Moral injury, soul repair and Quaker Indian residential schools

Syracuse University. The Moral Injury Project

I’ve just learned of the concepts of moral injury and soul repair. The vast majority of the literature is related to soldiers and war. Unsurprising as there is a profound disconnect between religion’s commandment not to kill, and soldiers experiencing forceful training to condition them to be able to kill in conflict. And deeper injury when a soldier does kill, or observes others killing. It is sobering to realize the vast number of men and women who have been morally injured this way. Why so many soldiers cannot function when they return from conflict. Why so many commit suicide.


Syracuse University. The Moral Injury Project

Spirituality is related to moral beliefs and values, and thus related to moral injury. Thus the concept of soul repair.

I’ve been thinking about moral injury and soul repair in one specific case, the Quaker Indian boarding schools.


Quakers and Indian boarding schools

One specific example of moral injury is the Quaker involvement in the Indian residential schools. We (Quakers) would like to think the Quakers involved had the best of intentions, believing it was important that native children learn how to fit into the white society that was taking over their lands. Today we are horrified by the idea and implementation of the cultural genocide that occurred there. If we see that today, you would think Friends at those schools would have at times questioned what they were doing.

It is difficult to imagine the tremendous moral injury done to the native children, their families and their tribes. Those children were forced to behave in ways that were intended to supplant their beliefs and ways of being.

And that moral injury was passed from each generation to the next. Each new generation, seeing what had been done to those children, suffer their own moral injury. Besides that, each generation is forced themselves to similarly betray their beliefs and values as they try to live in white settler society.

Those who inflict moral injury are themselves injured. The Quakers involved with the Indian boarding schools must have had some moral injury. Though nowhere near what the Indian children and their families did.

And I believe the Quakers’ trauma has been passed from generation to generation as well.

I think this has a lot to do with Quakers’ strong avoidance of discussing the Quaker Indian boarding schools. Once we learn some of what happened in those schools, we experience our own moral injury. And you can’t “unlearn” that, even though many try very had to do so. We feel guilt and shame.

What should Quakers do? There aren’t easy answers. The moral injury must be acknowledged. And ways have to be found to bring those who inflicted the moral injury, and those who experienced the injury to come together. Truth and reconciliation processes have occurred, and model how this soul repair can be done. Likely the only way it can be done.

In the following video my friend Paula Palmer talks about the Quaker Indian boarding schools, and the need for Quakers to acknowledge what was done, how we can begin to heal. Soul repair.

Native people say that for healing to occur—and I think what Quakers are looking for when thinking about what the world needs is healing of many kinds… for healing to occur, the first thing that needs to happen is for us to acknowledge the harm that was done.

Seeking Right Relationship With Native Americans

My name is Paula Palmer. I live in Louisville, Colorado, which is the territory of the Arapaho people. They call themselves the Hinono’eino. My meeting is the Boulder Monthly Meeting and the Intermountain Yearly Meeting.

About 8 years ago, I experienced a leading to educate—myself first, and others—about the real history of what happened here in this country, the real history of the colonization of this country and the genocide of the indigenous peoples and the ongoing consequences for indigenous people here in this country and for all of us, really. For all of us as a nation and as communities.

Seeking the Truth

The first step toward reconciliation is truth telling. This is something that’s been important to Quakers since the beginning. We were called “seekers of the truth.” We need now to be seekers of the truth. I think one of the main problems is that we as a country are in such denial about the history of this land. We just so rarely mention genocide and colonization as foundational sins of our society, and—along with slavery—these are the foundational sins of our country and we continue to be wounded by these crimes against humanity.

A young Tohono Oʼodham man said in one of our workshops, “No one here today made these things happen, but we are the ones who are living now. And we’re all in this together.” And I think that’s what we need to hear. No one here today made all of these things happen, but we are the ones who are living now. So what are our opportunities to work with indigenous peoples, to engage them, to ask them, “What would right relationship look like?”

Paula Palmer, Seeking Right Relationship With Native Americans

Quaker Indian Boarding Schools, Facing Our History and Ourselves by Paula Palmer, Friends Journal, Oct 1, 2016


Syracuse University. The Moral Injury Project

 Treatment based on increasing willingness to experience painful emotions, developing greater psychological flexibility, and understanding and working toward personal values, which may have been violated during service, has demonstrated preliminary benefits to suffers of moral injury. A basic tenant of all treatment programs, however, appears to be a willingness of the therapist to facilitate the experience of the patients’ guilt- and shame-based feelings in an exploratory and nonjudgmental fashion without displacing or delegitimizing their presence.

Treating “Moral” Injuries. A potentially debilitating condition in veterans, distinct from PTSD, results from crossing moral lines By Anna Harwood-Gross, Scientific American, March 24, 2020

Posted in Indigenous, moral injury, Native Americans, Quaker, Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Soul Repair

I’ve recently been writing about the concept of moral injury and how I immediately recognized that as a way to express many spiritual struggles in my life. (see below). Specifically, moral injury is a perspective for understanding the damages done by racism and colonization.

I’ve been anxious to explore how moral injury might be healed. I’m realizing this helps me understand why I’m so drawn to Mutual Aid. Mutual Aid is a mechanism for treating moral injury. Mutual Aid is “soul repair”. Mutual Aid, with its emphasis on horizontal structure, where everyone has a voice in the work, provides “integration into a culture where one is accepted, valued and respected, has a sense of place, purpose, and social support.”


Treating moral injury has been described as “soul repair” due to the nature of moral anguish.[17] 

According to Jonathan Shay, the process of recovery should consist of “purification” through the “communalization of trauma.” Shay places special importance on communication through artistic means of expression. Moral injury could only be absolved when “the trauma survivor… [is] permitted and empowered to voice their experience….”. Fully coming “home” would mean integration into a culture where one is accepted, valued and respected, has a sense of place, purpose, and social support.[10]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_injury

The responsibility to acknowledge, accept, and heal from moral injury doesn’t just belong to those suffering from moral injury. When we send our youth into battle on our behalf, we are complicit in their actions. We are responsible for bearing our portion of the pain those actions cause. And in taking re­sponsibility, we are empowered to help these women and men rebuild their moral scaffolding, reclaim their place in the soci­ety they volunteered to protect, and remember what it means to be human — and to belong.

Experiencing Moral Injury In The Face of Violence, Indifference, and Confusion by Tom Voss, InnerSelf, Excerpted from the book Where War Ends. © 2019 by Tom Voss and Rebecca Anne Nguyen. Reprinted with permission from NewWorldLibrary.com

Moral Injury | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)
Naming Historical Moral Injuries Committed in Quaker Colonizing | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)
Moral Injury 2 | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)

Posted in decolonize, Des Moines Mutual Aid, moral injury, Mutual Aid, soul repair, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Moral Injury 2

I became interested in the concept of moral injury, especially when I learned of the inclusion of spiritual aspects of trauma and how that might be treated or repaired. When I learned moral injury was described as “souls in anguish” and the treatment “soul repair”.

These ideas triggered flashes of inward light in different locations, like lightning bugs in the night. Personal experiences of moral injury related to war and conscription, to fossil fuels, to Quaker involvement in forced assimilation of native children and so many other things related to white supremacy, racism and colonization.

Moral injury and souls in anguish is about both the moral injury inflicted upon other peoples and to those who inflict the injury. More directly, we are responsible for bearing the pain from our participation in systems we benefit from at the moral cost to others.


The concept of moral injury emphasizes the psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of trauma.

Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini emphasize moral injury as “…souls in anguish, not a psychological disorder.”[4] This occurs when veterans struggle with a lost sense of humanity after transgressing deeply held moral beliefs.[4] The Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School is dedicated to addressing moral injury from this spiritual perspective.[33]

Treating moral injury has been described as “soul repair” due to the nature of moral anguish.[17] 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_injury

Moral injury is a wound to the soul. It happens when you participate in or witness things that transgress your deepest beliefs about right and wrong. It is extreme trauma that mani­fests as grief, sorrow, shame, guilt, or any combination of those things. It shows up as negative thoughts, self-hatred, hatred of others, feelings of regret, obsessive behaviors, destructive ten­dencies, suicidal ideation, and all-consuming isolation.

You may experience moral injury if you’ve survived abuse, witnessed violence, participated in the chaos of combat, or ex­perienced any form of trauma that’s changed your understand­ing of what you, or other human beings, are morally capable of. For many combat veterans, moral injury is inflicted during war, when they are split into two different versions of them­selves: the person they were before war, whose morality was ingrained in them by their parents, religion, culture, and so­ciety, and the person they became during war, whose morality was replaced with a sense of right and wrong that helped them survive in a war zone.

Moral injury is emotional, psychological, and spiritual. This makes it different from post-traumatic stress disorder, which is more of a physiological reaction — the brain and body’s responses to extreme, prolonged stress or fear. Some of the symptoms of PTSD — nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, disassociation — can be stabilized with medication. But moral injury doesn’t seem to respond to medication, at least not per­manently. Not at the soul level.

Experiencing Moral Injury In The Face of Violence, Indifference, and Confusion by Tom Voss, InnerSelf, Excerpted from the book Where War Ends. © 2019 by Tom Voss and Rebecca Anne Nguyen. Reprinted with permission from NewWorldLibrary.com

Posted in decolonize, moral injury, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mutual Aid, Survival, Polar Vortex and the fierce urgency of now

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

I feel blessed that a seemingly chance meeting a year ago connected me to Mutual Aid. Des Moines Mutual Aid (DMMA). I know it wasn’t by chance, but a path I was led to by the Spirit.
[see “mutual aid” | Search Results | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com) for posts I’ve written about Mutual Aid]

One of the many gifts of Mutual Aid is the ability to quickly and effectively respond to survival crises. Providing shelter during this time of incredible cold from a prolonged polar vortex is yet another example.

Des Moines Mutual Aid

February 11 at 2:05 PM  · 50+ folks are set to sleep inside, away from the extreme cold for the next week because the community responded. There’s still more that need shelter. Please keep sharing your resources. This is mutual aid!
Venmo: @DesMoines-MutualAid
Tinyurl: https://tinyurl.com/DSMCampAID


May be an image of text that says '50+ folks are set to sleep inside, away from the extreme cold, for the next week because the community responded. There are still many more folks that need shelter. Please keep sharing your resources. This is mutual aid. VENMO: @DESMOINES-MUTUALAID PAYPAL:TINYUR.COM/DSMCAMPAID'

As my friend Ronnie James wrote today,

“The work the Des Moines radical community has put in these last few years has been nothing short than amazing. Time and time again they prove the immense power of The People.
We all have a list of how the ruling authorities have failed us.
The people here are creating solutions.
All Power To The People.
Our lives depend on it.

