Sovereignty and Tribal Government Relations in the United States and Canada

The first of six webinars in the series “Working Toward Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples” will be held this Monday, August 10, 7:30-9:00 p.m. Eastern.

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Sovereignty and Tribal Government Relations in the United States and Canada

With Jerilyn DeCoteau and Will David (see bios below)
August 10, 2020 – 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

This series of webinars seeks to involve both Canadian and United States participants. Although both the United States and Canada share some of the features of a settler-colonial history and government, there are significant differences, as well.

This first webinar is designed to familiarize participants in the series with historical and governmental differences between these nations and how they affect existing relations with Tribal Nations and the sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. This understanding will establish a framework for future webinars.


The nation states of North America are built on the so-called Christian Doctrine of Discovery, which purports to justify the theft of land and resources and the enslavement or destruction of many Nations. Quaker descendants of European settlers benefited and continue to benefit from this oppressive history. Quakers also played a direct role in the attempted cultural genocide of Indigenous Peoples. Among other things, they ran and supported Indian Boarding Schools, which were designed to “civilize” Indigenous Peoples by separating children from their families and communities and erasing their native language, customs, and culture.

A 2018 Pendle Hill conference helped broaden and deepen a conversation about the Quaker role in the genocide of Native Peoples and about ways of moving toward right relationship – awareness, acknowledgment, apology, and reparative work. At this conference, we will assess what actions we have taken, as well as bringing others into the ongoing conversation.

We invite Quakers from across North America to seek and share ways of acknowledging and interrupting the ongoing harms stemming from Quaker individual and corporate involvement in the land theft and genocide against Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island. With gratitude, we will be accompanied by Indigenous Peoples as planners, advisors, and presenters.

In interest/working groups and plenary sessions, we will engage in deep listening and discern ways Truth and Spirit lead us to act. We will create an environment where communities of support and accountability can form for sharing stories and resources for carrying on the work in such areas as:

  • Acknowledging land theft and occupation and ways of making land reparations;
  • Identifying and ending cultural mis/appropriation;
  • How to be an ally, working in an ally organization;
  • What are Friends schools, our local schools, our First Day Schools teaching about history and the current situation of Indigenous Peoples? Local museums and historical associations?
  • Treaty relationships today;
  • How can the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples open dialogue and provide a framework for public discourse?
  • What does it mean to decolonize ourselves and our institutions? and
  • Healing the earth through growing spiritual unification.

Come to be inspired, to become better equipped to involve Meetings and local communities in building right relationship, and to be renewed in Spirit and energy for this long-term justice journey.



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