Yesterday afternoon a group of Midwest Quakers gathered via Zoom in response to the terrible news of the remains of children at Native residential schools in Canada. Tragically there is no doubt many more will be found.
We began with an hour of worship together. For those not familiar, many Quakers worship in silence. If so led, vocal messages can be given. Afterword we had a discussion about what we might do.
I believe those gathered shared my appreciation for a chance to listen for the Spirit, and to each other, for strength and guidance for what we might be called to do. Many, if not all of us, wonder what our responsibility is for the trauma of forced assimilation. We are aware that Quakers played some role in some of those institutions in the land called the United States.
These traumas have been passed from generation to generation. Described as an open wound in Native communities today.
We must look to Indigenous peoples to learn how we can support them. I’ve been asked to tell people about the concept of LANDBACK. I created the website https://landbackfriends.com/ as one way to do that. There you can find explanations of the concepts of LANDBACK and Mutual Aid. And a number of posts about Native residential schools.
Also there is An Epistle to Friends Regarding Community, Mutual Aid and LANDBACK. This is based on An Epistle to Friends Concerning Military Conscription that was signed by Iowa Friends Roy Knight and Don Laughlin, among others. That espistle discussed options related to military conscription and made the case for draft resistance.
If you are so led, you can add your signature to the LANDBACK epistle. You can also add your email address if you’d like updates.
My friend Christine Nobiss, of the Great Plains Action Society, asks us to support the July 4th event Stop Whitewashing Genocide and Slavery This is a real opportunity for us to demonstrate our support for her work. I would also encourage you to invite young people to attend.
Photos I took at last year’s event can be found below.