Through engagement, we find meaning in crafting genuine land acknowledgements as possible “first steps” in recognizing Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands on which we now live and work. In creating, we are called into collaborating, being accountable, continuously taking up “next steps,” and tending respectful relationships with Indigenous Nations and communities by listening. We encourage the mindful practice of naming the Indigenous People(s) whose land you are on – at home, at work, and/ or while traveling. [Read more…] about First Contact Reconciliation Seventh Mo. 2022
First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative
Honor The Promise Campaign (Treaty of Amity: Perpetual Peace and Friendship)
Based on mutual attendance, Honor the Promise yard signs were taken to the 41st Annual Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Powwow, held at the Salem County Fairgrounds. Friends will be keeping alive the story of perpetual peace and friendship. Who is represented by this sacred wampum belt treaty; which rivers represent Lenapehoking; when might the yard signs be displayed? These and more relative inquiries are perpetuating The Treaty of Amity ‘story by the following monthly meetings: Atlantic City Area, Chestnut Hill, Kendal, London Grove, Woodbury, Woodstown; as well as Friends School Mullica Hill and Burlington Meetinghouse; and by request, gifted to the Native American Church/ St John UMC (Fordville) and Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. [Read more…] about First Contact Reconciliation Update
On February 5th, about 125 Friends gathered for the PYM program Thread Gathering: Restorative Racial Justice. Following a morning with Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting facilitators .O and Dana Reinhold, three different collaboratives–Middle East Collaborative, First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative (FCRC) and Eco-Justice Collaborative–offered overviews of current work. Below is a follow-up story by FCRC. [Read more…] about Spirit of First Contact Reconciliation: What’s Going On?
January is a reflective month and First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative suggests Friends engage with an opportunity (below) to read a book about the forests we live among.
Grassroots collaboration calls us back to selecting a One Book, One Community title. This winter we are vesting in Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard. Finding the Mother Tree is available with local library systems or for purchase as a book, e-book, or tape. [Read more…] about One Book, One Community 2022
First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative is seeking Friends’ truths. We are looking for those truths that work toward healing and involve humbly examining and sharing our stories.
[Read more…] about First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative: Healing and Story-telling on Federal Indian Boarding Schools
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s upcoming Continuing Sessions on March 27th will feature three issues of importance to Friends; Membership, Climate Change, and AntiRacism.
It is hoped that Friends at every meeting or worship group will feel led to participate, and that these issues will be brought back to your communities to inform and sustain Friends in an ongoing partnership towards a better world.
PYM First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative* gathered on Oct.13th for a workshop at Friends Center. We watched the film DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY: Unmasking the Domination Code, then explored ways each of us might speak-out & take action. Resources have been provided for the following acts where products are being threshed for clarity; they currently include:
• LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Using the app NATIVE LAND, determine the tribal territory you occupy and acknowledge the people(s) of that territory when opening events, giving a talk, addressing a group, etc. Public buildings, houses of worship and private homes can also acknowledge the tribal territory they occupy with signage.
• INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY: With the growing movement to address the Myth of Columbus, come to terms with the truth of his barbaric and genocidal actions and their impacts. There are several actions that can be taken: 1) explore your local school to inquire what is being taught about Columbus; 2) offer a proposal to embrace Indigenous Peoples Day to your town, county, state, university or college.
• THANKSGIVING: with this holiday approaching, sharing with local school district, family and friends the truth about this holiday and deflating the myth.
• NATIVE MASCOTS – If your local school district has a Native mascot, you have the opportunity to bring awareness of its racism and harm to Indigenous peoples to your community. You could also share these videos: Native Americans Review Indian Mascots and/ or Proud to Be.
• DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIAN DISCOVERY – Papal Decrees put out by Popes in Rome that have laid the foundation for devaluing, discrimination and decimation of Native peoples since 1442 until today. Explore or initiate the movement within your Faith Community to rescind, revoke, repudiate.
• LETTER WRITING – write a letter on any one of these issues of justice to a newspaper, politician, website, etc. to make your voice heard.
FCRC Friends welcome the opportunity to visit with you to share cultural concerns and focus potential sadness/ anger into action steps. With revelation, may we let our lives speak, live a path peace, and build beloved community. To contact FCRC, call 609.221.7247
*This PYM collaborative, officially formed in 2017, holds intentions toward building true friendships, reconciling relationships, with Lenape Tribal People, specifically, those Lenape tribal nations/ communities who have remained on their ancestral lands. The FCRC creates space for the Lenape Tribes to lift their sovereign nations’ voices, a place for those not brought up in Native Nation community to listen. Listening also includes ways to reconcile with Spirit, with oneself, as well as with Lenape (whose hospitality lends as legacy hosts to Lenapehoking.) Being met by early Western European explorers, traders, and settlers, the Lenape are “First Contact” sovereign Nations/ Peoples. PYM calls the group a collaborative, and FCRC does network; history identifies the communities as “First Contact.” Revelation beckons reconciliation toward beloved community. Our loving identity is First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative, FCRC.
Photo credit: Nanticoke Lenape Tribal Members. Jeremy Newman © 2019
The weather was beautiful at Penn Treaty Park, site of the 3rd annual Indigenous Peoples Day Philly celebration, Saturday October 12th, 2019. “Penn Treaty Park is a significant place where the Great Elm Tree of Shackamaxon once stood. It is where many sachems (chiefs) of the Lenni Lenape and other tribes from the Lenapehoking territory would meet for council. Indigenous Peoples Day Philly is proud to honor the space by bringing our diverse Philadelphia Indigenous community together in celebration of our resilience, strength, and beauty.”
