NYM Fall 2020 Interim Session
We warmly invite you to NYM’s online Fall Interim Session, starting Friday evening (Oct. 23)! Below is a basic schedule with brief explanations.
Note that the start times listed below are when our activities together begin in earnest. All sessions will open 15 minutes early; please sign in early to ensure your technology is working smoothly before the session starts. We will NOT be reviewing Zoom protocols once meetings start, so if you have questions about how things work, please see details on the session website.
We look forward to seeing you this weekend!
Friday 7-8:30 pm
Worship, an interactive community-building activity, and small group breakouts for discussion. The discussion lays some groundwork for our Saturday afternoon work on the Doctrine of Discovery.
Saturday 9 -11 am
Worship (with a special welcome to children and pets!), Business, a 15-minute break in the middle, and a brief Zumba Zoom! to enliven us!
Saturday 1-2 pm and 3-4 pm
A two-part exploration of the Doctrine of Discovery. Faith communities have been asked by Native Americans to learn about the Doctrine of Discovery (the legal, moral and religious underpinning of much European conquest of territory worldwide, and the dispossession of indigenous peoples) and to consider renouncing it.
Sunday 9-10 am and 10:15-11 am
Business meeting (first session)
Worship with special attention to racial healing (second session)
Doctrine of Discovery
Faith communities have been asked by Native Americans to learn about the Doctrine of Discovery (the legal, moral and religious underpinning of much European conquest of territory worldwide, and the dispossession of indigenous peoples) and to consider renouncing it. Basic information on the Doctrine is below.
Background Information about the Doctrine of Discovery
What is the “Doctrine of Discovery?”
It is the idea put forth in a series of 15th century papal pronouncements that land discovered by Christians and not already inhabited by Christians could be claimed for Christendom and the crown. This idea underlay much European colonization, claiming of territory, and genocide against indigenous peoples.
…We… by the authority of Almighty God … do … give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever… all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered… And 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…
How did it play out in American History?
In 1792, Thomas Jefferson declared that all of the British Crown’s landholdings and rights — initially acquired under the Doctrine of Discovery — were transferred to the new nation.
In 1823, Chief Justice John Marshall reasoned that ownership of land rested in those who “discovered” it, and that indigenous inhabitants had rights of occupancy only. Since then, jurisprudence relating to Native Americans and their land has rested on this legal foundation.
Does it still matter?
Yes! As recently as 2005 the Supreme Court issued a ruling, penned by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that rested on the Doctrine of Discovery. The ruling denied the Oneida of New York the right to rebuild their reservation by buying back land that had once belonged to them and that was illegally purchased.
What does the Doctrine of Discovery have to do with NYM?
Native Americans — nations, tribes, advocacy groups and legal organizations — have asked faith communities to learn about and renounce the Doctrine of Discovery. This is seen as a first step in challenging legal oppression, dispossession and denial of their rights. Several Yearly Meetings (Philadelphia, New York, New England, Baltimore, Intermountain) and Quaker organizations (AFSC, FCNL, QEW) have already renounced the Doctrine, as have a number of mainline Protestant denominations (General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ General Synod, Christian Reformed Church, Presbyterian Church.) Our Antiracist Working Group has chosen to bring this issue forward for our prayerful consideration.