THE “Doctrine of Discovery, Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts” is a challenging, truthful documentary. It is meant to educate people on the Doctrine and create an awareness of its legacy. We offer this study guide in hopes that it will allow for those watching an opportunity to discuss, ask questions and reflect.

It is recommended that the video be viewed in its entirety (67 minutes) and then broken down into discussion, reflection by the chapters, one or two at a time. You may want to add prayer or think of scripture that speaks to the concerns that are raised by the documentary. We have provided some suggested passages and questions for study at the end of this guide, should scripture be part of your custom. The message is important and will give understanding to the current state of Indigenous affairs on Turtle Island or North America. Understanding the Doctrine of Discovery and its manifestations are important as we strive for reconciliation. If appropriate, open and close with prayer. Smudging may also be appropriate depending on the customs of the community.

As is our custom, we ask you to sit in a circle, or around a table and live with these guidelines:

We live and breathe in a sacred circle of trust, hope and love. In the Sacred Circle we will honour the Seven Traditional Teachings: Love, Truth, Honesty, Bravery, Wisdom, Humility and Respect. The Circle will conduct their deliberations in a circle using the Seven Guiding Principles to Create and Sustain the Circular Model of Leadership:

  • SACRED SPACE: Where spirituality is fully present, a place where the Holy Spirit guides who we are and who we are called to become. Sacred space will be created using culturally appropriate ceremony.
  • SHARED LEADERSHIP: Each person is equally valued for themselves and equally shares the power within the community. Decisions are made by consensus and all information and resources are shared. Individual talents, skills and gifts are recognized and empowered.
  • VISION: When we dream it together, then it happens. A shared vision, owned and articulated by everyone, guarantees excellence in leadership.
  • NORMS: Standards of behavior agreed upon by the group. Norms are constantly reviewed and updated.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: To the vision, to shared leadership, and to all tasks. “First among equals” means there is an elected or designated chair of the Circle who relates to other interested parties. This person(s) is empowered by the Circle to act on its behalf, honouring the consensus model of decision making.
  • PRAYER AND CEREMONY are important to sustain the spirituality of self and the Circle.
  • CREATIVITY: Comes from the Creator and resides within everyone. The Creator gives everyone the power and authority to carry out the vision. The creative arts – graphic art, writing prose/poetry, music and dance, drumming and singing, drawing, drama, and meditation are examples of creative energy that give life to the Circle.

Study Guide by section

View and download each section of the video and study guide by section. You can also download the entire study guide for printing.


Section 2: Out of the Ether


Section 3: Not An Empty Land


Section 4: The Indian Problem


Section 5: Legacy Of Pain


Section 6: Legal Fiction


Section 7: The Métis Nation


Section 8: Trying to Stand


Section 9: The Good Mind


Section 10: Repudiation


Section 11: Spiritual Arrogance


Section 12: We Are Seeds