Indian Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Report for July 2013-September 2014
This report includes the period of July 2013 through September 2014 to shift to a new PYM fiscal Year. In the future annual reports will cover the period of October 1 through September 30.
Grant request for $2,377 for expenses related to the organization of a festival called “Taino Experience 2013” to celebrate the native people of Puerto Rico was received from Dr. Ana Maria Tekina-eirú Maynard, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance and Cultural Center in Austin, Texas. This event brought Taino elders from Puerto Rico for the festival as well as a range of activities to foster pride in Taino heritage and to make the wider public aware of this enduring culture. The Committee approved a grant of $1,000 (9/2013)
Grant request for $300 to pay expenses and an honorarium for the noted Native American illustrator Earl Bradley Lewis so that he can visit public schools in NJ to share his books. He also received a grant from the PYM Willits Book Trust, to give some of his books out to students. The committee approved the grant for $300 and expressed their pleasure to work with Willits and Lisa Garrison.(10/13)
Grant request from Four Directions Development Corporation for $2,500 in funding to evaluate the impact of their housing projects for Wabanaki communities in Maine. $2,000 would be for travel expenses for an evaluator and $500 would be for telephone conference calls. Although the benefit to Native peoples is indirect, it was felt that this was an important project. Four Directions leadership and staffing is almost entirely from the Wabanaki communities. The Committee approved $2,500 (1/14)
Grant request from the Torreon Community Alliance sent via Pat Kutzner. This is an organization of the Torreon/Star Lake Chapter of Navajo in Cuba, New Mexico. They are requesting $2,000 to support fees given to performers and participants and advertising for the 10th Annual Eastern Navajo and Crafts Festival which is used to raise money for Chapter support. We have funded the festival in the past (2009) but given the very limited resources for this community, the Committee felt it could fund this again. $1,000 was approved. (4/14)
Grant request from the Committee on Cultural Retention of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation in Bridgeton, New Jersey. This would support costs of Camp Cohanzick for Lenape youth. This summer two-week camp includes activities which bridge elders and children and teaches language and traditional arts and dance. Wider participation by children who want to come to the camp has been limited by lack of funding. The Committee approved $1,000 (4/14)
Grant request from the Piney Lenape Band for $750 for Lenape participation in the Swedish American Museum festival called “Drums Along the Delaware” to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the founding of the Swedish colony here. The committee approved $750 and members were encouraged to attend as individuals and support the event on the Delaware River Sept 27th 2014. (5/14)
Grant request from the Carlisle School Preservation Group for a (Native) lawyer’s fee for $1000 needed to continue work to preserve school buildings and history. The grant was approved for $1000 (5/14)
Grant request from Liandra Medeiros, a Taina from Pawtucket, RI, who is active in the Occupy Providence movement, and is a peace worker. She requested $1500 to attend the National Occupy Gathering at Sacramento, CA July 31 – Aug. 3. The topic of her talk is “Building a Solidarity Economy through a Culture of Peace.” The committee approved $700.00 toward her travel and food expenses. (6/14)
Grant request from the Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing, Pine Ridge, SD (via Pinky Clifford). This is to support the building of a modular home to allow for the expansion of their work to help people with housing needs. Our previous grant in 2012 for a tool sharing shed had been well invested. The Tribe needs $10,000 of $20,000 to complete the new project. The Committee approved a grant of $2,000. (9/14)
Grant request for $1,500 from Stenton House in Germantown to support the participation of local Lenape or travel of Delaware from Oklahoma for the Walking Purchase Symposium to be held there. The Committee has approved $750 pending clarification about the date of the program and participation of Lenape or Delaware. (4/14, 6/14)
Pending: Move Mountains San Luis for $1,000 for an arts programs that would encourage the development of youth leadership. It was unclear if the youth impacted were Native Americans or Chicanos of Hispanic-American heritage. We will try to get a better idea of the community to benefit and if this is within our granting priorities.
