Symposium on the Doctrine of Discovery, Boarding Schools, and Historic Trauma Set for MAIC

You are invited to a Sunday Symposium to learn more about the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, the Boarding School Era, and the historic trauma they created for Native peoples–a trauma that continues today. The event is free and open to the public.

  • The event this Sunday, May 3, 4-7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Avenue. Free dinner provided.

This symposium is being hosted by the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, together with Dr. Erma Vizenor, Chairwoman of the White Earth Nation. This is the first in a series of three similar events. The Sunday event will focus on the Christian church’s role in traumatizing Indian families and communities through the Doctrine of Christian Discovery and Indian Boarding Schools. This event is held to promote learning and dialogue, and to try to move toward reconciliation and healing. The event will include a short film, workshops, and a free dinner

If you cannot attend Sunday, the Episcopal Church has scheduled two similar events, one in Minneapolis and one in White Earth. They are:

  • Saturday, May 30, 1-5 p.m. at St. Marks Cathedral in Minneapolis, 519 Oak Grove St.
  • Saturday, July 18, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the White Earth Nation in Mahnomen

It is worth noting that there is  momentum in Christian communities to take a hard look at this painful history. This is not an isolated event. For instance, the April 18 Rapid City Journal reported on a similar event in South Dakota. It said:

South Dakota’s Episcopalians are working to mend what one priest calls “historical trauma” between the church and Native Americans.

“It can hurt, but it’s very important,” said the Rev. Paul Sneve who facilitates efforts to mend the wounds of the past. “The more we talk about it, that’s how we begin to heal our historical trauma.”

Twice a year, the former rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Rapid City leads a workshop on the history of the Dakota and Lakota people and the impact of assimilation on their culture, traditions and spirituality. Episcopalian clergy, parishioners and others attend the two-day Dakota Experience, which was recently held in Rapid City.

For the whole story, click on: Healing the past: Episcopal program studies history of church, Native culture.

Note: Healing Minnesota Stories has been working to create interfaith dialogues around the Doctrine of Discovery. For more information, see our web page on the Doctrine of Discovery. We are available to help you and your congregation or faith community create an educational event around these issues.

This Day in History: United Methodists Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery

May 1, 2012: On this day in history, the United Methodist Church approved a resolution saying that all levels of the church are “called to  condemn the Doctrine of Discovery as a legal document and basis for the seizing of native lands and abuses of human rights of Indigenous Peoples;” and further that the church “will work toward eliminating the Doctrine of Discovery as a means to subjugate Indigenous peoples of property and land.” That same year, it approved a resolution titled: Trail of Repentance and Healing. Among its statements, it resolved that “that every conference, and every local congregation of The United Methodist Church develop and nurture relationships with the indigenous persons of the place where that conference resides through a process of deep listening and learning.”


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