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Now What? Next Steps for Uprooting the Doctrine of Discovery – First Peoples Law

April 13, 2023

The Catholic Church’s recent announcement repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery has been met by Indigenous groups as both a welcome and long-overdue development. The focus now shifts to whether – and how – Canada will use the announcement as an opportunity to create meaningful change in its relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

Now what? The following suggestions for next steps will hopefully contribute to the national discussion of where we go from here. For further background and commentary see Bruce McIvor’s previous posts on this topic.

#1 Convene a national gathering on the Doctrine of Discovery

The Vatican’s inadequate repudiation underscores the need for real truth telling. A National Gathering should be convened to provide a forum for telling the truth about how the Doctrine of Discovery is the basis for present-day Canadian property rights and law-making authority. As part of the gathering, an Action Plan should be developed identifying concrete steps to be taken to uproot the ongoing pernicious effects of the Doctrine.

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