What has been done in the name of Christ must be undone in the name of Christ
The Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition is a group of Anabaptist leaders who work together to mobilize the church to dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery. We proclaim an Anabaptist spirit of discipleship rooted in the call to love of neighbor, seeking right relationship and reconciliation through active non-violence.
The Doctrine of Discovery is enshrined in both church and state. It is a legal doctrine that is practiced in international law and policy, and well as the domestic legal systems of countries around the globe. The Doctrine of Discovery is also a Christian doctrine dating to the 15th century. It is still practiced by Christian traditions around the globe, systematically dispossessing Indigenous Peoples of their ancestral lands and human rights.
We believe that it is now the church’s responsibility to undo the Doctrine of Discovery in the name of Christ.
The Coalition works within a largely, but not exclusively, settler-dominated denomination. The Coalition’s make-up reflects this denominational demographic. The settler-descended folks within our Coalition are responsible for dismantling the legal, policy, and church structures created and reinforced by the dominant culture, as well as dismantling the attitudes and norms of oppression that dehumanize Indigenous Peoples. We do not ask Indigenous Peoples to carry the weight of teaching, but rather commit to educating ourselves. The settler-descended folks on the Coalition also commit to accountability with Indigenous Peoples and descendants who directly suffer oppression caused by the Doctrine of Discovery and who are still targeted by current laws, policies and social norms. We do this work so that when we show up as allies and co-conspirators with Indigenous Peoples, our presence is an asset instead of a disorganizing presence.
Structure of the Coalition
The Steering Committee coordinates the work of the Coalition, which includes discerning and implementing the collective vision of the group, setting and managing the yearly budget, and organizing the Coalition’s presence at Mennonite gatherings.
The work of the Coalition is largely done in the Working Committees. Committees form at our annual meeting and follow the direction they mutually set in concert with the Spirit. It is our intention to remain flexible enough to respond to the call we mutually discern. If you would like to be involved with the work of any of these committees, please feel free to contact us.
Current Working Committees
The Structures Committee works to dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery in institutional, legal and policy structures. They address structural decision makers in faith, civic and political bodies at community, national and international levels.
The Arts and Education Committee creates artistic and educational resources to creatively engage Anabaptist congregations in our movement to dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery. See the Resources tab for some of our projects.
The Constituency Engagement Committee is the outreach arm of the Coalition, connecting with people and institutions, especially in Anabaptist constituencies, for the work of dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery.
Past and current organizational partners include:
Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, Central States Mennonite Conference, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Creation Care Network, Mennonite Mission Network, Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, Suriname Indigenous Health Fund, Ted & Company TheaterWorks, and Watershed Discipleship groups.
For more information on the history of the Coalition:
Mennonite World Review, 2014 Churches Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery
The Mennonite, 2017 Group Seeks to Expand Work to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery