Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Recent History

Patricia R. Powers has now published Respect & Justice for Indigenous Peoples: A Quaker Advocacy Group’s Experience Recounted (1940 to present). The book is available only on line, in order to facilitate reference to the many sources and resources listed in the text.

Baltimore Yearly Meeting formed a Committee geared to Indigenous concerns in 1795, only a few years after European settlers established a nation that became the United States on this continent. Particulars of the activities of volunteers who served on that Committee after 1940 are recorded here for posterity. A companion volume, As They Were Led: Quakerly Steps and Missteps Toward Native Justice – 1795 – 1940, was published last year in paperback, and is available from Quaker Heron Press, Quaker Books (FGC), Pendle Hill, other independent booksellers, and Amazon. Read more here.

Pendle Hill Presents:

Land Acknowledgment — A First Step Towards Right Relationship with the Land and its Peoples

A two-part webinar presented by tom kunesh (Lakota/Mixt), Aug 9 and 11, 2022, 7:30pm-9:00pm Eastern Time (US & Canada) via Zoom.

Living on what was another peoples’ homeland through their coerced removal carries with it a generational responsibility to recognize and honor their history and their legitimate claim to places where we live. Recognizing that preparing a land acknowledgment is a first step towards creating right relationship with the land and its native peoples, this program will review:

  • the Euro-colonial principles and means used to take Turtle Island from its original inhabitants;
  • sources for identifying accurate local native history;
  • ways to correctly identify and contact culturally affiliated tribes; and
  • current land-return movements in the United States.

Read more and register here. Pendle Hill is committed to the accessibility of our programs. If cost is a barrier to your participation, we welcome your request for financial assistance.



Special Invitation for Indigenous Friends

February 1, 2022

“Decolonizing Quakers” ( ) working group started as an effort of primarily white Quakers to improve knowledge of and relationships with Indigenous people of the USA & Canada. The working group has come to understand the need to add and center Indigenous and African American voices in our ‘decolonizing’ work moving forward.

But we as a working group with the ‘decolonizing’ name have a problem: we’re not clear on how each of us uses the word, especially in different racial groups. To this end we invite Indigenous Friends of Turtle Island (Quakers who are direct descendants of Indigenous peoples of ‘North America’) to gather with tom kunesh (Lakota/mixt) to discuss the term ‘ decolonizing ’ and to see if we can come to some agreement on its meaning and goals among us as Indigenous Friends.

Decolonizing Quakers working group invites all Turtle Island Indigenous Friends to meet online on Zoom on Saturday 5 February 2022, starting at 14:00 Atlantic/ 13:00 Eastern/ 12:00 Central/ 11:00 Mountain/ 10:00 Pacific/ 09:00 Alaska/ 07:00 Hawaii. Pre-registration is required.

Indigenous Friends plan to meet for about 4 hours ~ an hour of introductions, an hour of small group discussion, an hour of large group discussion, an hour of seeing if we can come up with our own description of ‘decolonization’. If you are Indigenous, a Friend, and interested, please fill out the interest/ contact form here at . Questions can be directed to tom kunesh

National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Boarding Schools

Mark September 30 as a National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Indian Boarding Schools. The Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition encourages Native communities, as well as non-Native allies, to hold healing-informed events honoring boarding school survivors and call for accountability of the Federal Indian Boarding School policies. The introduction of a bill establishing a Commission for Truth and Healing on U.S. Boarding School Policy is anticipated for that day.

Canada and the United States were two of the four “no” votes against the Declaration in 2007 but, by 2016, both had agreed to uphold it in some fashion.

There are also several other things we can do – or begin – on that day of remembrance. Check the list here.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Announces Boarding School Initiative

June 22, 2021 – In remarks to the National Congress of American Indians 2021 Mid Year Conference today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.

Today’s announcement is accompanied by a secretarial memo in which Secretary Haaland directs the Department to prepare a report detailing available historical records, with an emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites, relating to the federal boarding school program in preparation for a future site work. This work will occur under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

“The Interior Department will address the inter-generational impact of Indian boarding schools to shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past, no matter how hard it will be,” said Secretary Haaland. “I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo the heartbreak and loss we feel. But only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace.”

Secretary Haaland recently reflected on the inter-generational trauma created – even in her own family – by these policies in an op-ed.

See full press release here.

Christine Diindiisi McCleave, chief executive officer of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, added that a legislative proposal for a Boarding School Healing Commission would go forward as a complement to the Department’s initiative.

Canadian Parliament Approves Bill to Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

June 17, 2021 – The Canadian Parliament passed bill C-15 to Implement the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The U.N. passed the Declaration in 2007, after decades of work by Indigenous peoples around the world. The Declaration sets global minimum standards for the “survival, dignity and well-being” of Indigenous peoples.

The Implementation Act requires the federal government to “take all measures necessary” to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the provisions of the UN Declaration. The Act also requires that a National Action Plan to implement the Declaration through law, policy and programs be developed and adopted within two years.

Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit political executive said, “The Implementation Act … does not create new rights. What it requires is concrete, meaningful, and timely action to ensure that Canada finally lives up to its obligations under Treaties, the Constitution and international law.”

So far, the U.S. has taken no action toward implementation.

See the public statement of the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Unmarked Children’s Graves Found Near Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, Canada

May 29, 2021 – More than 200 Indigenous children’s remains have been found by using ground-penetrating radar, near a former residential school in Kamloops, about 160 miles northeast of Vancouver. The institution, the biggest residential school in Canada, operated under the auspices of the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969 as part of the national government’s policy to “assimilate” Indigenous children.  As in the U.S., Indigenous families in Canada were required to send their children to state-funded residential schools until as late as 1996.  According to an Associated Press story on May 29, about 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were sent to these schools.  About six thousands may have died.

In the U.S., unmarked graves were found in 2016 around the Chimewa Indian School near Salem, Oregon, using a similar ground radar method, Mary Pember reports for Indian Country Today. Marsha Small, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, is the researcher who located the graves. She believes there may be “hundreds” of graves yet to be found, based on her assessment of the “disparate placement” of the remains.

So far, the U.S. has done nothing to acknowledge responsibility for the deaths – and intergenerational damage – caused by the government-funded boarding schools. (But see announcement of Department of Interior’s Federal Boarding School Initiative on June 22, above.)

Water for Oil

June 18, 2021 – The Minnesota government has issued a “dewatering permit” to Enbridge to “displace” 5 billion  gallons of water during the construction of Line 3 through the state.  The dewatering permit — which increases allowable “dewatering” from 500 million gallons without consultation with the White Earth tribal government — will directly impact the water available to the tribe for their annual wild rice harvest.

If the U.S. — or the state of Minnesota — had committed to comply with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, the government agencies would have been well-versed in Article 19, which recognizes a right to a tribe’s “free, prior, and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.”  And Article 29, which acknowledges that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources.” 

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