Moral Reckonings

As Krista Tippett says below, “it feels important to me, in a moment like this, to look below the radar of rupture — to see models and practices that work, and that in fact can take up the huge hard problems.”

So many of us have expressed the idea of using the opportunity of the chaos of the pandemic to build a better world.

What I discern from the Spirit as I pray is often a consistent message, which is we White people in the United States cannot make any progress on justice issues until we confront the enslavement of black people and continued racial injustice. And the genocide and continued oppression of native peoples by White people. We need to make progress on those issues, or our efforts to build a better world will not succeed. And we need the knowledge and leadership of black and indigenous people to build a better world for us all.

In terms of models mentioned above, this is the previous state of a model I’ve been working on for some time now. I recently wrote about this version of the model in the blog post Quakers and Social Change Today.

I have sought every opportunity recently to get to know indigenous people. At first because I respected the way they lived within sustainable environmental boundaries. And their subsistence economy and spiritual grounding. The more I learned, the more I realized indigenous ways are in line with my Quaker values, not the values of the White society I was born into, raised and now live in.

I have felt devastated since discerning that. I realized I didn’t know what to do next. I knew I didn’t want to remain in a corporate capitalist system, if that system even survives the pandemic. And although I am so grateful for what I have been learning from my indigenous friends, I cannot become an indigenous person.

The Guswenta: Two Row Wampum Belt is a Symbol of Sovereignty

This belt symbolizes the agreement and conditions under which the Haudenosaunee welcomed the newcomers to this land.
“You say that you are our father and I am your son.”
We say, ‘We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers’.”
This wampum belt confirms our words. These two rows will symbolize two paths or two vessels, traveling down the same river together.
One, a birch bark canoe, will be for the Indian People, their laws, their customs and their ways.
We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our own boat.
 Neither of us will make compulsory laws or interfere in the internal affairs of the other.
Neither of us will try to steer the other’s vessel.

From a 1614 agreement between the Haudenosaunee and representatives of the Dutch government, declaring peaceful coexistence. The agreement has been kept by the Haudenosaunee to this date.

What could I do about this dilemma? Sometimes I don’t see the answer that is right in front of me. I’ve been learning a lot about decolonizing. I learned from the way it has impacted my friends as we shared stories while walking down empty country roads during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March in September, 2018. The last evening on the March we gathered around a fire, and my friend Trisha Entringer gave a presentation and lead a discussion about colonization.

Last summer I learned a lot from Paula Palmer and the Toward Right Relationships with Native Peoples workshops and presentations she led.

The Quaker organization American Friends Service Committee has some excellent resources on colonization. https://www.afsc.org/category/blog-tags/decolonization

As does the organization of my friend Christine Nobiss, Seeding Sovereignty.

I’m also glad to know about an organization of diverse Quakers who are focusing on decolonizing Quakers. https://www.decolonizingquakers.org/

Updating the previous model (above) I see the new path Decolonize. As best I know now, that path first requires education, such as offered from the previous resources, and healing. Both are large topics to be explored in future blog posts.


Every day we have a choice. We can take the easier road, the more cynical road, which is a road sometimes based on a dream of a past that never was, fear of each other, distancing and blame, or we can take the much more difficult path, the road of transformation, transcendence, compassion, and love, but also accountability and justice.

– Jacqueline Novogratz –

Moral reckonings are being driven to the surface of our life together: What are politics for? What is an economy for? Jacqueline Novogratz says the simplistic ways we take up such questions — if we take them up at all — is inadequate. Novogratz is an innovator in creative, human-centered capitalism. She has described her recent book, Manifesto for a Moral Revolution, as a love letter to the next generation.

On Being with Krista Tippett Jacqueline Novogratz: Towards a Moral Revolution, May 20, 2020

Krista Tippett, host: The world keeps changing, and moral reckonings are being driven to the surface of our life together: who will we be to each other in our communities, our nations, our globalized world? What are politics for; what is an economy for — and education, and health care, and borders? Jacqueline Novogratz is a voice I respect on the inadequacy of the simplistic ways we take up such questions, if we take them up at all — the necessity of moral imagination and the cultivation of character alongside all of the so-called hard skills that are no longer serving us.

This is at the heart of her book, Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World. It feels important to me, in a moment like this, to look below the radar of rupture — to see models and practices that work, and that in fact can take up the huge hard problems. Acumen, which Jacqueline Novogratz founded and leads, is an exercise in creative, human-centered capitalism: a venture capital fund that serves some of the poorest people in the world — people whose incomes have previously excluded them from the power of the market.

Towards a Moral Revolution by On Being, syndicated from onbeing.org, May 26, 2020


 “I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation.”

Gus Speth

This entry was posted in #NDAPL, climate change, decolonize, enslavement, First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, Indigenous, Native Americans, Quaker, race, Seeding Sovereignty, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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