Discovery: A Comic Lament May 31-June 3

A show about Land, Love and LossSaturday June 2 at St. Peter’s Lutheran church 7:30 pm. Tickets and details here  or at the door.

Discovery: A Comic Lament”Discovery-info1

Past history has a way of impacting the events of today. When that history has been unjust or racist and unacknowledged, it insinuates itself into actions and attitudes that are themselves unjust and racist. What needs to happen is a selfless examination of that history in the light of the love of God.

A shameful piece of past history is the “Doctrine of Discovery” which originated with an edict of the Christian church of the West and was used by European monarchies in the mid-15th century to legitimize colonizing the lands their explorers “discovered”. These directives led to centuries of discriminatory laws in both Canada and the United States.

The theory was that because Indigenous people were not Christian, they were not human, and thus the land was declared “empty”, or “terra nullius”. By placing a flag of their own country, these explorers claimed all the land, the vegetation, the animals and the people for their king and country. These edicts gave permission for the Europeans to conquer the world’s indigenous people and gave rise to genocide, residential schools, the rape and ravaging of the land.

In 1492 it is estimated that there were around 100 million Indigenous Peoples in North America, about 1/5th of the world’s population at the time. There were more than 600 Indigenous Nations. They had self government, unique and flourishing cultures, spiritual beliefs and a way of healthy living.

The Doctrine of Discovery has profoundly affected the way that Indigenous peoples have been perceived by non-Indigenous peoples. It has embedded itself in our laws and attitudes. Entire nations have lost their identity, their way of life and often their reason for living.

Discovery: A Comic Lament” is a play using a number of theatrical styles, including dance and comedy, starring Ted Swartz and Michelle Milne, written by Alison Brookins. A talk back session with opportunity for reflection and questions follows each performance. Invited guests, Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak (Good Hearted Women Singers) will open and close the evening with traditional songs, prayers and drumming.

This joint project of Mennonite, Lutheran, Anglican, United churches and other partners including people from the Islamic Centre of Cambridge.

The play will take place in four venues: May 31 at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, June 1 at Conrad Grebel University College, June 2 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Cambridge (Preston), and June 3 at Steinmann Mennonite Church, New Hamburg. All productions begin at 7:30 pm. Online tickets are $15/10 students plus a small processing fee. They can be purchased at: or at the door (if not sold out).

The play invites us to learn about and lament the ongoing legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery and to connect with Indigenous-led healing and justice efforts. It is another step toward better understanding and relationships with our Indigenous sisters and brothers.

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