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Native Lands of the Southwest


Peacemaking Domestic Travel Study Seminar

April 28 – May 7, 2023

Native Lands of the Southwest: The Doctrine of Discovery and its Legacy Today


The lands of the American Southwest have been the home of Indigenous peoples for centuries. First contact with Europeans came in 1539, and a clash of cultures ensued.  The expansion of European empires into the Americas had the blessing of the Church from the very beginning. A series of 15th-century papal edicts known collectively as the Doctrine of Discovery gave Christian European governments the religious and legal justification to claim lands occupied by Indigenous peoples and to convert, enslave, or kill the inhabitants. The Doctrine also provided the basis for the 19th-century concept of Manifest Destiny that Euro-Americans were destined to expand westward and take possession of the North American continent “from sea to shining sea.”

In 2016 the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, and in 2018 the 223rd General Assembly urged sessions, mid-councils, seminaries, PW groups, and other organizations to confess their complicity and repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as well.

This Peacemaking Travel Study Seminar will journey from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Phoenix, Arizona, giving participants the opportunity to:

  • appreciate the rich history, cultures, and resilience of Indigenous peoples in the Southwest;
  • learn about the impact the Doctrine of Discovery has had on Indigenous peoples in the past and continues to have today; and
  • explore peacemaking issues such as land and water rights, intergenerational trauma, poverty and addiction, border town conflicts, environmental racism, the health effects of uranium mining, and the impact of boarding schools.

View Sample Schedule 


The seminar will last 8 full days with an additional 2 travel days of Friday, April 28 and Sunday, May 7.  Accommodations for nine nights are double-occupancy. Some single-occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge.  Those who choose to extend their travel either before or after the seminar may do so on their own and at their own expense.  


The seminar cost is $2,295. Cost is per person double occupancy including all seminar expenses (meals, accommodations, transportation, program, tips and tours).  Finalized information will be available soon. Participants book and pay for their own travel, arriving to Albuquerque (ABQ) on April 28 and departing from Phoenix (PHX) on May 7.

Application Due Date

Applications are due by December 15, 2022. After that time, applications will be considered as space is available.

Apply now

For more information

Contact the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program staff at or by calling 888-728-7228 x 5805.

Planning Team Members 

Nelson Capitan — New Laguna, NM (Santa Fe Presbytery)
Carl Horton — Louisville, KY (Mid-Kentucky Presbytery)
Kathy Mitchell — Chinle, AZ (Grand Canyon Presbytery)
Roger Powers — Albuquerque, NM (Santa Fe Presbytery)
Judy Wellington — Phoenix, AZ (Grand Canyon Presbytery)