Ronnie James

The scope and depth of the failure of the ruling authorities will continue in the face of collapsing economic and political systems. In the face of rapidly accelerating environmental chaos. The work and success of Mutual Aid will grow.


Your local Anarchists, 
Communists, and Black 
Liberationists organized a 
mass evacuation of the 
houseless camps to hotel 
rooms paid for by the 
community. We have turned 
no one away in this polar 
vortex. We keep us safe, the 
government is incapable of 
doing so.
https://www.facebook.com/108955753983592/photos/a.160676455478188/279548743590958/

Today my friend Matthew Lone Bear wrote

You know living at the Standing Rock camps. For as long as I did. Experiencing, and seeing the things I did while there was tough. But it made it easier when at night you look over camp and see fires and people talking, music, and sharing ideas. That we where all in it together. People from all over the world sitting in an open prairie in North Dakota checking on each other. Making sure they where warm, if they where hungry, or needed help. People where fed no money exchanged. It really opened your eyes to what colonization has brought to these lands. People where taking Ls in life leaving school, family lives, jobs… but it is an experience none of us would ever forget.

For better or worse. I miss that energy that filled that prairie. What a ride to experience that then 4 years of racist crap and injustices. Where a country can hide its history and suppress proper justice by forming commissions and invoking grand juries where they can form their own narrative and lose truths in courts. Corruption gets a pass and off the hook. Next day business as usual.

It was in those fields I first learned of MMIW from native relatives north of the Canadian border. When Olivia went missing I felt a sense of emergency to fire off on all cylinders to get as much done as possible and to not let up. Oiy I don’t stop to think of where I have been often. But since 2016 life has been an unforgiving ride.


Des Moines Mutual Aid

January 5  · One year ago today Des Moines Mutual Aid participated in a march protesting the potential for war or increased hostilities with Iran that followed the fallout of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by drone strike in Baghdad.

This was our first “public” event since adopting the name Des Moines Mutual Aid, a name we gave our crew during our growing work with our relatives at the houseless camps throughout the city and our help with coordinating a weekly free grocery store that has a 50 year history, founded by the Des Moines Chapter of The Black Panther Party For Self Defense.

A year ago we started laying the foundation for work we had no idea what was coming. As we were adjusting our work with the camps and grocery re-distribution in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, both that continued to grow in need and importance, the police continued their jobs and legacy of brutality and murder. This nation exploded in righteous rage in response to the pig murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. DMMA realized we were in a position to organize a bail fund to keep our fighters out of jail, both to keep the streets alive as a new phase of The Movement was being born, and because jails are a hotspot of Covid-19 spread. Not to mention the racial and economic oppression that is the cash bail system.

In the past year DMMA has expanded its work in multiple directions and gained many partners and allies. We partnered with the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement to create the DSM BLM Rent Relief initiative to help keep families in their homes in the midst of a pandemic and the winter.

The camp work has grown exponentially, but is being managed with our collaboration with Edna Griffin Mutual Aid, DSM Black Liberation Movement, and The Great Plains Action Society.

The bail fund remains successful because of desire from the public and a partnership with Prairielands Freedom Fund (formerly The Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project).

The weekly free food store has maintained itself, carrying on the legacy it inherited.

Every one of our accomplishments are directly tied to the support of so many people donating time, talent, and funds to the work. We are overwhelmed with all of your support and hope you feel we are honoring what we promised. All of these Mutual Aid projects are just a few of many that this city has created in the last year in response to the many crises we face, not only confronting the problems and fulfilling the needs directly in front of us, but creating a sustainable movement that will be capable of responding to what’s next and shaping our collective futures as we replace the systems that fail us.

These last 12 months have been wild and a real test of all of our capabilities to collectively organize. But it is clear that we as a city have what it takes to do what is needed in 2021, no matter what crisis is next.

Much gratitude to you all. In love and rage,

Des Moines Mutual Aid

Posted in abolition, climate change, decolonize, Des Moines Mutual Aid, Mutual Aid, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Naming Historical Moral Injuries Committed in Quaker Colonizing

In response to today’s blog post, Moral Injury, Tom Kunesh sent the following response that I found very helpful. I am just getting to know Tom through our work on the Decolonizing Quakers steering committee. Decolonizing Quakers

Jeff –  thanks for bringing up ‘moral injury’.  in decolonizing – where we are at (north America), & in the context of Quakerism, am most concerned about the historic moral injury done to nativeamericans by Quakers and the Christian ideology that they participated in, as both Christian european colonists and specifically as Quaker settlers, forcing upon eastern seaboard ‘colonial’ tribes 1500-1850, and then in the midwest 1850-1900. 

if we want to decolonize Quakerism, the first step is to bring up just what you’re pointing out – the betrayal of Quakerism’s own core values when/as it took native land for an english colony, settled native land, spoke english on native land, missionized & converted & judged natives to be inferior & lacking & needing improvement to european standards.  the moral injury done to quakerism in assuming it had ‘Light’ and natives did not.  and then the injury done to all the tribes it came in contact with, injury done with all the tax revenues Quakers contributed to the acculturation & settlement efforts, over & above Christian general and Quaker specific missionizing. both the moral injury to natives and the moral injury to Quakerism itself that i have never heard Quakers address. 

if we are to _work_ on ‘decolonizing quakers’, on ourselves, we should name the historical moral injuries committed in quaker colonizing. 

tom kunesh, Standing Rock & settler descendant

Tom also sent a link to this PDF:
Missions of the Society of Friends Among the lndian Tribes of the Sac and Fox Agency [1868-1955], Hobert Ragland, Oklahoma 1955


If you have a response to name the historical moral injuries committed in quaker colonizing please put that in the comments


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Moral Injury

I recently came across a discussion of moral injury, and immediately recognized how that applied to a number of situations in my life, past and present. Much of what is written about moral injury relates to war. Unsurprisingly as combatants are trained to, and sometimes actually do harm and kill people in combat. And/or may fail to be protected by leaders.

