back to Steven Newcomb | many worlds | rat haus | Index | Search | tree
Editor’s note: the original film of this transcript was produced by Lakota People’s Law Project. The source copy on the LPLP site is

Steven Newcomb: Confronting the System of Christian Domination
Lakota People’s Law Project
Artwork by Russell Brutsché, Flute by Kerri Lake [1, 2], Jan 2019

video, mp3 (5:06)
Steve Newcomb
Indigenous Law Institute Co-Founder
We cannot as Indigenous Peoples or Original Nations and Peoples, we cannot be on the ship coming toward our own ancestors in the way that history is taught. We have to understand ourselves as being on the shore looking out at that ship as it’s coming in. And we have to be standing next to our ancestors, so to speak, but with the hindsight that we have all these centuries later to try to come to terms with really, truly what has happened to our nations and peoples.

Typically what scholars do is they take the word Christian and they replace it with the word European, and then they say that the Doctrine of Discovery is the first Europeans to locate non-European lands and claiming a right of a dominion or a right to take over those lands.

My way of characterizing it is to say that it is the first Christian people to locate the lands of heathens and infidels, or what they would title heathens and infidels, and claiming the right of ultimate Dominion to be in themselves such as we see in the Johnson versus McIntosh ruling.

I began to understand that this conflict between the colonizers, from what was called Christendom and our Original Nations and Peoples, is a conflict based upon a religious perspective that they held but an imperial religious perspective of the Christian Empire, Christiani Imperii in Latin. Then that information began to inform and influence the development of what they call US federal indian law which is simply an idea system premised on a claim of a right of domination. And that’s what they’ve been using against our Nation’s and People’s ever since they got over here.

The international working definition of the word, indigenous, means dominated peoples. In other words it’s the original people of a given place that are existing there, and a secondary population comes in and through conquest, settlement, and other means, establishes dominance over them. So that dominance is considered to be a given, and there’s nothing in the definition that suggests that one day that dominance or that system of domination will be removed. It’s just supposed to be there forever.

And so indigenous rights are the rights of indigenous peoples, the rights of dominated peoples, is the rights that are accorded to them under that system of domination. When they said, Abolish Apartheid, they said Abolish Apartheid, they didn’t say give give them rights under apartheid. They didn’t try to expand the scope of the rights under that apartheid system, they wanted to get rid of that whole system.

Now you have ecological systems and collapse, the die-off of all the insects, you have the Sixth Extinction that’s happening, you have Fukushima, all the radiation from that. You can go on and list a whole litany of all the different symptoms and effects and consequences of domination and dehumanization. But most people don’t name it that. And then now these people are living in the wreckage of that psychological dysfunction and these other people that caused that act blameless. They bear no responsibility.

So how do we get rid of the domination system that afflicts the planet at this time? It has been afflicting it for so many centuries, thousands of years. That’s the real challenge.

About the Lakota People’s Law Project — Learn more:
back to Steven Newcomb | many worlds | rat haus | Index | Search | tree