"Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts" is a documentary film that examines the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal and religious framework that has been used to justify the colonization of indigenous lands and the subjugation of indigenous peoples.
The origins of the Doctrine of Discovery are traced back to the 15th century papal bull issued by Pope Nicholas V, which granted European explorers the right to claim any non-Christian lands they discovered and to subjugate the inhabitants of those lands. This doctrine provided the legal and moral justification for European colonization and the dispossession of indigenous peoples around the world.
The Doctrine of Discovery was used in many ways to justify the displacement and genocide of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. Through interviews with indigenous leaders, scholars, and activists we find out the ongoing impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on indigenous peoples today, including the loss of land and resources, the erosion of cultural traditions, and the continued violence and discrimination that many indigenous communities face.
One of the most powerful aspects of the film is its focus on the stories of indigenous peoples who have been directly impacted by the Doctrine of Discovery. Through their testimonies, we see the devastating effects of colonization on their communities, as well as their ongoing struggles for justice and self-determination. For example, we hear from members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, who have been fighting for the recognition of their sovereignty and the return of their lands for decades.
The documentary also explores efforts by indigenous peoples and their allies to challenge the Doctrine of Discovery and to promote a more just and equitable relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. This includes the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, resources, and cultures. We see the impact of these efforts in the stories of indigenous activists who are working to reclaim their lands, languages, and cultures, as well as to build stronger and more resilient communities.
Overall, "Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts" is a powerful and informative film that sheds light on an often-overlooked aspect of colonial history and highlights the ongoing struggle for indigenous rights and justice. By centering the voices and experiences of indigenous peoples, the film offers a powerful critique of the ways in which the Doctrine of Discovery has been used to justify the oppression and exploitation of indigenous communities, while also highlighting the resilience and strength of these communities in the face of ongoing colonialism and injustice.
Directed by: Lisa Barry