minds, their sober, serious, and religious intentions, of godly edifying themselves, and one another, in the holy Christian faith and worship, as they were persuaded; together with the gaining over and conversion of the poor ignorant Indian natives, in those parts of America, to the sincere profession and obedience of the same faith and worship. King Charles II of England, Rhode Island Royal Charter (1663). Rhode Island Secretary of State,
67 Id.
68 And further, know ye, that we … have given, granted and confirmed … unto the said Governor and Company and their successors, all that part of our dominions in New England, in America, containing the Nahantick and Nanhygansett, alias Narragansett Bay, and countries and parts adjacent … together with all firm lands, soils,
grounds, havens, ports, rivers, waters, fishings, mines royal, and all other mines, minerals, precious stones, quarries, woods, wood grounds, rocks, slates, and all and singular other commodities, jurisdictions, royalties, privileges, franchises, preheminances, and hereditaments, whatsoever, within the said tract, bounds, lands and islands aforesaid, or to them or any of them belonging, or in any wise appertaining; To have and to hold the same, unto the said Governor and Company, and their successors, forever, upon trust, for the use and benefit of themselves and their associates … yielding and paying … to us, our heirs and successors, only the fifth part of all the ore of gold and silver which, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, shall be there gotten, had or obtained, in lieu and satisfaction of all services, duties, fines, forfeitures, made or to be made, claims and demands … rendered, made or paid. Id.
69 Message of President James Monroe at the commencement of the first session of the 18th Congress (The Monroe Doctrine), 12/02/1823; Presidential Messages of the 18th Congress, ca. 12/02/1823-ca. 03/03/1825; Record Group
46; Records of the United States Senate, 1789-1990; National Archives. Available at
70 Theodore Roosevelt's Annual Message to Congress for 1904; House Records HR 58A-K2; Records of the U.S. House of Representatives; Record Group 233; Center for Legislative Archives; National Archives. Find the transcript at
71 Id.
72 Franklin Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, 1936, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.   Available at  ’s-good-neighbor-policy- 1936.
73 List of interventions and source materials are on file with the author.
74 History of Corporations,  Risk Encyclopedia Id.
76 Id.
77 International trade agreements, often written under the advice and at the urging of powerful corporations, reflect the desires and interests of profit-making rather than sound, responsible social policy.


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The Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Doctrine of Discovery:
Medieval Christian theology at the heart of modern international policy

©C. Boshell, SGF September 2015

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