Skip to content

B.C. First Nations leaders call on King Charles III to renounce Doctrine of Discovery

First Nations Leadership Council says renouncing the Doctrine should be Charles’ first official act
Britain’s King Charles III, back to camera, greets well-wishers as he walks by the gates of Buckingham Palace following Thursday’s death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, planned to meet with the prime minister and address a nation grieving the only British monarch most of the world had known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself. (Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP)

The First Nations Leadership Council of B.C. is calling on Britain’s new monarch, King Charles III to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery.

“The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) acknowledges the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. She was the longest reigning monarch in the history of the British Crown, and the FNLC offers condolences to her family as they grieve,” the council said in a news release.

“Queen Elizabeth’s successor, King Charles III takes on a great responsibility as the representative of the Crown, with whom all Indigenous peoples in Canada have a direct relationship. The FNLC believes his first official act must be renunciation of the Doctrine of Discovery.”

The Doctrine of Discovery was a concept of public international law that justified and enabled European countries to seize lands inhabited by non-Christians around the world. Initially issued as a papal bull in 1452, the Doctrine of Discovery was used by Great Britain and France to claim vast swaths of territory in North America.

“With the new British monarch, King Charles III is in a position to acknowledge the historic crimes committed by his predecessors and set the stage for a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples around the globe,” the council said.

When Pope Francis visited Canada on a “penitential pilgrimage” to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools he also faced calls to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery. He did not.

READ MORE: ‘Gaps’ in Pope’s apology can’t be ignored, says Crown-Indigenous relations minister


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.