Recent articles on LANDBack Friends

I’ve been writing new blog posts on LANDBACK Friends (LANDBackFriends.com) because those are the issues I’m learning and writing about now. Here is a list of July’s posts there:

July1Replanning Human Life – LANDBACK FriendsReplanning Human Life – LANDBACK Friends
 1Prefab Communities – LANDBACK FriendsPrefab Communities – LANDBACK Friends
 3Support the BIPOC struggle in Iowa – LANDBACK FriendsSupport the BIPOC struggle in Iowa – LANDBACK Friends
 4July 4 Nexus – LANDBACK FriendsJuly 4 Nexus – LANDBACK Friends
 5  National holidays, Indigenous leadership and buried children – LANDBACK Friends  National holidays, Indigenous leadership and buried children – LANDBACK Friends  
 6Four Indigenous Climbers Arrested “LANDBACK” – LANDBACK FriendsFour Indigenous Climbers Arrested “LANDBACK” – LANDBACK Friends
 7The quiet became unbearable – LANDBACK FriendsThe quiet became unbearable – LANDBACK Friends
 8Tensions between Native peoples and Christian religions – LANDBACK FriendsTensions between Native peoples and Christian religions – LANDBACK Friends
 8Iowa Prairie Conference – LANDBACK FriendsIowa Prairie Conference – LANDBACK Friends
 9Caught in a trap – LANDBACK FriendsCaught in a trap – LANDBACK Friends
 11Conflict Resolution 1 – LANDBACK FriendsConflict Resolution 1 – LANDBACK Friends
 12Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings 2 – LANDBACK FriendsConflict Resolution for Holy Beings 2 – LANDBACK Friends
 13Intertwined threads – LANDBACK FriendsIntertwined threads – LANDBACK Friends
 14Indigenous children stolen to open the West – LANDBACK FriendsIndigenous children stolen to open the West – LANDBACK Friends
 14The return of children from Carlisle boarding school – LANDBACK FriendsThe return of children from Carlisle boarding school – LANDBACK Friends
 15Repatriation of Rosebud Sioux Tribe Children at Carlisle Indian Industrial School – LANDBACK FriendsRepatriation of Rosebud Sioux Tribe Children at Carlisle Indian Industrial School – LANDBACK Friends
 15Carlisle Indian School images – LANDBACK FriendsCarlisle Indian School | CCHS | The Cumberland County Historical Society’s Carlisle Indian School Collection
 169 Children of the Sicangu Oyate traveling home to Lakota Makoce – LANDBACK Friends9 Children of the Sicangu Oyate traveling home to Lakota Makoce – LANDBACK Friends
 16Prayers offered in Sioux City as remains of Native children return to their native lands – LANDBACK FriendsPrayers offered in Sioux City as remains of Native children return to their native lands – LANDBACK Friends
 21From Apology to Action – LANDBACK Friends  (Web view)From Apology to Action – LANDBACK Friends
Posted in #LANDBACK, First Nations, Indigenous, Native Americans, Quaker, residential schools | Leave a comment

Black Children’s Memorial burned

These are photos I took earlier in the year when I noticed this memorial in the neighborhood of the church where we, Des Moines Mutual Aid, fill about sixty boxes of food to distribute to those in need.

Then I heard reports about a fire at the memorial.

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) — Fire officials say a fire that badly damaged a historic Des Moines building turned makeshift Black children’s memorial is being investigated as “suspicious.”

The fire early Wednesday morning destroyed a memorial created last summer by the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement. It honored Black Iowa youth who have died or gone missing in recent years.

The memorial was at the entrance to the 132-year-old former North Des Moines City Hall, which has been unoccupied for many years. BLM does not own the building but is using the damage to call on residents to replenish the memorial with red, yellow, and purple flowers.

‘Suspicious’ fire damages Black children’s memorial in Des Moines, Associated Press, June 24, 2021


This morning after working with my friends at the Des Moines Mutual Aid food giveaway, I took the following photos.

Posted in Black Lives, Des Moines Black Lives Matter, race, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More posts on LANDBACKFriends.com

Most of my new posts will be published on landbackfriends.com

Here are the most recent:

Quaker meeting 6/27/2021

Proximity and perspective

In their silence; they woke the world

Incomprehensible

Monuments to White Supremacy July 4, 2020

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Our communities are still mourning

Trauma is passed from generation to generation. The recent documentation of the remains of 215 Native children at a boarding school in Canada has re-opened deep wounds in Native communities.

Some of my Native friends have shared how this affects them and their families today. Many have been triggered by this atrocity. One of my Native friends wrote that she was NOT OK. Another told me, “I’m trying not to be enraged in my mourning.” Secretary Haaland says, “Our communities are still mourning”.

