Doctrine of Discovery

Beverly Foster, Staff Reporter

Lakeland students will have an opportunity to learn about the Doctrine of Discovery, which has had a lasting and devastating effect on the indigenous people in America. This effect is still felt present day. The convocation will be held Monday March 4 from 7 to 8:30 PM in the Campus Center Event Space.

The Doctrine of Discovery was started as an instruction to a Portuguese monarchy to invade, capture, vanquish and subdue all Saracens, pagans and other enemies of Christ.

Ideas found in this papal document were later woven into U.S. Indian law and, even today, is a shadow guiding the U.S. Indian policy. The discovery doctrine was issued in 1452 by Pope Nicholas V and stated that any land that was not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered,” claimed and exploited by Christian rulers in name of their religion.

This event has two guest speakers. Larry Littlegeorge is a member of the Hochunk Nation and Warrior Clan. He completed the Wisconsin Conference Lay Academy in 2016 and currently is the spiritual leader of the Hocak Church. He has personally experienced the effects of racism that he traces back to historic documents like the Doctrine of Discovery. He has done a great deal of studying and speaking on the topic.

Rev. Rob McDougall is an Associate Conference Minister for the Wisconsin Conference of the UCC with primary responsibility for the Northwest Association of the Conference, which the Hocak Church is part of.

Both speakers will be providing an overview of the Doctrine of Discovery and explain why the issue is being studied by Conference churches prior to considering a resolution to repudiate the document at the 2019 Annual Meeting.

This event is an Ethics Colloquy sponsored by Lakeland University’s Ulrich Center for Philosophy, Ethics and Christian Thought.