Sunday, April 2, 2023

“Repudiate is not Revoke; Restoration not Reparation”

By Charmaine White Face

March 31, 2023


Star Man jumps down for a Moment's Notice to bring clarity to the Bullshit.




This morning, I had to call my cousin and tell her to stop doing the Snoopy Happy Dance. She was dancing because we had heard the Pope had revoked the Doctrines of Discovery. That was not true. He only ‘repudiated’ the Doctrines of Discovery, not “revoked” them. Then another cousin called and I had to tell him the same thing. There is a difference between ‘repudiate’ and ‘revoke’.

The word “repudiate” according to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary means “to cast off” or “to refuse to have anything to do with” or “to refuse to acknowledge.” We can all do that to those atrocious, horrible, abominable, appalling, and revolting Doctrines that were established by the Catholic Church.

The fact that these political Doctrines came into being in the late 1400s is no excuse as these doctrines are the legal foundation upon which American and Canadian laws stand today. As recently as 2005, the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg used these Doctrines against the Oneidas in Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation in New York.

These Doctrines still have an effect on us today. This does not even begin to cover the genocide of nations (plural) in the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific. The torture and suffering endured over these hundreds of years is carried over on our genes as methylates from the trauma. The colonizing nations, such as the USA, continue to do as they will with no regard to the Human and Civil Rights of Indigenous peoples. After all, it is only the resources they are after.

The word “revoke”, also according to the Dictionary, means “to annul by recalling or taking back” or “to repeal” or “to rescind.” The Pope does have that capability, which the rest of us do not. The Catholic Church needs to ‘revoke’ the Doctrines of Discovery. He needs to repeal them since the whole world now knows that Indigenous peoples all over the world are, indeed, human beings. Although in the United States, we are not “human beings” unless we denounce our own Indigenous Nations, and expatriate ourselves according to the Standing Bear case. But that’s for another discussion.


The question is “Why would the Pope do this now?” Many Indigenous representatives have been asking him to do this for decades? So why would he do this now?

Then I remembered recently submitting a response to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, and Reparation, Fabian Salvioli, who asked for Inputs on the question of financing of reparations owed to victims of serious violations of human rights. And I also remembered seeing articles on the Catholic Church and reparations primarily from the descendants of slaves taken from Africa. Then I knew why the Pope and the Catholic Church are doing this now. It has nothing to do with Indigenous peoples as human beings but rather with how much financing will be asked.

There can be no reparation for the genocide for all of the Indigenous nations that are no longer here. How do you financially pay for one human life? Isn’t that what slavery is all about? Isn’t that what human trafficking is all about?

Remember, the Vatican is a City-State. In the current international political understanding they are a State, and the Vatican has a seat at the table of the United Nations as a non-voting member. Did the Vatican bring up this question at the General Assembly regarding financing for the human rights violations of slavery and the treatment of Indigenous peoples?


There is a difference between “reparations” and “restoration.” In the situation of the Sioux nation it is simple. There must be Restoration. How? The way is simple. Enforce the complete 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, the last legal treaty made between the Sioux Nation and the United States. In particular is Article II which states the territory named in the Treaty is:

“...set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians...”

And who can do this?

The process is already there with the UN Decolonization Committee. Yes, it will take time. Yes, it will take money. But the way has already been proven with other Indigenous nations such as East Timor.

So, is the Pope saying “Repudiate” the Doctrines of Discovery now, while buying time so he can say “Revoke” the Doctrines of Discovery after the Special Rapporteur on Truth etc. gives his report to the UN General Assembly next Fall, 2023?

Right now, as far as Reparations are going, the Catholic Church is delegating that to regions or areas on an individual basis. We will see.





Charmaine White Face can be reached at



 Framework of Dominance:
United Nations Preliminary Study on the Doctrine of Discovery


Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Ninth session

New York, 19-30 April 2010

 Submitted by the Special Rapporteur


At its eighth session in May 2009, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues decided to appoint as Special Rapporteur Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a member of the Permanent Forum, to conduct a preliminary study of the 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, and to report thereon to the Forum at its ninth session.

This preliminary study establishes that the Doctrine of Discovery has been institutionalized in law and policy, on national and international levels, and lies at the root of the violations of indigenous peoples’ human rights, both individual and collective. This has resulted in State claims to and the mass appropriation of the lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples. Both the Doctrine of Discovery and a holistic structure that we term the Framework of Dominance have resulted in centuries of virtually unlimited resource extraction from the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. This, in turn, has resulted in the dispossession and impoverishment of indigenous peoples, and the host of problems that they face today on a daily basis.

Given that United States of America federal Indian law is most accessible to the Special Rapporteur, and because it serves as an ideal example of the application of the Doctrine of Discovery to indigenous peoples, this preliminary study provides a detailed examination of the premise of that system as found in the United States Supreme Court ruling Johnson’s Lessee v. McIntosh. Evidence is then provided demonstrating that the Doctrine of Discovery continues to be treated as valid by the United States Government.

The Special Rapporteur concludes by recommending that an international expert group meeting be convened to discuss in detail the findings and implications of this preliminary study of the Doctrine of Discovery, and present its findings to the Permanent Forum at its annual session. Further study and review will be needed to ascertain to what extent and how the Doctrine of Discovery and the Framework of Dominance are applied to indigenous peoples throughout the world.

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