Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings 2

Yesterday I wrote of my conflicts with Quakers, which stem from lack of response to atrocities of institutions of forced assimilation. Which Quakers had been involved with.

Native organizations are not asking us to judge our Quaker ancestors. They are asking, “Who are Friends today? Knowing what we know now, will Quakers join us in honest dialogue? Will they acknowledge the harm that was done? Will they seek ways to contribute toward healing processes that are desperately needed in Native communities?”

Paula Palmer

Will Quakers join us in honest dialogue?

Yesterday’s post included conflict resolution ground rules from Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems by Joy Harjo. Following she discusses skills to enhance mutual trust and respect.


  • If you sign this paper we will become brothers. We will no longer fight. We will give you this land and these waters “as long as the grass shall grow and the rivers run.”
  • The lands and waters they gave us did not belong to them to give. Under false pretenses we signed. After drugging by drink, we signed. With a mass of gunpower pointed at us, we signed. With a flotilla of war ships at our shores, we signed. We are still signing. We have found no peace in this act of signing.
  • A casino was raised up over the gravesite of our ancestors. Our own distant cousins pulled up the bones of grandparents, parents, and grandchildren from their last sleeping place. They had forgotten how to be human beings. Restless winds emerged from the earth when the graves were open and the winds went looking for justice.
  • If you raise this white flag of peace, we will honor it.
  • At Sand Creek several hundred women, children, and men were slaughtered in an unspeakable massacre, after a white flag was raised. The American soldiers trampled the white flag in the blood of the peacemakers.
  • There is a suicide epidemic among native children. It is triple the rate of the rest of America. “It feels like wartime,” said a child welfare worker in South Dakota.
  • If you send your children to our schools we will train them to get along in this changing world. We will educate them.
  • We had no choice. They took our children. Some ran away and froze to death. If they were found they were dragged back to the school and punished. They cut their hair, took away their language, until they became as strangers to themselves even as they became strangers to us.
  • If you sign this paper we will become brothers. We will no longer fight. We will give you this land and these waters in exchange “as long as the grass shall grow and the rivers run.”
  • Put your hand on this bible, this blade, this pen, this oil derrick, this gun and you will gain trust and respect with us. Now we can speak together as one.
  • We say, put down your papers, your tools of coercion, your false promises, your posture of superiority and sit with us before the fire. We will share food, songs, and stories. We will gather beneath starlight and dance, and rise together at sunrise.
  • White House, or Chogo Hvtke, means the house of the peacekeeper, the keepers of justice. We have crossed this river to speak to the white leader for peace many times since these settlers first arrived in our territory and made this their place of governance.
  • These streets are our old trails, curved to fit around trees.

Harjo, Joy. Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems. W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

That is the opposite of mutual trust and respect. Particularly related to the remains of thousands of Native children on the grounds of institutions of forced assimilation.

Quakers should support Indigenous leadership. Show up. Follow Native social media sites. Attend events posted there.

I follow the Great Plains Action Society. And am part of Des Moines Mutual Aid, which is supported by Great Plains Action Society, including involvement of my friend Ronnie James, an Indigenous organizer.

The website LANDBack Friends has information about these things, including An Epistle to Friends Regarding Community, Mutual Aid and LANDBACK

Friends should not add to the burden of Indigenous peoples. Instead find events such as the above, and show up for support. But do NOT try to offer suggestions, etc.

A focus of Great Plains Action Society is stop whitewashing the truth.

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