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Findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Doctrine of Discovery

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

The Penner Report Indian Self-government in Canada

The Beaver Report: The National Indian Socio-economic Development Committee

The Hawthorne Report: Survey of the Contemporary Indians of Canada: Economic, Political, Educational Needs and Policies

The White Paper: Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy



Last Updated May 21, 2018

The Doctrine of Discovery and the Framework of Dominance Towards Indigenous and Aboriginal Peoples and Their lands


“This preliminary study [UN 2010 report listed below] establishes that the Doctrine of Discovery has been institutionalized in law and policy, on national and international levels, and lies at the root of the violations of indigenous peoples’ human rights, both individual and collective. This has resulted in State claims to and the mass appropriation of the lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples. Both the Doctrine of Discovery and a holistic structure that we term the Framework of Dominance have resulted in centuries of virtually unlimited resource extraction from the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. This, in turn, has resulted in the dispossession and impoverishment of indigenous peoples, and the host of problems that they face today on a daily basis.” .... including in Canada.


“The UN General Assembly has indicated that the continuation of colonialism is “a crime which constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations ... and the principles of international law”. Colonial-era doctrine cannot continue to oppress and impoverish generations of indigenous peoples and to deny them jurisdiction to exercise their indigenous laws and legal orders.” [UN 2014 report listed below]


The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada calls for Governments in Canada (Calls to Action 45,46,47 and 49) to repudiate (abandon) the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius that were used to justify sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples and to reform laws, governance structures, and policies within institutions that continue to rely on those concepts.



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