Environmental Justice with
Indigenous Peoples

As people of faith, we have a moral call to pursue environmental justice: the sustainable and equitable sharing of the gifts of God’s creation among all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or class. Yet, inequities abound.  To take steps toward healing our relationship with God’s creation and each other, we need to understand the roots of the injustice.

A root cause of environmental injustice is the Doctrine of Discovery.  The Doctrine of Discovery originated with the Christian church and was based on Christian scripture.  For more than five centuries, the Doctrine of Discovery and the laws based upon it have legalized the theft of land, labor and resources from Indigenous Peoples, and systematically denied their human rights. 

Outside of Indigenous Peoples and scholars, however, few are aware of the continued impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery.  In the U.S. today, Indigenous Peoples continue to experience systemic injustices through broken treaties, land and resource theft, inadequate protection of sacred sites, and pollution of their air and water.   As Christians, now is the time to understand our role in the injustice, and seek to rectify it.

Source: “Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery” exhibit, Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Working Group, dofdmenno.org.

Photo by Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service

United Methodist Women are involved in Social Action covering all the following areas:
Global Migration
Domestic Violence
Climate Change
Gender Justice
Racial Justice
Economic Justice
Health Care
Food Justice
Christian Social Action at CCUN
The Church Center for the United Nations - owned and operated by United Methodist Women - is home to most of our advocacy offices as well as partners and often hosts important events related to the UN.

phone: 202-488-5660
e-mail: [email protected]