Moral injury is the social, psychological, and spiritual harm that arises from a betrayal of one’s core values, such as justice, fairness, and loyalty. Harming others, whether in military or civilian life; failing to protect others, through error or inaction; and failure to be protected by leaders, especially in combat—can all wound a person’s conscience, leading to lasting angerguilt, and shame, and can fundamentally alter one’s world view and impair the ability to trust others.

Moral Injury, Psychology Today

Moral injury refers to an injury to an individual’s moral conscience and values resulting from an act of perceived moral transgression, which produces profound emotional guilt and shame, and in some cases also a sense of betrayal, anger and profound “moral disorientation”.

Definition

The concept of moral injury emphasizes the psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of trauma. Distinct from psychopathology, moral injury is a normal human response to an abnormal traumatic event. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the concept is used in literature with regard to the mental health of military veterans who have witnessed or perpetrated an act in combat that transgressed their deeply held moral beliefs and expectations. Among healthcare professionals, moral injury refers to unaddressed moral distress leading to the accumulation of serious inner conflict that may overwhelm one’s sense of goodness and humanity. It is important to note that, despite the identification of moral traumas among both veterans and healthcare professionals, research has remained oddly independent between these two groups, and as such, the terminology is not uniform.

Moral injury – Wikipedia

I’m just learning about this, and may get some of it wrong. I have felt/do feel anger and guilt related to a number of instances in my life.

There has been an almost constant feeling of moral injury related to my faith community (Quaker). This is paradoxical because I deeply respect and value so many aspects of Quakers, both as a group and exhibited by individuals.

But I have felt “failure to be protected by leaders” in the sense that I want my faith community to agree with and support my spiritual beliefs and practices. There is always the possibility that I might be mistaken in some of my beliefs. And perhaps I should constrain my sense of morality to myself. Perhaps it is not right to be judgmental of others.

However, my beliefs are basically consistent with Quakers’ stated beliefs. My problem occurs in those times when I don’t believe others are putting certain professed beliefs into practice. That’s when I experience moral injury.


Enslavement, colonization and forced assimilation

Quakers were among those involved in enslavement. There were also Quakers among the white settlers who colonized native lands. In addition, Friends were involved in the forced assimilation, the cultural genocide, of native children. There are many who don’t want to deal with this today. Suggesting this was in the past, or we don’t have a responsibility for what our ancestors did.

Unfortunately those traumas are passed from generation to generation. Influence both those who experienced the trauma, and those who caused it, today.


Fossil fuel and pollution

In my pre-teen years I had experiences that showed me consequences of burning fossil fuel and destruction of our environment. Throughout my life I studied and saw ever increasing damage to Mother Earth being done in ever expanding ways. Early on I gave up having a personal automobile.

But I had anger and guilt that despite my best efforts, my carbon footprint was many times greater than that of people in non industrialized communities. And I felt betrayed when my perception was Quakers as a whole were not doing nearly enough to limit their fossil fuel use. Specifically by buying and using personal automobiles. I learned this needed to be tempered when Friends lived in rural areas, or places without adequate mass transit.


Economic injustice and Mutual Aid

The moral injury I’ve been experiencing for the past several years.is related to economic injustice. I believe it is immoral for an economic system to deny access to basic necessities for those who don’t have money to pay for food, shelter, clothing, medical care and/or education. Those who don’t have money through no fault of their own. The COVID pandemic and it’s economic impact have resulted millions more falling into economic insecurity.

I’ve been blessed to learn about and participate in Mutual Aid. The concept that everyone in a community can work together to find solutions to problems that affect the whole community. With Mutual Aid there is no vertical hierarchy. Rather a flat hierarchy where every contributes to the work. Where survival needs are addressed immediately. Work that helps satisfy people’s desire to be involved in meaningful work.

Des Moines Mutual Aid is working now, in these extremely cold conditions, to provide food and shelter to those in need.

I feel disappointment and anger that Quakers as a whole do not see the urgency to create Mutual Aid projects. Do not see the moral imperative to leave an unjust system, and create one that is just.


I am just beginning to learn about this concept of moral injury. But anxious to learn more, especially from the references I see to spiritual treatment of moral injuries.


Posted in capitalism, decolonize, Des Moines Mutual Aid, enslavement, Indigenous, Mutual Aid, Quaker, spiritual seekers, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Civilian Climate Corps

[NOTE: I’m glad someone called me out on referring to economic concentration camps and apologize for writing that.]

I have written a lot about economic injustice in our society. Many who would like to work cannot find jobs. Many of the jobs that are available pay poverty level wages, and are very unfulfilling. Our economic system worked pretty well at times of nearly full employment and good wages. But jobs have long been disappearing because of either automation or moving jobs to other countries for cheap labor.

