Lingering effects of the 1493 Doctrine of Discovery

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Shortly after Columbus returned to Spain, Pope Alexander VI issued the Papal Bull “Inter Caetera,” which came to be known as the Doctrine of Discovery. This decree justified Christian European explorers laying claim to lands and waterways they allegedly discovered. This ideology supported the dehumanization of those living on the land and their dispossession, murder, and forced assimilation. The doctrine fueled white supremacy insofar as white European settlers claimed they were instruments of divine design and possessed cultural superiority.

We will examine how the actions and edicts of the mid and late 1400s continue to fuel white supremacy to this day. In what ways can we change this ingrained narrative that is part of our heritage?