Neither a Democrat or a Republican, Charles, who lives in Washington D.C., is running as an independent.
Washington, D.C. — With a release of a YouTube video, Mark Charles, a tribal citizen of the Navajo Nation, announced he is running for president of the United States in 2020.
Charles, who is one of the country’s leading experts on the Doctrine of Discovery, challenges Americans to get past the current politics of whether America needs to be great again or the opposing viewpoint that America is already great and enter into a national dialogue that involves race, gender, and class.
He calls his campaign an 18-month journey.
In his announcement video that runs almost nine minutes, Charles argues “We the People” in the U.S. Constitution was not inclusive of women or Native Americans and considered African American slaves as being only 3/5 of a person. Charles says even with the attempt to remedy the injustice of slavery of African Americans, the United States now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with a disproportionate number of people of color.
Charles says “We the people has never meant all the people.” He feels it is time for inclusion. He says it is time for “we the people to truly mean all the people.”
Charles has a TEDx Talk on the connection between the Doctrine of Discovery and our structural foundations in the U.S. He calls on us to engage in creating a common memory as a nation in order to heal.
“What our nation needs is not for Democrats to be better Democrats. Nor do we need Republicans to simply be better Republicans. We need Americans, ALL Americans, to be better humans.”
What is the Doctrine of Discovery?
Papal bulls of the 15th century gave Christian explorers the right to claim lands they “discovered” and lay claim to those lands for their Christian monarchs.
Any land that was not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered”, claimed, and exploited. If the “pagan” inhabitants could be converted, they might be spared. If not, they could be enslaved or killed. The Discovery Doctrine is a concept of public international law expounded by the United States Supreme Court in a series of decisions, initially in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823.
The doctrine was Chief Justice John Marshall’s explanation of the way in which colonial powers laid claim to newly discovered lands during the Age of Discovery. Under it, title to newly discovered lands lay with the government whose subjects discovered new territory. The doctrine has been primarily used to support decisions invalidating or ignoring aboriginal possession of land in favor of colonial or postcolonial governments.
John Marshall, who is most credited with describing the doctrine, did not voice wholehearted support of the doctrine even while using it to justify judicial decisions. He pointed to the doctrine as simple fact, looking at the possession and takings which had been supported by it as things which had occurred and had to be recognized.
The supposedly inferior character of native cultures was a reason for the doctrine having been used, but whether or not that was justified was not relevant for Marshall. This doctrine governs United States Indian Law today and has been cited as recently as 2005 in the decision City Of Sherrill V. Oneida Indian Nation Of N.Y.
Watch the video, Mark Charles for President 2020.