CHM Event

First Tuesday Talks: Dr. Robert Miller “Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny and Oregon”

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Coos History Museum, Sprague Gallery, Coos Bay


Online bookings are not currently available for this event. Admission, if applicable, is payable at the front desk.

North America was colonized under an international legal principle that is known today as the Doctrine of Discovery. When Europeans and Americans set out to explore and exploit new lands in the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries, they justified their governmental and property claims over these territories and over the indigenous inhabitants with the Discovery Doctrine. This legal principle was created and justified by religious and ethnocentric ideas of European and Christian superiority over the other cultures, religions, and races of the world. The Doctrine provided that newly arrived Europeans automatically acquired property rights in native lands and gained governmental, political, and commercial rights over the inhabitants without the knowledge or the consent of the indigenous people. When Euro-Americans planted their flags and religious symbols in “newly discovered” lands, they were undertaking well-recognized legal procedures and rituals of Discovery to demonstrate their country’s legal claim over the lands and peoples. Professor Miller will explain the doctrine and how it became American Manifest Destiny and led to the United States acquiring the Oregon Country.

Copies of Dr. Miller’s book, Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies will be available for sale in the museum store. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Robert J. Miller is a professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and the faculty director of the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program. He was appointed in June 2016 to the Navajo Nation Council of Economic Advisors. Bob was elected to memberships in the American Law Institute in 2012 and in the American Philosophical Society in 2014 (which elected only 5,506 members 1743-2014). He graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School and clerked for Judge O’Scannlain of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bob is a justice on the Grand Ronde Tribe Court of Appeals and for other tribes. He has written dozens of articles, books, editorials, and book chapters on Indian law issues, and spoken at conferences in over thirty states and in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, and India. He is the author of three books: Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies; Reservation Capitalism: Economic Development in Indian Country and Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark and Manifest Destiny. His third book, Reservation “Capitalism:” Economic Development in Indian Country, was published in 2012 and came out in paperback in 2013. Bob is a citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

Doors open at 6pm
Museum exhibits and store open until 8:30pm
Free with paid museum admission
CHM Members get in free

First Tuesday Talks are sponsored by Al Peirce Company with additional support from The Mill Casino.

All events subject to change.