New First Nation Documentary Film to be Showcased at Adelphi University (11/18)!!

DoctrineofDiscoveryIn commemoration of Native American Heritage Month, the documentary film Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code directed by Sheldon Wolfchild (of Sesame Street) will be screened at Adelphi University on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, at 6:30 pm. The event will be held at the Thomas Dixon Lovely Ballroom in the Ruth S. Harley University Center, 1 South Avenue, Garden City. The free event, co-sponsored by the Collaboration Project and the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies, is open to the public.

The hour-long film showcases the settlement of indigenous lands from the perspective of First Nation people by examining the cause and effects of an ancient doctrine that permitted Europeans to conquer lands and peoples around the world. It is traced to Vatican documents issued by popes in the fifteenth century, which purported to grant rights to claim dominion, in perpetuity, over non-Christian lands and their inhabitants.

The documentary is based on the book, Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, by Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape), who co-produced the film. Sheldon Wolfchild is an actor and producer who appeared in many films, including Dances With Wolves.

Narrated by renowned singer-songwriter, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Doctrine of Discovery exposes how the use of ancient papal and royal claims of Christian dominium continue to be used to this day against Original nations and Peoples of the continent, through U.S. Supreme Court precedents. The language of those precedents applies a Bible-premised claim of a right of discovery and domination.

A Q&A session will follow the event featuring the film producers about the continuing impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Native nations and peoples. The producers will address many questions such as: Why do the United States and other countries continue to claim a right of domination over the Original Native Nations? Why does the United States, on that basis, claim a right of “plenary power” over those Nations?

For more information about this program on campus, please contact Adjunct Professor Melissa Cornick at


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