Doctrine of Discovery

Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ votes to pass a resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery

At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Conference UCC, the delegates voted in favor of the resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. Here is the resolution as passed on April 6, 2019.

We encourage our congregations to engage in study of this issue. Here are some resources:

To begin to understand and study this topic, view the following video clip from the 2018 Wisconsin Conference UCC Annual Meeting:  Explanation of a witness resolution and presentation of the resolution (12 min) with David Deininger, Larry Littlegeorge, Rev. Missy Miller, and Rev. Bridget Flad Daniels.   For just the introduction to the Doctrine of Discovery view Larry Littlegeorge’s video segment (5 min).

View the Doctrine of Discovery Background and Proposed Resolution. (4 pages)

Below you will find links to the United Church of Christ website for additional information and resources for study and reflection around issues relating to the Doctrine of Discovery.


The Conference received the letter below from Ho Chunk UCC thanking the churches in the Wisconsin Conference and providing an update regarding the resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.


The congregation of the Hocak (Ho-Chunk) UCC would like to take this time to thank all the churches who studied and voted on the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery. This medieval edict was implemented in 1823 as Indian Policy and has ultimately created legal racial inequalities of people of color including the Indigenous People of this continent.

Please consider this to be our progress report on the ongoing work the Hocak UCC is doing in regards to the resolution  which was unanimously voted on.  We are pleased to submit the following:

  • Ongoing commitment to the resolution- Doctrine of Discovery
  • Input of people studying the Doctrine.
  • Implementation of a new organization: Foundation For Justice (FFJ). (A proposed UCC affiliate)
  • Work on the infra-structure of the Foundation for Justice.

Ongoing commitment to the Doctrine of Discovery Resolution- 2019 WI. Annual Meeting.

The Hocak UCC, Consistory Committee and congregation  are grateful to all of the churches who have studied the Doctrine of Discovery and, during the 2019 Annual Meeting held in Wi., Dells, voted to pass the resolution.

During the year of study of the Doctrine of Discovery, the question that always seemed to come up was “Where  do go from here”?  Taking this into consideration  we, the members of the Hocak UCC congregation  have planned to put into motion steps to create an organization addressing racial injustices.  The Doctrine of Discovery, originally stemming from the 1400’s-era papal bulls, perpetuated many inhumane  practices against people of color.  The Hocak UCC is committed to the continuation of addressing ALL phases of racism and racial injustices through the legal means instituted by the Doctrine of Discovery.  Since its implementation many policies, laws, statutes and ordinances have been written in our legal system allowing the government to systematically allow atrocities  and offensive acts against the Indigenous Peoples of this land.

Please read the entire letter here>


For information, contact Lisa Hart


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