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Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery Paperback – January 29, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...shines an informative light into understanding the conscious-and unconscious-founding principles of 'the United States of America' empire." -- The Indypendent, April 25, 2008

"...a must-read for anybody wishing to understand what truly motivates American policy towards the indigenous peoples within its borders." -- Blogcritics.org, April 27, 2008

"...a powerful book. Read it and you'll understand how this dominating mentality influences U.S. domestic and foreign policy today." -- Indian Country Today, April 23, 2008

In "Pagans in the Promised Land," Steven Newcomb...argues that Indian law scholars fail to appreciate the religious dimensions of Marshall's decision. Newcomb, who is Shawnee/Lenape, also breaks new ground by making use of "the tools and methods of cognitive theory" in order to expose-and challenge-the "negative, oppressive, and dominating concepts that have been mentally and, from an indigenous perspective, illegitimately imposed on our existence." While other scholars have explored the religious underpinnings of the doctrine of discovery, Newcomb offers new insights by consciously connecting "the biblical basis of the claimed right of Christian discovery and dominion" with the "mentality of empire and domination." By its use of cognitive theory, Pagans in the Promised Land presents a new perspective on the doctrine of discovery. Newcomb forcefully argues that an essential part of the decolonizing process "must occur in the mind." His book sets forth a fresh way to think about, and decode, federal Indian law. --Great Plains Research Vol. 19 No. 2, 2009 from the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln by Blake A. Watson, University of Dayton School of Law

I enthusiastically agree with Newcomb's conclusions: we must reject and move away from the Conqueror model as well as the Chosen People-Promised Land model of the Old Testament; we must recognize that these models are embedded in federal Indian law and are simply falsehoods based on the American imagination; and we must learn the power of traditional Indigenous knowledge for the sake of ourselves and all of humankind in this new era of American dominion. This book is a great piece for all scholars of Indigenous studies, an especially great piece for teachers, and, as hinted at before, an excellent piece for white Americans in need of beginning lessons in understanding why Indians might still be a little upset about history. --American Indian Quarterly, Fall 2009 by Leola Tsinnajinnie, University of New Mexico

About the Author

Steven T. Newcomb (Shawnee/Lenape) is the indigenous law research coordinator at the Sycuan education department of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in San Diego County, California. He is cofounder and codirector of the Indigenous Law Institute, a fellow with the American Indian Policy and Media Initiative at Buffalo State College in New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing; 3d edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555916422
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555916428
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pontifex Maximus on November 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pagans in the Promised Land is a text that posits the academic and legal truths about the "Christian Doctrine of Discovery." The text exposes the Christian roots that grow back through the "U.S. Supreme Court" toward the "Papacy" and "Holy Church," which reveals the self-evident truth that not all men are created equal from the Christian perspective.

Moreover, the idea of separating the church from state in the U.S. is really an illusion. In fact, it is the "Christian Doctrine of Discovery" that U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Marshall effectively integrates into U.S. and International Law for the purpose of expanding the "holy church's [and American]empire." In so doing, oppressing and dispossessing indigenous people and the Native Nations around the world of their land, property, liberty, freedom, independence, and basic human rights.

Newcomb effectively weaves the understanding that Christianity is just a religious ethnocentric construct. A racist mind set that metaphorically places "The White Man's Imagination" at the center of the universe, making the white Christian "divinely" superior to all other races on the planet/universe, as affirmed by St. Peter in the Popes' Papal Bull documents. Therefore, giving themselves the self-proclaimed "divine" right to be the "Chosen People" to wage "Crusade" on ANY land inhabited by the non-Christian and thereby claiming those lands in the name of the Christain Monarchs.

This book is a tough read for the Christian, but is a must-read for those wanting to understand the "Why" behind the ongoing oppression and genocide of indigenous people around the world.

Pagans in the Promised Land is a book that will either scare you back into your narrow paradigm of comfort & hypocrisy, or shock your paradigm into shifting toward a greater level of enlightenment and causing you to challenge the fundamental ideas of liberty, freedom, justice, independence, and equality for all human beings.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Is the United States policy on the Native American Indians far more based in religion than we believe? "Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery" is a look at the government's relations with the native people of this country and how the treatment of the natives, non-Christian indigenously, may be part of a sub-conscious Christian doctrine that the country has been following for centuries. Intriguing information from first page to last, "Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery" is deftly written and highly recommended to community library Native American studies collections.
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Format: Paperback
Every educator or world peace advocate must read this book. Passionate and compelling arguments inspire readers to be more informed about overlooked and archaic policies in the U.S. Government. This contemporary work examines and explores doctrines that began with Indian Nations and are still being implemented in other areas of the modern world. Pagans in the Promised Land written by a Native American Scholar, Steven Newcomb, delivers some stimulating arguments based on over 20 years of research. This book is a must read for all universities prompting engaging classroom discussions.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sterling West on May 21, 2014
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A commentary by a United Methodist Pastor on the book "Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery" by Steven T. Newcomb (2008; Fulcrum Press. ISBN 978-1-55591-642-8).

A little background for those of you who are unfamiliar with "decolonization". Anthropologically speaking, decolonization refers to the effort to systematically remove all forms of the invasive and pernicious effects of colonization upon indigenous peoples. Further, decolonization includes developing ones ability to understand and discuss non-European cultures from an unbiased and non-Western perspective. In other words, decolonization finally offers "voice" to the First Nations of the Americas. Native American nations have experienced 500 years of the destructive affects of Euro-American colonization upon their bodies, minds, spirits, souls and psyches. Decolonization thinking attempts to un-do or at least seriously address this destruction. There is a growing body of research and writings which contribute to such decolonization thinking, including "Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery".

For those unfamiliar with it, decolonization literature can seem frightening or "radical" because it tells history's tales and approaches the truth of existence from completely different perspectives than those with which the mainstream is familiar. In the case of the North American continent, the tales are told (and assumes that the world works) from an indigenous worldview, NOT a Euro-American one. Euro-American critics of decolonization bandy about terms like "revisionist history".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Gilbert on August 29, 2011
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Reading Pagans in the Promised Land has re-interpreted for me our history in North America. I am not Native American, but have become involved in their wisdom and truth after spending time with Indigenous Peoples, including Native Americans, at the UN. Around the world the Indigenous Peoples are communicating with each other and standing up to speak with one voice about their common beliefs and interests. Great things are going on.

Right now there is an important convergence of interests among Indigenous Nations and others who love the living Earth and want to work toward restoring the planet's health. Pagans in the Promised Land has provided me with the context I need to sustain my activism. I love the lawyer-ly attention to detail and to getting things straight. There is truth to the analysis of metaphor in our shared history. I am grateful for this book and will share what I have learned as well as recommending it to others.

Mary Gilbert
Quaker Earthcare Ministry
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