This book presents new material and shines fresh light on the under-explored historical and legal evidence about the use of the doctrine of discovery in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
North America, New Zealand, and Australia were colonised by England under an international legal principle that is known today as the doctrine of discovery. When Europeans set out to explore and exploit new lands in the fifteenth through to the twentieth centuries, they justified their sovereign and property claims over these territories and the Indigenous peoples with the discovery doctrine. This legal principle was justified by religious and ethnocentric ideas of European and Christian superiority over the other cultures, religions, and races of the world. The doctrine provided that newly-arrived Europeans automatically acquired property rights in the lands of Indigenous peoples and gained political and commercial rights over the inhabitants. The English colonial governments and colonists in North America, New Zealand, and Australia all utilised this doctrine, and still use it today to assert legal rights to Indigenous lands and to assert control over Indigenous peoples.
Written by Indigenous legal academics - an American Indian from the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, a New Zealand Maori (Ngati Rawkawa and Ngati Ranginui), an Aboriginal Australian (Eualayai/Gammilaroi), and a Cree (Neheyiwak) in the country now known as Canada - Discovering Indigenous Lands provides a unique insight into the insidious historical and contemporary application of the doctrine of discovery.
About the authors
TRACEY LINDBERG, a woman of Cree-Metis ancestry from northern Alberta, is a professor of law and an Indigenous-rights activist. She has a doctoral degree in law as well as law degrees from the University of Ottawa, Harvard Law School and the University of Saskatchewan. She was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal, the most prestigious award given to a doctoral student in humanities (other past recipients include Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Robert Bourassa and Gabrielle Roy). She has been professor of law at the University of Ottawa and is currently at Athabasca University, where she is Chair of the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and the Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, Legal Orders and Laws.
Professor Lindberg has published many legally based articles in areas related to Indigenous law and Indigenous women, and she is also a fiction writer, with stories published in a number of literary journals, as well as a blues singer. As she describes herself, she is next in a long line of argumentative Cree women. This is her first novel.