On Wed. Aug. 10, 2022, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly received a presentation on the “Declaration of the ELCA to American Indian and Alaska Native People” adopted by the ELCA Church Council last September.
In 2016, 19 ELCA synod assemblies passed a memorial that would charge the triennial ELCA Churchwide Assembly to consider repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery. With a vote of 912 to 28, the representative assembly adopted the memorial, making the ELCA the second major denomination in the United States to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.
According to the Doctrine of Discovery Project, “The Doctrines of Christian Discovery (DoCD) originate with 15th century Papal Bulls that were issued by the Vatican and implemented by Monarchies, sanctioning the brutal Conquest and Colonization of non-Christians who were deemed ‘enemies of Christ’ in Africa and the Americas.” You can learn more at doctrineofdiscovery.org.
Churches Beyond Borders: Healing From the Legacy of the Doctrine of DiscoveryLearn More
Each denomination’s repudiation statements/resolutions include various admissions of complicity in multiple damaging convictions for which they agree to repent. The ELCA has adopted a list of actions to accomplish the same.
The ELCA’s social policy resolution “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery” explains the church’s commitment to repudiation with the following pledges:
Read the ELCA’s “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery” here.
In 2021, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton commissioned the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery Task Force, composed of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders from across the church who are responsible for leading the work to realize the repudiation.
Efforts by the Task Force thus far include: