Papal Bulls of the 15th century gave Christian explorers the right to claim lands they “discovered” and lay claim to those lands for their Christian Monarchs. Any land that was not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered”, claimed, and exploited. If the “pagan” inhabitants could be converted, they might be spared. If not, they could be enslaved or killed.


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Father David Smith, Catholic priest and retired professor of theology, is the founding director, now retired, of the Justice and Peace Studies program at the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of a Michigan Peace Team of third-party nonviolent peacemakers in Gaza in the summer of 2005 and in the West Bank for three months in the fall of 2007. He is co-author of the book Understanding World Religions: A Road Map for Justice and Peace (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007–currently under revision for a second edition) which studies the ways various world religions interact to support or interfere with justice and peace, with Israel-Palestine as a case study. He has traveled extensively worldwide to study poverty, justice, and peace.

The Discovery Doctrine is a concept of public international law expounded by the United States Supreme Court in a series of decisions, intially in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. The doctrine was Chief Justice John Marshall’s explanation of the way in which colonial powers laid claim to newly discovered lands during the Age of Discovery. Under it, title to newly discovered lands lay with the government whose subjects discovered new territory. The doctrine has been primarily used to support decisions invalidating or ignoring aboriginal possession of land in favor of colonial or post-colonial governments.


What is Peacestock?

Peacestock, formerly known as “Pigstock”, is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace in idylic locations near the Mississippi, just one hour’s drive from the Twin Cities of Minnesota. This year’s theme was “The War on Our Climate”

Who organizes Peacestock?

Peacestock is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 115, in Red Wing and Veterans for Peace, Chapter 27, in Minneapolis, and has a peace-themed agenda.


Sheldon Wolfchild’s film Doctrine of Discovery, information here.

By Published On: July 23rd, 2015Comments Off on ▶ David Smith: Doctrine of Discovery | Peacestock 2015

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