Back to Top

In 1492, Indigenous Peoples Discovered Columbus

Injustice always begins by dehumanizing our neighbors, by refusing to see the image of God in all people. So why do we say that Columbus “discovered” the Americas, when there were already people here? When Columbus landed in North America, he carried with him a powerful weapon--the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, a declaration of the Pope that stated that non-Christian, non-European nations were lesser than Christian, European nations. This rubber-stamp from the Church dehumanized Indigenous peoples. And injustice did follow.

But more than 500 years later, Indigenous peoples are far from gone, and their rich cultures still have much to teach majority culture. This past June, the Christian Reformed Church declared the Doctrine of Christian Discovery to be a heresy. What does this mean? And how should it affect the way we live? 

This November, during Native American Heritage Month and Ontario's Treaties Recognition Week, both Indigenous people and descendants of settlers will dig into these questions. We will learn from the perspectives and gifts of Indigenous peoples, and we will celebrate the ways that we are unlearning this doctrine together. 




1956 Wasn't the "Good Old Days" for My Family - Shannon Perez (Sayisi Dene)

What do Pipelines have to do with the Doctrine of Discovery? - Kyle Meyaard-Schaap (Dutch-American)

What I Learned from a Full Moon Ceremony - Erica VanEssendelft (Dutch-American)

My Trip to Standing Rock - Susie Silversmith (Navajo)