(Go to Boarding School News for articles on that topic)
Special Invitation for Indigenous Friends
February 1, 2022
“Decolonizing Quakers” (decolonizingquakers.org ) 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 google.com/forms/ . Questions can be directed to tom kunesh firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.)
Indigenous Environmental Protection
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.”