After a year-long discernment process, members of PYM’s Indian Committee, with approval from PYM’s Granting Committee and Administrative Council, have agreed upon a new name, the Quaker Fund for Indigenous Communities Granting Group. The granting group’s statement below has been shared with past members, past grant recipients, Quakers, and organizations with related missions:
Quaker Fund for Indigenous Communities
Formerly known as the Indian Committee, we are Quakers from all parts of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting who support Indigenous communities through grants as well as advocacy. Our small grants provide seed money for projects identified and implemented by Native communities in the Philadelphia area and throughout North, Central, and South America. These include projects to build cultural, economic, environmental, and social well-being.
Our limited funding base means that we have given small grants and sometimes cannot fund all the grant requests we receive. We hope to build our funding base which is built on gifts from Friends to the Quaker Fund for Indigenous Communities endowment so that we can make more and larger grants which will ensure that projects planted with the help of our “seed money” have the chance to grow. And we would like to be able to sustain funding for longer term projects as they develop, especially in support of language and culture so that children and youth benefit from the transmission of unique heritages from elders in their communities. This is an area with urgency as the elders of Native communities pass away and take with them irreplaceable knowledge.
The Indian Committee began its ongoing relationship with Native peoples in 1795, and in the past Quakers were complicit in efforts to “civilize” Native peoples, including the operation of boarding schools where children were stripped of their culture. Supporting young people and their communities in their efforts to learn and take pride in their identity and traditions is one way to redress wrongs of the past.
We are currently seeking new members and hope you might consider service on the Quaker Fund for Indigenous Communities Granting Group. We value the diverse experiences and knowledge new members bring to our work and in return you will have the opportunity to learn more about the complex issues that impact Indigenous communities. To explore participation on this granting group contact: Tom Armstrong, firstname.lastname@example.org, our PYM Granting Committee Liaison.
Please visit our webpage to learn more about our work. We encourage you to also explore the PYM’s First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative as another way to act on concerns in support of Indigenous peoples.”
The endowment for the Quaker Fund for Indigenous Communities is currently accepting contributions. Thanks to the generosity of a donor, contributions are being matched two-to one (up to $56,000). The impact of your gift to the endowment will be tripled. To learn more about this opportunity to support Indigenous communities through PYM, please contact cduncan-Tessmer@pym.org.
The cover image from this story is used with permission from Native Land. They asked that we include as a disclaimer that the map is not an academic or legal resource; “Sourcing data on Indigenous territories is a delicate process therefore the map should be used with an understanding that areas may be incorrect according to local nations and individual interpretation.” An earlier version of this story used a photo taken by a member of the First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative.