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Repudiation of Doctrine of Discovery could change the world for Indigenous Peoples – IRPP

May 5, 2023

Placing the Pope’s action as the basis for all future land claims negotiations would tilt the playing field in favour of Indigenous Peoples.

When I was growing up in the 1960s in my remote community on the coast of Labrador, I remember a bunch of us kids talking about how, or if, land could be owned – not talking in any legal or in-depth sense of course, but just in an inquisitive way. Rigolet was also home to an important post of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which owned a large parcel of land in the community – far more, it seemed, than what it needed for its business.

Around that time, I read how Aristotle Onassis, an incredibly rich Greek businessman who married Jackie Kennedy in 1968, owned an island, and I wondered how that could be. How could anyone own an island?

The islands that we were familiar with around Rigolet, N.L., were available to any of us to use for hunting or gathering. No one had any more right to the island or the fruits thereof than the next person. Our community shared it.

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