Our communities are still mourning – LANDBACK Friends

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Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative

Yesterday I wrote how the verification of the remains of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School affected my Native friends and me.

That discovery prompted Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to announce a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, for a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.

Boarding schools – LANDBACK Friends

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Space between stories, worlds

Yesterday’s post on LandBackFriends.com is:

Space between stories, worlds – LANDBACK Friends

I’m planning to be writing on LandBackFriends.com for the near future. I’m posting the links to the most recent posts here in case those of you who have subscribed to Quakers, social justice and revolution Quakers, social justice and revolution would like to subscribe to LANDBACK Friends.

Thanks for reading on either site!

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To End Racial Capitalism, We Will Need to Take on Policing

Today’s post on LANDBack Friends

TO END RACIAL CAPITALISM, WE WILL NEED TO TAKE ON POLICING – LANDBACK Friends

Posted in #LANDBACK, abolition, Black Lives, capitalism, Des Moines Mutual Aid, police, prison, white supremacy | Leave a comment

Moral Injury

The concept of moral injury is helpful for me in the context of the tragedies of the Indian boarding schools and my relationship with my Quaker community.

Here is the link to today’s post about this on LANDBACK Friends

Moral Injury – LANDBACK Friends

Posted in #LANDBACK, Indigenous, moral injury, Mutual Aid, Native Americans, Quaker, Quaker Meetings, Uncategorized, white supremacy | Leave a comment

Multiple Spiritual Communities

I recently wrote Spiritual discernment to leave Quakers. After that, though, I admit I thought, ‘what have I done? What now?’

I am a bit off balance. Writing helps me find my way through things I don’t have a good understanding of. I try to be spiritually aware as I write. But especially in this case, what follows is definitely work in progress.

It’s a paradox to distance myself from Quakers while at the same time wanting to continue to work with Friends to disavow capitalism, white supremacy and the vast tapestry of damage that comes from them. When I need spiritual support.

Recently I became aware I have a spiritual community with my Native friends, too.

In 2016, I felt an immediate spiritual connection the first time a group of Native people joined a gathering in downtown Indianapolis, to bring attention to the dangers of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Gathering to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, Indianapolis, 2016

Retiring to Iowa in 2017, I was led to a number of opportunities to form friendships with Native people. In the years since, these friendships have deepened. There have been numerous occasions for us to work together. Get to know each other. The photo below is from the beginning of the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March in the fall of 2018. A small group of about 30 Native and non-native people walked and camped together over eight days, for 94 miles along the path of the Dakota Access pipeline. The intention of this sacred journey came to fruition as we shared our stories, walking down empty gravel roads through rural Iowa. We began to know each other, to establish trust. Along the way my friend Donnielle Wanatee said, “we are a tribe.” Many blog posts, photos and videos of the March can be found here
First Nation-Farmer Unity – First Nation peoples and farmers working together (firstnationfarmer.com)

This quote by some of my friends speaks to storytelling and Mutual Aid.

Truthsgiving is an ideology that must be enacted through truth telling and mutual aid to discourage colonized ideas about the thanksgiving mythology—not a name switch so we can keep doing the same thing. It’s about telling and doing the truth on this day so we can stop dangerous stereotypes and whitewashed history from continuing to harm Indigenous lands and Peoples, as well as Black, Latinx, Asian-American and all oppressed folks on Turtle Island.

Truthsgiving
Beginning of First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, Sept 1, 2018

Mutual Aid

One way I have continued to learn about Native peoples has been becoming involved in Mutual Aid, which includes Indigenous people. One of the basic tenants of Mutual Aid is everyone comes together to work on the needs of the community. I am so grateful to have become part of Des Moines Mutual Aid. One of the many things I love about my Mutual Aid community is how our spirituality is fundamental to the work we do together, even if the words aren’t spoken.

Those who know me are probably surprised not to see photos of my Mutual Aid friends. That is because police scan social media photos and videos to identify people to subsequently arrest. Not that Mutual Aid is illegal. But Des Moines Mutual Aid folks work closely with Des Moines Black Liberation, and show up at public events. There has been a great deal of unrest in a few cities in Iowa related to George Floyed and police violence.

I admit there have been times when I wished our Quaker communities did more work like my Mutual Aid group. This diverse group of friends embrace the idea of a horizontal hierarchy where everyone has a voice. And are so gracious with those who come in need of food, for example. We know this hunger is the result of the capitalist economy, not the fault of the people needing food. And know we may at some point find ourselves in need of food. We look forward to being together each week. And to be doing work to immediately address survival needs. Something is right when such a diverse group works with such enthusiasm. Several people have told me our Saturday mornings are the highlight of their week. Mine, too.

