View and download the new Doctrine of Discovery discussion guide.
In January UUA Trustees voted to place a responsive resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery on the General Assembly business agenda. The Doctrine of Discovery—the legal justification for colonizing the Americas and subordinating aboriginal people—is a narrative unfamiliar to many Americans. The Doctrine is so deeply embedded in American and Western culture that it hides in plain sight.
The UUA Board of Trustees, at the request of our immigration justice partner organizations in Arizona, requests that Unitarian Universalists not only acknowledge the Doctrine of Discovery, but engage with a different narrative about our nation’s history and system of laws. The Board asks that we hear—truly listen to, and integrate—a narrative told by people on the margins of dominant American culture. The Board calls us to open our minds, hearts, and spirits to the implications and the potential of a new, truer story of how this continent was settled and our nation formed.
This discussion guide helps organize conversations to grapple with the Doctrine of Discovery and the UUA Board Report and Resolution. Three one-hour sessions define the issue, contextualize it with native voices, and guide a plan of action. In short, the sessions ask: What? So what? and Now what? Discussion and journaling questions, which can be used independently of this program, invite Unitarian Universalists to shape new cultural, civic, and religious identity stories that include and embrace the perspectives of those who have been marginalized.