Grants of $500 to $1,000 are available from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Resource Development office for congregations interested in pursuing projects that teach about, repudiate, and mitigate the current effects of the Doctrine of Discovery.
The Doctrine of Discovery is the premise that European Christian explorers who “discovered” other lands had the authority to claim those lands and subdue, and even enslave, the people of those lands simply because they were not Christian. The Doctrine was introduced to UU congregations at General Assembly 2012 in Phoenix and through a uuworld.org article last spring. The doctrine continues to be the basis for many contemporary laws that serve to oppress indigenous peoples.
UUA Adult Programs Director Gail Forsyth-Vail said that projects can include “education, reflection, and action,” and should also include outreach to partners in indigenous and/or interfaith communities and demonstrate the prospects for broad or long-range impact.
Information about why the Doctrine continues to be problematic, and what congregations can do about it in their own communities is here. Information on the grant process is here. The application deadline is April 15. Applications and questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Recipients will be notified May 1.
Forsyth-Vail said, “We’ve already had some inquiries about the grants and there has been some tentative work on projects. I’m excited about the possibilities.” She noted that the Doctrine of Discovery touches many social justice areas. “Working to undo colonization can mean doing something as simple as working with a local group on a land rights issue or an environmental justice project. Every congregation could do something.”
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