I’ve been frustrated for years that something like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) wasn’t created for these times of unemployment and crumbling infrastructure. And that was before the pandemic and its economic impact made millions more unemployed.

I had written to my congressional representatives, suggesting the creation of a modern day Civilian Conservation Corps, the highly successful public work program of the 1930’s.  But didn’t get any response. https://kislingjeff.wordpress.com/2018/05/18/guaranteed-jobs/

So I’m delighted to learn that part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad includes the development of a Civilian Climate Corps.

One of the most popular programs from the New Deal is making a comeback, nearly 90 years later.

President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order to create a Civilian Climate Corps. The initiative, he wrote, will provide “good jobs” for young people and train them for environmentally friendly careers, putting them to work restoring public lands and waters, planting trees, improving access to parks, and of course, tackling climate change.

It’s inspired by the original Civilian Conservation Corps, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signature New Deal programs launched to take on the Great Depression.
Climate advocates celebrated Biden’s move. Naomi Klein, the activist and author of This Changes Everything, said Biden’s announcement was a “hard won victory.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York had reportedly sold Secretary of State John Kerry on the idea of a climate corps. The resemblance to the New Deal program — it even has the same acronym, CCC — may explain why the proposal sounds like part of a Green New Deal.

“The Green New Deal is all about a jobs and justice approach to climate policies, so I think that the new climate corps proposal really encapsulates that,” said Danielle Deiseroth, a climate analyst at Data for Progress, a progressive think tank. Not that you’ll hear Biden saying much about a Green New Deal, since commentators on Fox News have turned the slogan into a synonym for “socialist plot that’ll take away your hamburgers.”

Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps comes straight out of the New Deal by  Kate Yoder , Grist, Feb 8, 2021

The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis.  We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents.  Domestic action must go hand in hand with United States international leadership, aimed at significantly enhancing global action.  Together, we must listen to science and meet the moment.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

EMPOWERING WORKERS BY ADVANCING CONSERVATION, AGRICULTURE, AND REFORESTATION

Sec. 214.  Policy.  It is the policy of my Administration to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters.  The Federal Government must protect America’s natural treasures, increase reforestation, improve access to recreation, and increase resilience to wildfires and storms, while creating well-paying union jobs for more Americans, including more opportunities for women and people of color in occupations where they are underrepresented.  America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have an important role to play in combating the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by sequestering carbon in soils, grasses, trees, and other vegetation and sourcing sustainable bioproducts and fuels.  Coastal communities have an essential role to play in mitigating climate change and strengthening resilience by protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems, such as wetlands, seagrasses, coral and oyster reefs, and mangrove and kelp forests, to protect vulnerable coastlines, sequester carbon, and support biodiversity and fisheries.

Sec. 215.  Civilian Climate Corps.In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 214 of this order, the Secretary of the Interior, in collaboration with the Secretary of Agriculture and the heads of other relevant agencies, shall submit a strategy to the Task Force within 90 days of the date of this order for creating a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative, within existing appropriations, to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs.  The initiative shall aim to conserve and restore public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, increase reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protect biodiversity, improve access to recreation, and address the changing climate.


The following is from the Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy website that has a great deal of information about the Civilian Conservation Corp.

“Enrollees of the CCC planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America; constructed trails, lodges, and related facilities in more than 800 parks nationwide; and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.” 

America was in the grip of the Great Depression when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated in March of 1933.  More than twenty-five percent of the population was unemployed, hungry and without hope.  The New Deal programs instituted bold changes in the federal government that energized the economy and created an equilibrium that helped to bolster the needs of citizens.  

 Out of the economic chaos emerged the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  The goal was two-fold:  conservation of our natural resources and the salvage of our young men.  The CCC is recognized as the single greatest conservation program in America and it served as a catalyst to develop the very tenets of modern conservation.  The work of America’s young men dramatically changed the future and today we still enjoy a legacy of natural resource treasures that dot the American landscape.

http://www.ccclegacy.org/


The predominantly recognized accomplishments of the CCC are vast.  

  • Nearly Three Billion trees were planted to help reforest America 
  • Modern tenets of conservation are an outgrowth of the conservation work begun by the CCC.
  • Forest fire fighting methods were developed under the CCC program to meet the needs of controlling wild fires that kept the land from healing and naturally restoring the watersheds.  
  • The modern service corps movement in America today is founded on the  Corps concept of the CCC.  Nurtured by CCC alumni and their supporters, modern conservation corps are expanding and contributing to American youth and culture. 
  • Constructed public roadways and buildings. Today citizens still drive on roadways built by the men of the CCC.  Vast expanses of public land are connected through scenic byways and fire trails.  Lodges, cabins, picnic pavilions, and many other recreational structures still stand as a testament to the craftsmanship and design of the CCC program.  One of the most recognizable examples of a scenic road in the central eastern United States is the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park. 
  • Soil conservation was taught to private citizen as well as implemented on government land. The dust bowl of the Great Plains hampered agricultural output for many years.
  • The development of the infrastructure of the outdoor recreational system is attributed to the CCC program.  Most state park systems we started through the CCC program with an estimated 800 parks constructed across the nation.  The National Parks and the National Forest systems received great benefit and still proclaim the vast legacy of CCC labor.  
  • Built and operated fish hatcheries which replenished the species killed by unfavorable conservation practices.
  • Reintroduced wildlife to depleted area. In many areas wildlife was hard hit due to the devastation of their habitat.  Some camps we involved in  research and many more were tasked with the reintroduction and monitoring of wildlife.
  • Military style camp life developed citizens that supported the WWII manpower effort.
  • The boys supported their families by earning $30 monthly through the distribution of a $25 financial allotment to home.
  • Advanced the standard of living in surrounding communities due to the infusion of revenue amounting to as much as $5,000 a month.

