Friday, April 19, 2013

DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery: Purpose and Themes

The Doctrine of Discovery
Purpose and Themes


The word mantel comes from the Latin “mantellum” which can be translated as a “cloak”.  The Doctrine of Discovery, as an instrument of European-American colonization and domination, continues to serve as the “Cloaking Device” which drives the continued normalization of colonialism in violation of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the fundamental human dignity of all humanity.  In order to dismantle this intellectual pathogen, the first steps require clarity and courage, determination and perseverance.  Centuries of historical trauma will take generations to heal, but as Mother Earth bleeds and climate chaos is the event horizon that surrounds us all, we cannot put off to another generation the need to engage and commit to the necessary corrective actions required for collective decolonization.  This conference is dedicated to that purpose.


Youth – Regeneration

Youth attending the conference will be engaged in a series of activities that break down the meaning and purpose underlying the doctrine of discovery. They will be asked to reflect and share the ways in which they have been impacted by colonization in the classroom and as part of the broader community. Participating youth will develop a set of tools to help them engage their peers in discussion and build awareness around the doctrine of discovery and create their own strategies for dismantling it.

Education – Cognition:

This series of workshops will focus on how the doctrine of discovery can and should be framed within an educational context. It will explore methods of integrating Indigenous language revitalization concepts into the daily lives of Indigenous children through education. This working group will allow participants to become engaged in the process of developing curriculum that addresses the doctrine of discovery and discuss how it can be implemented within current educational institutions at all levels. 

Religion – Spirituality:

This series of workshops will invite participants to share their own experiences and reflect upon how colonization and the doctrine of discovery have impacted our religious and spiritual beliefs. This track revolves around the understanding that religion has played a key role in the creation and implementation of the doctrine of discovery. The discussions will move through the history and engage with the present devastating long-term impacts to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples alike. Participants will be encouraged to envision a future that rejects the principles of colonization and create strategies that can be implemented within their own communities.

Law: Harmony

This working group track will be directed by the conference conveners: Maya Vision, Techantit and TONATIERRA.  The sessions will be segmented into presentation from the three areas of the continent: South, Central and North.   Each region will address the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery upon their Indigenous Nations and territories, and how they have responded in exercise of the inherent Right of Self Determination as Indigenous Peoples, Equal to all other Peoples.  The impact of extractive mining, the criminalization of resistance, and the issue of International Borders of the colonizing states including domestic and international immigration policies of the government state are priority themes for this working group.

Environment: Pacha Mama

The success of any indoctrination process require a disassociation from reality.  The reality is that we are all children of Mother Earth, and Mother Earth is also a child of the cosmos, and the Cosmos is a Matter of Mystery.  Water and Land related, become watersheds and the Ocean which in reality there is only one ocean on this planet.  Air and Fire related become the atmosphere and energy systems at the planetary level, the drivers of climate.  This working group will address these inter-related natural systems from the perspective of the Indigenous Peoples on the front lines in defense of the Rights of Mother Earth, from the local-regional to the continental and global frames of reference.

Voices of Abya Yala:

We have always been here, since time immemorial.  The dust of our ancestors travel with the wind into the sky and there collect the spirit of the water that becomes the rain, and we return time and again to fulfill our responsibilities and regenerate our nations of Mother Earth.  Yet even she, our Sacred Mother Earth was not always a Mother.  At one time, for a long, long time she was a maiden, and even before that she was simply a dream of creation.  Yet now, however, she has been mother to life on Earth for a long, long time.  She is no longer a young mother. She is now Abya Yala.  She is the Mother Earth who, under the shawl of the Rain of Time, is showing the first grey hairs of becoming a grandmother.

What shall we do to take care of her? How can we take care of her if we do not know who we are, as Nations of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala?



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