Comic and conversational looks at the continuing legacy of colonization

By wayne.steffen on February 2, 2018 @ 1:29pm
Dramatic presentation: Discovery – The Requirement Signing

Two events, different in tone but alike in intent, portray a more accurate history of relationships between European and indigenous peoples—and their descendants today.

“The Doctrine of Discovery, the Christian Church, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” and Discovery: A Comic Lament use conversation and theater to turn a critical eye on the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal concept used by governments in Europe and the United States between the mid-fifteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries to justify colonizing lands and the indigenous people who lived on them. The effects of the doctrine are still felt today, in issues such as the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“The Doctrine of Discovery, the Christian Church, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” is hosted by Sarah Augustine, co-founder of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition. The free event will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 15, 2018, in College Community Church Mennonite Brethren, 2529 Willow Ave., Clovis. More about the issue at

Discovery: A Comic Lament will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 16, 2018, in North Fresno Church Mennonite Brethren, 5724 N. Fresno St., Fresno. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students, payable at the door and at

The play offers “both comic and challenging glimpses into the absurdity of white settler oppression of Indigenous Peoples and the land we live on,” according to Produced by Ted & Company Theaterworks, Discovery stars Ted Swartz, owner/creative director of Ted & Co., and Michelle Milne. Alison Brookins is the author, and Phil Weaver-Stoesz the director.

Sponsors for the events include Fresno Pacific University Theater Department and Center for Peacemaking & Conflict Studies, , Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference Mennonite Church USA, the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition, Mennonite Peacemakers, West Coast Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Mission Network and the JustPax Fund.

Photos: Above, Schwartz and Milne. Below: Augustine