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#ShutDownDAPL #NoLine3 #NoKXL

It’s hard to keep up with the news about pipelines these days. Long gone are the days when pipeline permits and construction were unquestionably approved. Following is news about current resistance to three pipelines. Keystone XL (#NoKXL), Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL, #ShutDownDAPL) and Line 3 (#NoLine3).

Dakota Access Pipeline

Thanks to those who sent photos supporting the Lakota youth runners who ran 93 miles, asking President Biden to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (see below).

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday agreed to push back a hearing about whether the Dakota Access oil pipeline should be allowed to continue operating without a key permit while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts an environmental review on the project.https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=3533

The Corps filed a motion Monday to postpone the Wednesday hearing in order to allow Biden administration officials more time to familiarize themselves with the case, including the 2016 lawsuit filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in an attempt to stop construction. The pipeline began operating in 2017 after Donald Trump took office.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg reset the hearing for April 9. Neither the tribes nor Texas-based Energy Transfer, which owns the pipeline, objected to the delay.

Judge delays hearing on permit for Dakota Access pipeline, Associated Press, 2/11/2021


It’s been a busy and inspiring two weeks at Standing Rock. As an ally of the tribe, you’ve helped us serve as a key part of a coalition of nonprofits telling President Biden to use his executive authority to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). The courts have not made a definitive decision to that effect, but the pressure on Biden seems to be working. The Army Corps, under his direction, has now asked for a 58-day delay to get the new administration up to speed on DAPL. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Bottom line, it’s increasingly likely that the timeline for a decision will be extended beyond this week, and victory is now more likely than it was just a few days ago. With your continued support, we’ll keep up our breakneck pace for the long haul. We’re in it to win it, no matter how long it takes. That’s why I urge you to become a Lakota Law member now. Your monthly gift will keep us going strong — and give you access to member benefits such as informative and fun online events with me and our other Lakota Law leaders!

Over the past two weeks, we haven’t stopped moving. So far, nearly 22,000 of you have signed our NoDAPL petition to the president and, in coordination with allied organizations, we’ll present Biden with a mountain of signatures. And a host of Hollywood celebrities have now also submitted a NoDAPL letter to the president.
 
Your support propelled us forward on the ground at Standing Rock. In the past 10 days, our organizing and media teams quickly produced an effective series of videos and educational content, shared with our sister orgs, that helped us reach tens of thousands via key social media channels.

It’s vitally important that you continue to stand with us over the days and months to come. In addition to confronting DAPL’s threat to our sacred water and lands, we’re improving our Native-run Standing Rock foster home, mounting a legal defense for a KXL water protector, continuing to support health and safety measures in Lakota Country, and so much more. Thank you, as ever, for making this work possible!

Wopila tanka — my deep gratitude for your sustained support.

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project


On Tuesday, my colleague Madonna Thunder Hawk reported to you that President Biden had requested a 58-day delay for the hearing on the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), originally scheduled for Feb. 10. According to multiple reports, that hearing has now been moved to Apr. 9. Perhaps more importantly, the president will meet with Standing Rock Chairman Mike Faith and three other South Dakota tribal leaders this Friday.

From my perspective, this is all good news — but any joy we feel should be tempered with renewed vigor. As you’re likely aware by now, we’ve joined a host of other organizations and influencers in supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s efforts to shut down DAPL through both legal and political means. So, while I am happy that the president appears to be listening and taking the issue seriously, I’m also aware that every day of delay means another 24 hours the pipeline could fail and contaminate Standing Rock’s water.

One thing is clear: we have time to grow our movement and increase the heat on the president. Once again, I ask that you sign (if you have not already done so) and share widely our NoDAPL petition to Biden.

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
Lakota People’s Law Project


Line 3

Line 3 is a proposed pipeline expansion to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. It was proposed in 2014 by Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline company responsible for the largest inland oil spill in the US. Enbridge seeks to build a new pipeline corridor through untouched wetlands and the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples, through the Mississippi River headwaters to the shore of Lake Superior.

Stop the Line 3 Pipeline


Honor The Earth

Winona LaDuke explains Enbridge’s proposal for a new tar sands crude oil pipeline called Line 3, which would pierce the heart of Anishinaabe territory in the Great Lakes and endanger our precious fresh water, wild rice, and way of life.

Enbridge already has a Line 3 pipeline and claims that this is a “replacement” line. But don’t be fooled – it’s a bigger pipe that would carry double the volume of oil, and Enbridge wants a new route through the lake country of the north. That’s not a replacement line.

We call on Enbridge to clean up their old crumbling line and the contamination around it, rather than abandon it and leave that liability for landowners and tribes.

And they will have no new corridor! The Ojibwe tribes stand united in opposition, and the people of Minnesota have already said no once to Sandpiper. We are ready for the next battle.

