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We begin this episode with a land acknowledgement.

Show Notes

In the most recent episode of our podcast, we delved into the past and present implications of the Doctrine of Discovery and its profound impact on Indigenous nations and the natural world. Onondaga Nation Turtle Clan Faithkeeper Oren Lyons outlined the complicated recent history of Indigenous struggles for justice and the natural world. He highlighted the urgency of seeking to address our climate crisis especially as the ice is melting.

Imagine facing a past rooted in subjugation and suppression, only to transform it into a future of balance, peace, and environmental preservation. That’s the journey we’re embarking on in today’s episode. We’ll uncover the dark legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery and its devastating effects on our environment, while also revealing the relentless struggle of Indigenous people to reclaim their sovereignty and voices. The situation is urgent; our planet is at a crossroads, teetering on the precipice of an irrevocable environmental crisis.

Examining the Doctrine of Discovery in the 18th century, Faithkeeper Lyons discusses the alliances, betrayals and and political maneuvers by the settler-colonial nations. He also talks about controversial Indigenous figures like Joseph Brant, who sided with the British, and how the Oneida took the side of the Americans. These examples will serve as a backdrop for Washington’s Sullivan Clinton Campaign, which was ignited by Joseph Brandt’s actions.

Lastly, the conversation turns toward life’s delicate balance. Drawing inspiration from the Great Law of Peace and the Tree of Peace, Faithkeeper Lyons reminds us that all living beings must live in harmony, and none are better. Listen to Faithkeeper Lyons weaves stories of finding a balance between the positive and negative forces within us, the importance of savoring each day, giving thanks, and being careful not to burden others. Faithkeeper Lyons leaves us with a challenge, that getting the best out of the day is a choice, and so is seeking peace in life’s tumultuous journey. This episode is more than just a history lesson; it’s an invitation to find a balance in life and to contemplate our roles in nature’s delicate balance.

Next, we shifted our focus to the concept of balance — both in our individual lives and in the larger context of the environment. Drawing inspiration from the Tree of Peace, a symbol of harmony and unity among the Iroquois people, we discussed the importance of finding balance between the positive and negative forces within us. This extends to our relationship with the environment, emphasizing the necessity to find equilibrium in our use and preservation of natural resources.

In a world teetering on the brink of an irrevocable environmental climate crisis, this episode is more than just a history lesson. It is an urgent call to action and a reminder of the resilience of Indigenous peoples in the face of centuries of oppression. We are invited to seek balance in our lives, to contemplate our role in the preservation of nature’s delicate balance, and to acknowledge the essential wisdom of Indigenous societies in guiding us towards a sustainable future. As Faithkeeper Lyons reminds us, we need a value change for survival.

In conclusion, our discussion highlighted the interconnectedness of history, culture, and the environment. It underscored the importance of acknowledging past injustices and learning from them to shape a future where balance, peace, and environmental preservation are prioritized. As we stand at a critical crossroads, it is imperative that we heed the lessons of the past and commit to a more balanced, equitable, and sustainable future.



  • Music: Onondaga Social Dance songs performed by Orris Edwards and Regis Cook
  • Producers: Jordan Loewen-Colón and Adam DJ Brett
  • Show notes: Adam DJ Brett


Philip P. Arnold and Sandra Bigtree, “S02E08: Exploring the Doctrine of Discovery, Indigenous Struggles, and the Pursuit of Balance Part 2 with Oren Lyons,” Mapping the Doctrine of Discovery (Podcast), August 10, 2023. https://podcast.doctrineofdiscovery.org/season2/episode-08/.

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