See: “mutual aid” | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)

Forced assimilation and genocide

Over the past several years the horrors of the Native residential schools have become more widely known in White communities, and among white Quakers. My Friend Paula Palmer’s ministry about this has been teaching Quakers about the forced assimilation of Native children. Her research into Quakers’ role in this can be found in her article in Friends Journal, which has a telling title. Quaker Indian Boarding Schools. Facing our History and Ourselves – Friends Journal And is the best resource I have found on this subject.

I can not feel the depths of the trauma of my Native friends, which has been triggered yet again, this time with the verification of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school in British Columbia. 

But I do see, hear, sense the signs of their utter devastation. Up close and personal as they say. Our spiritual connection is one dimension of this. One of my best friends told me, “I’m trying not to be enraged in my mourning”.

So we have this situation where both my Native friends and I know of this terrible history, and Quakers having some part in it. I’ve written a lot about talking about the residential schools with my Native friends. Spiritual discernment to leave Quakers | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)

I didn’t know if I could face my friends after this latest atrocity, and had been writing about it on my blog.

When I shared some of this on social media, including stepping away from Quakers, some people talked about it being a privilege to walk away. I responded, “reading the comments on walking away, I have a different perspective. What caused me to, at least temporarily, disengage from Quakers was when I saw how traumatized my Native friends were about the remains of Native children at the residential school in Canada. I didn’t feel I could continue working with them, and I see them every week, if I didn’t do something beyond just words, to indicate I recognized their pain, and acknowledged my ancestors’ role in those schools. In any case, I was following a strong spiritual leading I was given.”

One of the many gifts my indigenous friends have given me, is to read some of what I write. So they can continue to talk with, mentor me. A close friend had read of my outrage and sorrow about this latest atrocity. About my turmoil of continuing to work with Mutual Aid. So, even in the midst of his mourning about the children, he took the time and effort to help me.

“Thank you friend. I don’t know what you can do. The church is the church’s past, which is its future. It continues to see my people as obstacles in its endless conquest.
You’re a good relative Jeff. To be blunt, there is too much damage that the church profits from and needs to protect to have any future there.
I wish you the best. I imagine its a hard struggle.”

That is just one of many examples of how my friends have supported me. I am realizing as I work through this, I am truly blessed to be part of the spiritual communities of both Quakers and Native peoples. What a blessing!

So, rather than completely leave Quakers, I am now feeling I can continue to work with Friends to the extent I maintain my spiritual integrity with myself and my Native friends. That means I must conscientiously object to any practice of Friends that continues to support colonial capitalism and white supremacy and all the evil manifestations of them.

Of course I am living within systems of colonial capitalism and white supremacy. It will take time to extricate from that. But what I have done and practice is to begin to intentionally extricate myself. You can begin to do so now as well.

I will continue to work with my Mutual Aid friends. And as my Native friends have asked, teach others about the concept of LANDBACK, and find ways to support that. I will seek to find ways to continue to work with Quakers.

To begin that work, I recently created the WordPress site LANDBACK Friends. And the associated Facebook group, LANDBACK Friends.

On the LANDBACK Friends website is an Epistle to Friends Regarding Community, Mutual Aid and LANDBACK. You can begin your LANDBACK journey by signing that epistle if so led. And if you would like to join the email group related to LANDBACK Friends, you can enter your email address at the bottom of the letter.

What will Friends do?

It matters little what people say they believe when their actions are inconsistent with their words.  Thus, we Friends may say there should not be hunger and poverty, but as long as Friends continue to collaborate in a system that leaves many without basic necessities and violently enforces white supremacy, our example will fail to speak to mankind.

Let our lives speak for our convictions.  Let our lives show that we oppose the capitalist system and white supremacy, and the damages that result.  We can engage in efforts, such as Mutual Aid and LANDBACK, to build Beloved community. To reach out to our neighbors to join us.

We must begin by changing our own lives if we hope to make a real testimony for peace and justice.

Read and sign the Epistle – LANDBACK Friends

Posted in #LANDBACK, capitalism, Mutual Aid, Native Americans, Quaker, Uncategorized, white supremacy | 3 Comments

New website: LANDBACK Friends

As my focus changes to the concepts of Mutual Aid and LANDBACK, I just launched a new website related to these concepts. LANDBACK Friends

There you can read “An Epistle to Friends Regarding Community, Mutual Aid and LANDBACK” And can add your signature to the letter. In addition, there is the option to submit your email if you want to receive updates.

LANDBACK Friends

I plan to keep the Quakers, Social Justice and Revolution blog site active. Some material will be added there, but things related to LANDBACK and Mutual Aid will be posted on the new LANDBACK Friends website.

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