This interview with Waabigonikwe Raven is going to be livestreamed at 1:00 pm Central todayhttps://fb.me/e/yC9Gly5h here https://fb.me/e/yC9Gly5h



Keystone XL Pipeline

UPDATED photos in support of Lakota youth runners calling President Biden to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline.


#NoKXL #NoDAPL #ShutDownDAPL #NoLine3

Posted in #NDAPL, civil disobedience, climate change, Dakota Access pipeline, Great Plains Action Society, Indigenous, Keystone XL pipeline (KXL), Native Americans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Defeating Keystone XL Built a Bolder, Savvier Climate Movement

Yesterday’s article, How Defeating Keystone XL Built a Bolder, Savvier Climate Movement by Nick Engelfried in Waging Nonviolence is a well written history of the struggles over the past decade to defeat the Keystone XL pipeline.

A lot is being written now that President Biden has rescinded the pipeline’s permit. We hope this will finally be the end for Keystone XL. But in this article Keystone is referred to as the “zombie” pipeline.

As usual, I feel awkward talking about work I have done. I appreciate what Noah Baker Merrill wrote in Prophets, Midwives and Thieves. “We need to be careful when we talk about humility. The kind of humility this work brings isn’t the kind that would have us reject or repress our gifts. This kind of false humility leads us to oppress each other in the name of preventing pridefulness. This happens far too often.” Or as my friend Ronnie James says, “anyways, brag, brag, blah, blah.”

I first became aware of the terrible damage we were doing to our environment when visiting California one summer vacation, sometime around 1965. We drove into a land enveloped in air so dirty we could actually see it (this being before catalytic converters). Our first several days we coughed and our eyes watered. We were told we’d get used to it.

When I moved to Indianapolis in 1970 I found the same foul air. I decided I couldn’t contribute to that, which began my life of living without a car. My Quaker faith said others might follow my example, but I don’t know of a single person who did.

I was frustrated because there didn’t seem to be any way to stop the pollution. When I explored these issues on the Internet, I came across the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. People were invited to sign a statement saying they would engage in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience if it looked like President Obama was going to approve the permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Nearly 100,000 people signed and submitted their contact information. This was a brilliant way to build a database of climate activists. And looked like finally a way to take on the fossil fuel industry.

“I pledge, if necessary, to join others in my community, and engage in acts of dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could result in my arrest in order to send the message to President Obama and his administration that they must reject the Keystone XL pipeline.”

The summer of 2013, I was trained as an Action Lead in the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. About 400 of us were taught how to organize and execute nonviolent direct actions. And how to organize and train people in our local communities. Nationwide around 4,000 people were trained to engage in civil disobedience if it became clear President Obama was going to approve the pipeline permit. Fortunately, he denied the permit. Then Trump approved the permit, and now President Biden has rescinded the permit.


Overwhelming Odds, Unexpected Alliances And Tough Losses. From frontline battles to large national mobilizations, tar sands resistance developed new tactics and organizing strategies for the larger climate struggles ahead.

When President Biden rescinded a crucial permit for the Keystone XL pipeline last week, it marked the culmination of one of the longest, highest-profile campaigns in the North American climate movement. The opposition to Keystone XL included large environmental organizations, grassroots climate activist networks, Nebraska farmers, Texas landowners, Indigenous rights groups and tribal governments. Few environmental campaigns have touched so many people over such large swaths of the continent.

The Keystone XL resistance was part of the ongoing opposition to the Canadian tar sands, one of the most carbon-intensive industrial projects on the planet. Yet, it came to symbolize something even bigger. Many activists saw stopping Keystone XL as a measure of success for the climate movement itself.

“Keystone XL isn’t just any project,” said longtime activist Matt Leonard, who coordinated several major protests against the pipeline. “Its defeat is a testament to what movement building and direct action can accomplish.”

Yet, resistance to the Keystone XL’s northern leg succeeded against overwhelming odds. While there is always a possibility it could be resurrected someday, chances of that happening anytime soon seem slim. Understanding how this victory happened — and what it means for the climate movement — requires examining how 10-plus years of tar sands resistance played out in far-flung parts of North America.

How Defeating Keystone XL Built a Bolder, Savvier Climate Movement

I recommend reading the article as it reviews the history of the climate movement.


April 22, 2015. I was in Iowa this past weekend, attending Midyear Meeting of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) at my home (Quaker) meeting, Bear Creek, north of Earlham.  First Day morning Russ Leckband handed me this sign, which is from the concert Willie Nelson and Neal Young gave in Nebraska last year to raise money to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. From the video below: Who’s going to stand up a save the earth? This all begins with you and me.


Who’s going to stand up a save the earth? This all begins with you and me.

I don’t know why that made me so happy.  I think partly because the Keystone Resistance has been a long, hard struggle, and it felt nice to be able to celebrate the work. It also feels good to feel the support of your faith community.

It also brought home once again how important the arts are in these struggles. The Neil Young/Willie Nelson concert is one example. Additionally, this sign resulted in a chance for me to talk with Scattergood Friends School students who saw it, and engaged me in a conversation about pipelines and civil disobedience. They are aware of Iowa’s Bakkan pipeline proposal and Ed Fallon’s walk related to that. Bakkan Pipeline

It’s also amazing that three years after what was assumed to be an almost automatic approval of the Keystone Pipeline, it is still stalled. President Obama echoed the charge from Franklin Roosevelt “make me do it”, referring to the need for public support for the policies we want. This long Keystone Pledge of Resistance campaign has been an effort to do that. We know the President has been aware of the Pledge since the early days.

