Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 49: Settlement Agreement Parties and the UN Declaration (48-49)

Catholic Entities

March 19, 2016

 Issued a formal declaration to repudiate concepts of Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius.

We believe that now is an appropriate time to issue a public statement in response to the errors and falsehoods perpetuated, often by Christians, during and following the so-called Age of Discovery. In light of all this, as Catholics:

  1. We firmly assert that Indigenous people, created in the image and likeness of God our Creator, ought to have had their fundamental human rights recognized and respected in the past, and that any failure to recognize and respect their humanity and fundamental human rights past or present is to be rejected and resisted in the strongest possible way;
  2. We firmly assert that there is no basis in the Church’s Scriptures, tradition, or theology, for the European seizure of land already inhabited by Indigenous Peoples;
  3. We reject the assertion that the principle of the first taker or discoverer, often described today by the terms Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, could be applied to lands already inhabited by Indigenous Peoples;
  4. We reject the assertion that the mere absence of European agricultural practices, technologies, or other aspects common to European culture, could justify the claiming of land as if it had no owner;
  5. We reject the assertion that Europeans could determine whether land was used or occupied by Indigenous people without consulting those people.
  • Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB)
  • Canadian Religious Conference. (CRC)
  • Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council
  • Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace