Mark Charles Challenges Group to Get of Out of Comfort Zone: Talks about Doctrine of Discovery

Published January 8, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS – Mark Charles (Navajo) travels the country challenging groups, many times Christian groups, to begin dialogues about the Doctrine of Discovery. He challenges them to get out of their comfort zones.

On Friday, he spoke before an audience at the Calvin College’s “January Series” before a large crowd of mostly non-Native people. His lecture entitled, “Race, Trauma, and the Doctrine of Discovery,” was a provocative presentation that covered history of Christianity and the documents that allowed Christians to conquer and colonize lands around the world.

He began his lecture be saying “we don’t know how to talk about our history as it relates to our church or as our nation,”

Throughout his hour-long lecture, Charles presented a history of the writings of the papal bulls, Doctrine of Destiny, Manifest Destiny and even part of the Declaration of Independence that refers to American Indians as “merciless Indian Savages.” Charles argues United States was created on a systematic racism.

“American history is about dehumanization, ethic cleansing and genocide so that a select few, namely white men, could own land,” said Charles.

Developing documents to conquer and colonize was contrary to the teachings of Jesus, Charles suggests.

“Jesus was not here to create a Christian empire. He came to plant a church,” Charles said.

LISTEN to hear the lecture.

Charles has done extensive research on the Doctrine of Discovery.

Calvin College is a liberal arts college, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Charles, who writes the Reflections from the Hogan. blog and is a Native News Online columnist, who now resides in Washington, D.C.

Charles is a dynamic and thought-provoking public speaker. He is also writing a book on the Doctrine of Discovery that is scheduled to be published late 2017. To inquire regarding scheduling him to speak, please email:

Related: The Declaration of Independence. It’s Not What You Think

Native News Online photos by Levi Rickert

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