The other priceless benefit of the Pledge of Resistance is the national network of activists trained to train others in the practice of, and implementation of nonviolent civil disobedience for social change. In Indianapolis, the Keystone Pledge of Resistance Action Leaders have been involved in all kinds of actions over the past couple of years, not just limited to environmental concerns. We have been involved with issues such as homelessness in Indianapolis

Pipeline Fighter


BarackKeystone
Posted in climate change, Keystone Pledge of Resistance, Keystone XL pipeline (KXL), Quaker, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Des Moines Mutual Aid and Black Lives Matter ask for help from faith communities

In this dangerous, bitter cold I think about those who are houseless. Des Moines Mutual Aid and other Mutual Aid groups in Des Moines, and Des Moines Black Lives Matter are responding in many ways as you can see below.

As it says here, “ask your place of worship to open their doors.” Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting supports this by offering their kitchen for food preparation. And I’ve been blessed to help with DM Mutual Aid’s food giveaway. One of those situations where you receive much more than you give. And I’ve been pleased to be able to take and contribute photos, such as those seen below related to Indigenous Peoples Day.
“mutual aid” | Search Results | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)

So many people are showing what it looks like when we take care of each other!
Thanks to everyone whose donated to help houseless folks survive the extreme weather! Let’s keep this going!!
Des Moines Mutual Aid – Camp/General aid
Venmo: @DesMoines-MutualAid
https://tinyurl.com/DSMCampAID


Funds needed for winter survival. Donate to these mutual aid groups to support our houseless neighbors!!
Then, think of how you can create mutual aid!
Call upon the city council.
Ask your place of worship to open their doors.
Ask friends to donate.
Des Moines Black Lives Matter


Des Moines Mutual Aid
https://www.facebook.com/Des-Moines-Mutual-Aid-108955753983592/
Des Moines Black Lives Matter
https://www.facebook.com/desmoinesblm/
Des Moines Rent Relief
https://www.facebook.com/DSMBLMRentRelief/
Des Moines Bail Fund
https://www.facebook.com/dsmbailfund
Edna Griffin Mutual Aid
https://www.facebook.com/Edna-Griffin-Mutual-Aid-104364828102971
North Des Moines Mutual Aid
https://www.facebook.com/NorthDesMoinesMutualAid/


I’m so glad to see Mutual Aid in Iowa growing.
You can create your own Mutual Aid community in your neighborhood.
Mutual Aid 101 Toolkit here:
09a653b0-7545-11ea-be6b-9f10a20c6f68-Mutual-Aid-101-Toolkit.pdf (cosmicjs.com)


Funds needed for winter survival. Donate to these mutual aid groups to support our houseless neighbors!!

Then, think of how you can create mutual aid! Call upon the city council. Ask your place of worship to open their doors. Ask friends to donate.

Des Moines Black Lives Matter






Des Moines Mutual Aid

January 5  · One year ago today Des Moines Mutual Aid participated in a march protesting the potential for war or increased hostilities with Iran that followed the fallout of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by drone strike in Baghdad.

This was our first “public” event since adopting the name Des Moines Mutual Aid, a name we gave our crew during our growing work with our relatives at the houseless camps throughout the city and our help with coordinating a weekly free grocery store that has a 50 year history, founded by the Des Moines Chapter of The Black Panther Party For Self Defense.

A year ago we started laying the foundation for work we had no idea what was coming. As we were adjusting our work with the camps and grocery re-distribution in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, both that continued to grow in need and importance, the police continued their jobs and legacy of brutality and murder. This nation exploded in righteous rage in response to the pig murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. DMMA realized we were in a position to organize a bail fund to keep our fighters out of jail, both to keep the streets alive as a new phase of The Movement was being born, and because jails are a hotspot of Covid-19 spread. Not to mention the racial and economic oppression that is the cash bail system.

In the past year DMMA has expanded its work in multiple directions and gained many partners and allies. We partnered with the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement to create the DSM BLM Rent Relief initiative to help keep families in their homes in the midst of a pandemic and the winter.

The camp work has grown exponentially, but is being managed with our collaboration with Edna Griffin Mutual Aid, DSM Black Liberation Movement, and The Great Plains Action Society.

The bail fund remains successful because of desire from the public and a partnership with Prairielands Freedom Fund (formerly The Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project).

The weekly free food store has maintained itself, carrying on the legacy it inherited.

Every one of our accomplishments are directly tied to the support of so many people donating time, talent, and funds to the work. We are overwhelmed with all of your support and hope you feel we are honoring what we promised. All of these Mutual Aid projects are just a few of many that this city has created in the last year in response to the many crises we face, not only confronting the problems and fulfilling the needs directly in front of us, but creating a sustainable movement that will be capable of responding to what’s next and shaping our collective futures as we replace the systems that fail us.

These last 12 months have been wild and a real test of all of our capabilities to collectively organize. But it is clear that we as a city have what it takes to do what is needed in 2021, no matter what crisis is next.

Much gratitude to you all. In love and rage,

Des Moines Mutual Aid


Posted in Black Lives, Des Moines Black Lives Matter, Des Moines Mutual Aid, Mutual Aid, Quaker Meetings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment