I’ve written a great deal about my journey to make connections with Indigenous peoples (Quakers, social justice and revolution | Jeff Kisling). One part of this journey involved helping Paula Palmer hold workshops and presentations related to her ministry, Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples
I was also honored to be asked to join the Decolonizing Quakers steering committee that Paula is also a member of. And my friend Ruth Flower. This letter explains what Decolonizing Quakers is about and is an invitation to you to join with those of us who have concerns about the wrongs against Indigenous peoples. I hope you’ll join with others who share this concern. You will be connected to participate in this work if you do one of the following:
- email John Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org
- or join the Friends for Right Relationship Google Group https://groups.google.com/g/FriendsRR
Decolonizing Quakers Invites You
“Working Towards Right Relationships with Indigenous Peoples”
December 30, 2020
You may have heard of the Pendle Hill webinar series “Working Towards Right Relationships with Indigenous Peoples”. Some of you may have attended this webinar series and have recently joined the Friends for Right Relationship Google group because you received a letter similar to this one. Many Friends found the webinar series informative, inspiring, and useful in taking your next steps in the ongoing work of building right relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples, within and beyond our Quaker communities. (If you missed any of the presentations, the recordings of each webinar are now available for public viewing on Pendle Hill’s YouTube channel, Pendle Hill USA.)
The group Decolonizing Quakers was one of the sponsors of this webinar series. It is currently organized as a steering committee comprised of concerned Friends. It formed in the summer of 2018 following the first Pendle Hill conference on this topic, “Truth and Healing: Quakers Seeking Right Relationships with Indigenous Peoples.” It was established to help support Quakers in that ongoing work. (Our full statement of purpose is on our website, Decolonizing Quakers.)
We have found that efforts towards building right relationships are enhanced if Friends are connected with others in their local or regional areas in a community of mutual interest and support. We have also discerned that a starting point for building and strengthening relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples is the land where we live, work, and worship. We are committed to building a network of concerned Friends across what is now Canada and the United States, growing and connecting local and regional groups of Friends, and helping to provide resources for groups and individuals.
An Invitation to You
Many Friends share a concern to recognize and act to repair the massive injustices committed against Indigenous Peoples. One way for Friends to stay in touch with each other is to join the Friends for Right Relationship Google Group. Please feel free to share news, resources, and relevant activities of their Quaker communities and organizations on Indigenous matters. You may also invite others to join. Guide them to visit https://groups.google.com/g/FriendsRR and complete the Join Request Form at the top of the page.
The group Decolonizing Quakers also has a Facebook page that you can like or follow.
In addition, to help webinar participants connect with others nearby or in neighboring communities, Decolonizing Quakers is creating a directory of Friends doing this work. We invite you to subscribe to the directory by providing your name, email address and your city and state/province and send it to John Meyer at email@example.com. This geographic information will facilitate connecting with others in your area for joint action and mutual support. The directory will be shared only with other participants who have shared their information; it will not be posted publicly.
The Next Steps for Us
Early in 2021, we plan to host one or more “Mingles” via Zoom. We will invite members of the Friends for Right Relationships group and all webinar participants to a Zoom meeting. Then, using the breakout room feature, we will separate participants into a series of short small group meetings to help them get to know a bit about each other. We hope that the directory we create and the Mingles will help to facilitate the growth of small study and action groups on the local and regional levels.
Pendle Hill, Canadian Friends Service Committee, and Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples/Friends Peace Teams will be hosting webinars and virtual workshops in the winter and spring of 2021, and you will be invited to participate in them if you respond to this email or join the Friends for Right Relationship Google Group https://groups.google.com/g/FriendsRR and complete the Join Request Form at the top of the page.
We look forward to getting to know you as we contribute to a greater connection among Friends in the ongoing work of building and strengthening relationships: to learn and act upon the truth of Quaker history with Indigenous Peoples, to acknowledge the wounds resulting from this history for all peoples impacted, and to engage in actions that move toward justice and recognize the dignity of all those concerned.
On behalf of the Decolonizing Quakers Steering Committee
John J. Meyer
Formerly of Pendle Hill, currently sojourning in Eugene, Oregon
On Kalupaya Land
Ottawa Monthly Meeting, Canadian Yearly Meeting
on Algonquin Territory
Adelphi Monthly Meeting, Baltimore Yearly Meeting
on Piscataway Land
Davis Monthly Meeting, Pacific Yearly Meeting
on Patwin Land
Bear Creek meeting, Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)
Ioway and Meskwaki lands
Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples
Boulder Monthly Meeting, Intermountain Yearly Meeting
On Arapaho Land
Chena Ridge Friends Meeting, Alaska Friends Conference