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Dr. Robert J. Miller

Dr. Robert J. Miller

COOS BAY — The August First Tuesday Talk will begin at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Coos History Museum. Guest speaker Dr. Robert J. Miller, professor of law, will deliver "Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny and Oregon."

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 15th through the 20th 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. Miller will explain the doctrine and how it became American Manifest Destiny and led to the United States acquiring the Oregon Country. 

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. Miller 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. Miller 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. His third book, "Reservation “Capitalism:” Economic Development in Indian Country," was published in 2012 and came out in paperback in 2013. Miller is a citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

Tuesday Talks are free to Coos History Museum members and free with a paid admission of $7. The museum is located at 1210 N. Front St. on the waterfront of Coos Bay.

For more information visit www.cooshistory.org.

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