NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE — Did you know that the Declaration of Independence refers to Native Americans as “merciless Indian Savages?” If you are like the vast majority of audiences Mark Charles has spoken to throughout the country the answer is “No.”
On Wednesday, March 18, Mark Charles (Navajo) will speak on the topic of American Indian mascots in sports at the College of Theology and Christian Ministry at Belmont University. Charles is a Christian and American Indian activist who speaks and lectures throughout the country regarding American Indian social justice issues, including the Doctrine of Discovery.
Related: The Doctrine of Discovery – A Buried Apology and an Empty Chair – Part I
The Doctrine of Discovery – A Buried Apology and an Empty Chair – Part II
The Doctrine of Discovery is a series of Papal Bulls (official edicts) written in the 15th Century. Charles summarizes the Doctrine in this way; “The Doctrine of Discovery is the Church in Europe saying to the nations of Europe, whatever lands you find not ruled by Christian rulers, those people are less than human and their lands are yours for the taking.” Charles goes on to say, “It was the Doctrine of Discovery that justified European nations colonizing Africa and enslaving the African people. It was also the Doctrine of Discovery that allowed Christopher Columbus to get lost at sea, land in a new world that was already inhabited by millions, and claim to have ‘discovered’ it.
In his lecture Charles will highlight ways the Doctrine of Discovery has shaped and influenced our nation at its most foundational levels, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and US Supreme Court case law.
Charles will point out the contradiction between the statement “All men are created equal” and the dehumanizing reference to the native peoples as “merciless Indian savages” in the Declaration of Independence. He concludes that the reason this contradiction exists is because the founders of our nation did not consider the indigenous peoples of North America to be human.
Given the Doctrine of Discovery’s influence on our nation at such a foundation level, it is no surprise that the professional football team located in our nation’s capital utilizes a dehumanizing and racist mascot, the “Washington Redsk*ns.”
Charles will end his presentation by publicly calling on Dan Snyder to show respect to the indigenous peoples of North America by breaking from the racist and dehumanizing foundation of the Doctrine of Discovery and giving the Washington DC professional football team a different mascot. Charles will also layout his vision for a series of national conferences to educate our citizens and our leaders regarding the racist influence the Doctrine of Discovery has had on our nation’s policies, laws and institutions.
This lecture is free and open to the public. It will begin at 10 AM at Belmont University in the Beaman Meeting Rooms A&B.
WHAT: Lecture on American Indian mascot’s connection to Declaration of Independence
WHO: Mark Charles (Navajo)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 10:00 am – CT
WHERE: Belmount University – Beaman Student Life Center
1900 Belmont Boulevard – Meeting Rooms A&B
Nashville, Tennessee 37212