Minute of Northern Yearly Meeting of Quakers to Renounce the Doctrine of Discovery

We affirm our Quaker testimonies of peace and equality as Friends in Northern Yearly Meeting. In fulfilling our commitment to transform NYM into an actively anti-racist faith community, we seek to live in a just peace with all human beings.

We commit ourselves to actively seek Spirit’s leadings and guidance to build right relationship with Native peoples. We specifically acknowledge Quaker complicity in the harm caused to Native communities and families by our involvement in the boarding school program. It is our intention to seek relationship with and guidance from Native people in discerning a path to truth and healing as an anti-racist faith community.

In light of this commitment, and in response to the call from Native peoples, we find it necessary to renounce the underlying worldview manifested in the Doctrine of Discovery which originated in 15th century Papal Bulls and subsequent European royal charters, and to more deeply understand the impact this had on Indigenous peoples. The Doctrine of Discovery authorized the seizure of lands where non-Christian people lived and sanctioned the enslavement, exploitation, and genocide of those peoples along with the eradication of their languages, cultures and religious practices.

We affirm the autonomy and sovereignty of Native people in line with the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We honor the rights of all Peoples to have homelands, clean water, cultural and spiritual practices, languages, and self-government.

NYM encourages and supports the efforts of individual Quakers, Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups to work together with Native people to take meaningful action embodying our renunciation of the assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, and actions that underlie the Doctrine of Discovery.