Unable to fund: a grant request from Guillermo Vasquez, Director of the Indigenous Permaculture Project based in San Francisco, California, for $1,500 for the project called “Belize Mayan Mopan Sustainability and Community Food Security.” This would cover expenses to conduct workshops to train a Mayan community in sustainable farming practices. The Committee felt that in view of the fact that we had already supported Indigenous Permaculture with grants in 2009, 2010 and 2011 (for three different projects) we should wait until close to the end of the fiscal year to see if there were funds remaining that might go to this project.
Action in Support of Native Peoples
The Committee wrote a letter in support of Clyde Bellecourt, White Earth Ojibwe, who was arrested and accused of trespassing after a protest at a mall in Minnesota in December 2012. His case ended in a mistrial last week but will be coming back to court. (9/13)
Kate deRiel attended the Pow wow on Saturday, September 27, 2013, at the Swedish American Museum (in south Philadelphia) called “Drums Along the Delaware” to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the founding of the Swedish colony here. The Indian Committee supported funding requested by Walter Anderson of the Piney Lenape tribe of New Jersey who are organizing the pow wow to bring attention to the fact that Native peoples still live here.
Marie Haaf shared some newspaper clippings on various topics and reported on her trip to the Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division tribal center in Virginia. She was welcomed warmly by Chief Gene Adkins and visited the community center which the Indian Committee helped to support with a grant in June 2010. This is still being constructed but progress is good and the facilities and land development will enable the tribe to do a number of projects. (11/13)
Kate deRiel attended the treaty signing ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania Museum on August 13, 2014, on behalf of the Indian Committee. This is organized every four years by the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania to invite the public to show support of the Lenape and the importance of caring for the environment. This is done in conjunction with a canoe trip on the Delaware River.
Work with Yearly Meeting and Monthly Meetings
The Indian Committee was once again present and active at PYM Annual Sessions held this year July 24 to 28, 2013, at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania… The Minute introduced by the Indian Committee in support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was approved at the PYM Annual Sessions The minute is as follows:
We hereby minute our approval of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) as endorsed by countries around the world. We call on Friends in our monthly meetings within PYM to likewise show their support by considering a minute of approval and by acting on their support through further study, education, and advocacy. We ask that monthly meetings communicate their actions on this issue with the Indian Committee, who will report their witness and share their work with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
Kate deRiel also conducted a workshop called “Saving our Future and Honoring Our Past: Native Americans and Quakers – ‘Idle No More’ Today” which was attended by 12 people
The Indian Committee also presented a workshop at the PYM Annual Sessions in July 2014 called “Native American Views of Quaker Worship.” This was attended by about 30 people including a number of young Friends. This was based on the book A Friend Among the Senecas which detailed Friends 18th century engagement with the Seneca and also addressed the different approach to worship by Natives and Quakers of the period. Different parts of the presentation in the form of a play were given to participants to read. This is a workshop that can be used for monthly meetings.
Kate deRiel spent a morning at Friends School Haverford where she talked to second graders about Quakers and Native Americans in October 2013.
Kate deRiel also spoke at Gwynedd Monthly Meeting on Sunday, January 27, 2014, for the adult class.
The Indian Committee sponsored a presentation by Paula Palmer called “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationships with America’s Native People.” held Sunday, March 30, 2014, at Arch Street Meetinghouse. She also did the workshop at Haverford College.
Both the Arch Street and Haverford College workshops were attended by about 30 people. The physical engagement in the workshop was very effective and emotionally moving to participants and Paula Palmer provided resource materials for further exploration.
The Indian Committee distributed a packet of information to monthly meetings on the UN Declaration for their use in future discussions. This included some basic fact sheets as well as the booklet presenting the UN Declaration.
Revised information has been posted on the PYM website by the Granting Groups. This has been updated to give a more up to date portrait of the granting work of the Indian Committee with mention of our non-granting work as well. (11/13)
Indian Committee members attended the Grant-Makers Luncheon on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at Arch Street Meetinghouse