Dignitaries for the event were Mark Gould, Chief of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape, and Tai Pelli (Taino), Human Rights Activist. Performers included the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape (Drum Group and Dancers); Vaughnda Hilton and Native Nations Dance Theater; The Magic of Storytelling with Tchin; Richie Olivera (Andean Music); Lauren Garret (Violinist); Taino Council Guatu Ma Cu a Boriken; and Campa Tlanesi (Danza Azteca del Anahuac). The event was sponsored by the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation, We Are the Seeds, Philly Taino Cultural Workshop, Indigenous 215, Philly with Standing Rock, Philadelphia Assembled, FREE LEONARD PELTIER, and Friends of Penn Treaty Park.
Trinity Norwood (Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape) noted, “It was our largest event to date with 5 different indigenous communities represented and about 200 spectators throughout the day.” The Indigenous Peoples Day planning committee is a collective of several Indigenous organizations in Philadelphia. A November fellowship potluck is planned for all the participants to share their feelings about the day and ideas for future organizing, fundraising, and facilitating.
Although it has not been announced, we await a potential 4th annual Indigenous Peoples Day, when we might gather again for a celebration of song, dance, beautiful art, and traditional foods.
In November 2018, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation’s lawsuit with Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was resolved; the Tribal Nation is once again recognized/ reaffirmed by the state of New Jersey. On March 18, 2019, New Jersey AG announced historic recognition of the Powhatan Renape Tribe and Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation. These Lenape Tribal Nations are seated on the NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs. The following original story and individual settlement agreements are posted -https://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases19/pr20190318b.html
TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that New Jersey has entered into separate settlement agreements with the Powhatan Renape Nation and the Ramapough Lenape Nation by which the State acknowledges it has officially recognized the two tribes as American Indian Tribes since 1980.
Under the settlements, the State agrees that New Jersey’s recognition is intended to qualify the tribes for all federal and state benefits and services for which State-recognized tribes are eligible. Among those benefits and services are “all privileges provided by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.”
The State also agrees going forward that it will not deny the status of the Powhatan Renape and Ramapough Lenape nations as State-recognized American Indian tribes, and revokes any past denials of recognition. In addition, both tribes specifically disclaim any interest in casino gaming rights under the settlement, and the parties agree that official State recognition does not provide the tribes with federal casino gaming rights.
“Let there be no ambiguity. Through this settlement, New Jersey affirms the status of both the Powhatan Renape Nation and the Ramapough Lenape Nation as American Indian Tribes recognized by the State,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Tribal rights are significant rights, and we are glad that, through good faith negotiation, we’ve been able to reach an accord with both the Powhatan and Ramapough nations. These two tribes can now move forward without concern that state-level recognition issues will in any way impede their progress.”
Under the settlements announced today, the State has agreed to notify all relevant state and federal agencies of the newly-formalized recognition status of Powhatan and Ramapough nations within 30 days. Among the federal agencies to be notified are the Indian Arts & Crafts Board, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development.
With the agreements announced today, state-recognition issues pertaining to all three “New Jersey tribes of American Indians” referenced in statutes passed by the New Jersey Legislature in the 1990s are resolved.
In November 2018, Attorney General Grewal announced that New Jersey had entered into a similar state-recognition settlement with the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation.
While neither the Powhatan nor Ramapough pursued litigation, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Nation had filed state and federal lawsuits in 2015.
Those lawsuits alleged, in part, that ambiguity regarding the Lenni-Lenape’s recognition status in New Jersey had caused it to be denied the right to label and sell traditional arts and crafts as “American Indian-made,” lose access to federal grants and scholarships, and lose contracts previously obtained by tribally-owned businesses.
Photo credit: https://www.state.nj.us/state/njcaia.shtml
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer was the selection for the One Book, One Community read-in sponsored by the Salem Quarter Indian Affairs Committee. The discussion took place over the winter in the comfort of our own homes through dial up and/or log in access called Zoom.
When I googled this title, I found two interesting things. One is that 4,182 people liked it well
enough to write a review for Goodreads, with a 4.6 out of a possible 5 rating. That seemed
quite good to me for a nonfiction book.
Even more appealing, I noticed when I googled the book that Longwood Gardens featured
Braiding Sweetgrass in 2015 as its Community Read selection. On the Longwood Gardens
website, go to events/blogs and enter Braiding Sweetgrass in the search box. You will find a
beautiful description of the book, complete with gorgeous photos of Longwood Gardens, and
quotes from the author, Robin Wall Kimmerer. This recommendation alone makes it worth
checking out the book.
What is fascinating to me about this book is that while it is primarily considered a work of
nonfiction written by a science professor, it is extremely readable. It weaves together many
genres. The author tells of personal experiences with nature as a type of memoir. She brings in
myths and legends about the environment. Throughout the book are references to the Citizen
Potawatomi Nation of which she is a member. She describes scientific facts about ecology in a
way that is easy to understand. Spirituality, poetry and even history can be found within the
pages. The full title of this book is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific
Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.
Considering this book’s relevance to Quakerism, one of the main queries Braiding Sweetgrass
addresses is Stewardship of the Environment. The book was published in 2013, and it took
seven years to write. It seems even more important today with looming environmental
challenges. The importance of the Quaker tenets of simplicity and community are well
documented as well.
I close with a quote from the publisher, Milkweed Editions:
“The awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our
reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of
other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our
own gifts in return.”
I write this review of Braiding Sweetgrass to encourage others to tell us about books they have
read that would have interest for our wider Quaker audience. Books with examples of our
Quaker tenets would be especially welcome, in addition to books about Quakersim in general.
submitted by Friend and librarian, GH