Home Traveling history exhibit Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery at EMU

Traveling history exhibit Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery at EMU


EMU logo - newThe traveling history exhibit “Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery” is currently open at Eastern Mennonite University’s Campus Center through March 2.

Two staff members from Mennonite Central Committee, which sponsors the exhibit, will also be on campus Wednesday, March 2, for a chapel presentation in Lehman Auditorium at 10 a.m. and a participatory workshop, “The Loss of Turtle Island,” from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Greeting Hall. The workshop, which was created by the Canadian ecumenical justice organization KAIROS and later adapted by MCC Central States, helps people see their place in the larger picture of Native American history.

The discovery doctrine is a concept of international law as set by the United States Supreme Court beginning in 1823 that supports the way in which colonial powers claimed land belonging to indigenous peoples. Its premises are controversial, according to modern legal theorists.

Both the exhibit and events highlight often unheard narratives from Native American history and challenge commonly held assumptions about indigenous peoples in the United States and Canada. The church’s role in injustices and human rights violations that occurred in the Western Hemisphere beginning in the 15th century is also noted.

The World Council of Churches, as well as several other Christian denominations, including the United Church of Christ [LJ1] and the United Methodist Church[LJ2] , have made resolutions in support of repudiation of church involvement in the doctrine. In 2007, the United Nations passed the “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[LJ3] ,” and has held multiple panel discussions [LJ4] from global representatives of indigenous peoples on the Doctrine of Discovery.

MCC Central States [EMU5] staff Erica Littlewolf and Karin Kaufman Wall will make the chapel presentation and facilitate the evening event. Littlewolf, who coordinates MCC Central States’ Indigenous Vision Center, is from the Northern Cheyenne tribe of southeastern Montana and currently lives in Albuquerque. Wall, who lives in North Newton, Kansas, is peace and justice education coordinator for MCC Central States and previously worked in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It is the first Virginia visit for the exhibit, which has previously appeared at the Mennonite Church USA Convention, Mennonite World Conference Assembly and other sites. A group of Mennonite church leaders created the display to educate and raise awareness among Mennonites and others.

The two guest presenters will also visit a “Globalization and Justice” class, as well classes in social work practices and policy.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

Latest News

Ross Breitenbach

Virginia Tech grad is now an Emmy Award-winning producer

mjf aew dynamite

AEW having trouble moving tickets for upcoming ‘Dynamite’ show in Norfolk

AEW is coming back to Chartway Arena in Norfolk, and it’s a guarantee that the number of people on hand won’t be anywhere near the company’s high-water mark at the venue.

Mamadi Diakite

UVA Basketball alum Mamadi Diakite traded to Memphis Grizzlies

UVA Basketball alum Mamadi Diakite, who saw limited action in the 2023-2024 NBA season with San Antonio and New York, is now on his way to Memphis, part of a trade with the Brooklyn Nets.

UVA Bob Klesges

UVA School of Medicine mourns Bob Klesges, top expert in tobacco cessation

Staunton recycling plastic

Staunton: Recycling program one year after successful move to Public Works

jail handcuffs

16-year-old Richmond juvenile arrested in homicide on Magnolia Street

police crime tape at crime scene

Richmond: Man found dead in roadway with gunshot identified by police