I had the honor and privilege to read 'The Land is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery' by Sarah Augustine in advance and write a study guide for it. My life has been richly blessed by what Sarah Augustine teaches in this text and I highly recommend everyone read it!
First, Augustine spends some time defining the Doctrine of Discovery, both academically/historically and with personal/practical examples. If the title feels daunting because you are not familiar with the Doctrine of Discovery, never fear, Augustine will take the time to catch you up.
Second, Augustine takes care to elaborate her personal context and how that situates her within the work of Indigenous sovereignty and dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery. Through this contextual testimony, Augustine invites us into our own contextual work.
Third, Augustine documents and details her journey in solidarity and repair work through experiential examples. She challenges us to challenge, expand, redefine, and act upon solidarity and repair work in community together, being attentive to who is, and who isn’t, at the table.
Fourth, Augustine drives home the essential work and call upon Christians and the Church to be at the forefront of dismantling the doctrine of discovery and solidarity and repair work. Augustine invites us to interrogate our theology, our investments, our mindsets, how we spend/use our money/property, and challenges us to truly follow a ‘Jesus Way’ in our solidarity and repair work.
Part of this work is aided by Augustine’s detailed explanation of cosmologies and theologies from Indigenous lenses. White settlers/dominant culture are invited to recognize our blind spots, our idols, and our agency to be actively invoked in solidarity and repair work with indigenous communities. Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery starts in our personal lives, in our churches, and in our community politics/social work.
Finally, solidarity and repair work is active, ongoing, and relational. White settler/dominant western culture loves easy/symbolic gestures. However, solidarity and repair work is the ongoing choice of actively stepping out of the comfort of white supremacy and dominant western culture to be in relationship and resistance with oppressed communities. It is action. It is relationship. It is ongoing. And it demands that we rethink all mindsets and beliefs we take for granted. This is the work of solidarity and repair. This is the work of dismantling the doctrine of discovery. And Augustine lays all of this out in a powerful, relatable, and convicting way.
Start the work of solidarity and repair today by grabbing this book, hunkering down, and getting ready to start the journey of dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery with Sarah Augustine as your initial guide.