III – Terra Nullius

Nicolas-V-(from-Pitts-Theological-Archive) In 1455, Pope Nicolas V issued a papal bull titled Romanus Pontifex, under his authority as “Vicar of God” and authorized King Alfonso of Portugal to “invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue pagans and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed”, and “to seize all the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery”

In 1493, following the return of Christopher Columbus from America, Pope Alexander VI issued a new papal bull, titled Inter Caeteras. This bull drew a line on a map from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic pole and granted to the Spanish kings of Castile and Leon dominion forever over all the “islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, …no matter whether the said mainlands and islands are found …”. Only the lands claimed by other Christian monarchs prior to 1493 were not subject to the claim.

cabot-and-king-henryThese Popes, speaking in the name of God, had given the divine order to reduce non-Christian peoples to slavery and to rob us of everything that was rightfully ours. I had searched and searched and now, I had finally discovered the law of the white man. The law of the white man was Terra Nullius – that any man who did not worship at the altar of Jesus Christ could be seen as less than a human being, and any manner of harm could be done to such a man in the name of the Christian god.


With this knowledge, I looked beyond the sufferings of my own people and I learned about the suffering of my aboriginal brothers and what had been done in the name of this Terra Nullius, the doctrine that said our lands were empty because we were lesser than the Christian peoples and not human beings. See Terra Nullius and Land Grabs

I learned how the explorer Jacques Cartier kidnapped the sons of the great Iroquois warrior Donnacona and paraded them before the courts of King François 1st like circus animals. I learned how the great Pawnee nation had been forced to march out of their lands along the trail of tears and be resettled against their will. I learned how the government to the North had outlawed the culture and history of its original peoples and promoted their sterilization to “kill the Indian within”. I recalled the decimation of my own people by disease brought in by the white man, the hanging of our leaders and the seizure of our lands because we would not plough the soil in the way of the white man. I recalled the sufferings of my own people and those of my brother aboriginals and I wept that such devastation could be brought by such a lie.