REMATRIATION: A Spiritual Relationship
By sandra boone murphy
All the wonderous gifts pictured – shiny, dull, smooth, rough, soft, hard, solid, variegated, small, large, young, and old – are making their way back to where they belong. Each return has been placed with a story that includes gratitude for being inspirational teachers, acknowledgement of their relations, and an apology for having been removed.
Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape) explains acts of rematriation as returning “a living culture to its rightful place on Mother Earth,” or restoring “a spiritual way of life, in sacred relationship with their ancestral lands, without external interference.”
Friends’ Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) vision statement says, “WE ARE CALLED to live in right relationship with all Creation, recognizing that the entire world is interconnected and is a manifestation of God.”
All of Creation has their story of belonging, an interconnectedness to place. This Friend’s decades of habitually collecting memory markers and story starters has shifted to acts of observation, wonder, and listening.
With clearness, the return of these precious gifts of the Creator is witness of caring for Earth as well as her people. There is spiritual joy in rematriating life of the ocean to the beach. Should there be “kin” – shell, pebble, feather, bone – along coming paths, they will be intentionally honoured more simply in that moment and remain in relationship to where they belong.
All of Creation,
has their rightful place on Mother Earth,
with a story –
glory, acknowledgement, apology;
joyfully, lovingly, simply being,
where one belongs.
This spirit led work is part of an ongoing series of REMATRIATION expressions taken up by the author.
Experiential Workshops – Friends Peace Teams, TRR
Several members of FCRC are trained facilitators for two Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples workshops. Kairos, of Canada granted permission to modify their original work. We hear U.S. history – voices of Native Americans, European colonists, Western historians and a narrator – tracing historic and ongoing impacts of 15th-century Papal Bulls as justification for European subjugation of non-Christian peoples. Both workshops have been developed in response to calls from Indigenous leaders at the United Nations and the World Council of Churches.
*one-hour program for middle and high schools students, “Rediscovering America: Understanding Colonization,” *two-hour program for high school students and adults, “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change – Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples.”
For complete information about Toward Right Relations with Native Peoples, click here;
for a consultation toward hosting a workshop contact FCRC – (609)221-7247, email@example.com.
In order to educate for social change we must engage the spirit and, in order to do so, we need to decolonize ourselves. ~R.A. Shahjahan
PYM Minute of Action (2015):
Friends tested and affirmed the work of our clerks and our elders, since being tasked during Annual Sessions in July 2014, to help discern a way forward in addressing many -isms including-racism, sexism, genderism and classism. Friends also heartily affirmed that as a Yearly Meeting we: Commit to increase our consciousness as Friends about the intersection of privilege and race in our culture and spiritual community. We know our knowledge is often limited by our own experiences and that we have much to learn from each other and from outside resources. Commit to move forward with our entire community. The yearly meeting is the community of all our individual Friends and monthly meetings and this work needs to be done with the involvement of all of us. Commit to integrate this work into what we do in an ongoing way at the yearly meeting level. We want this work to become part of the fabric of what we do whenever we get together as yearly meeting members and attenders.
Given our PYM Minute of Action (2015)
The FCRC finds the PYM Minute of Action (2015) consistent with their inner light. Toward elimination of our “…isms” and walking a path of change, this collaborative is mindfully guided to the following practices:
- loving our Tribal Nations neighbors, with intentional words and deeds;
- seeking T(t)ruths, redemption, justice, and healing for all our relations;
- recognizing the negative impacts of colonial Christendom that dwell within us – individually and structurally;
- raising awareness & knowledge of historic truths impacting Indigenous Peoples; and
- taking actions toward right relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Native Peoples.
Decolonization and spirituality are inextricably linked. ~George J Sefa Dei
Extract from the Abington Peace Meeting
“Our friend has spoken of the barbarities which have been practiced towards the Indians, and of their present condition of degradation in contrast with their condition when William Penn landed on this continent. It occurred to me to ask if Friends were truly alive to their situation and to the fact of the treatment they have received from the agents who have been employed by the government and who have wronged them so shamefully, whether there would not have been more frequent and more earnest protests and appeals to the government on their behalf. We have not considered the wrongs of Indians as our own. We have aided in driving them further and further west, until, as the poor Indians said, ‘You will drive us away, until we go beyond the setting sun.’ I wonder if, with the profession we Friends have made, of care for the Indians, we have been active enough in our labor.”
~Lucretia Mott, Abington Peace Meeting, 1869
Query: What might Lucretia words mean, “consider the wrongs of Indians as our own”? Are Friends “truly alive to their situation and … in our labor”?