We wish to increase our understanding and appreciation of Indigenous peoples, to learn from them and their cultures, and to support them in exercising their rights and achieving their goals, as way opens. By “as way opens,” we mean that we are responsive to what is asked of us by Indigenous peoples rather than determining on our own what we believe we should do for their benefit. We seek to act in accord with the Quaker testimonies and to grow in our understanding of “right relationship.” We undertake projects as we are led by the Spirit, within the constraints of our human and material resources.
Our focus is on “peoples” as cultural groups, whose rights are recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We share their concerns and seek to support their efforts to exercise self-determination; maintain their cultural identity and languages; protect their territories, environment, and sacred sites; express their spiritual values and practices; and exercise sovereignty. We are committed to continuing Friends’ historic efforts to build right relationship with Native Americans, and we also extend our concern and involvement to Indigenous peoples throughout the world. Our current activities include a study group; support of specific programs in collaboration with the Navajo, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Lakota peoples; and educational outreach to the wider Quaker community and other faith communities around the “Doctrine of Discovery” and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We currently provide financial assistance to the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), a school art program on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the annual Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run, and the Torreon Community Alliance of the Navajo Nation. Our “Toward Right Relationship” project offers a workshop called, “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples,” to faith communities, high schools and colleges, and civic organizations, locally and nationally.
To read the committee’s 2012 Annual Report, click here
Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples
Indigenous leaders are calling on people of faith to raise awareness about the historical and ongoing injustices committed against Native Peoples, and to seek ways of building right relationship with them in accord with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In response to this call and with the advice of Native American educators, the Indigenous Peoples Concerns Committee developed a 2-hour workshop called, “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples.” Click for more
Gerald One Feather awarded Honorary Doctoral Degree
At the Spring, 2013 University of Colorado Commencement, Gerald One Feather, longtime friend of the Boulder Friends Meeting, was awarded an honorary doctoral degree for his outstanding contributions in Lakota education and other areas. Click for more
Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery
In solidarity with initiatives led by Indigenous leaders and a growing number of religious organizations, the Boulder Friends Meeting repudiates the “Doctrine of Discovery.” Click to read the Minute
For more information and resources on the Doctrine of Discovery, click here.
Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
In order to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples founded in equity and justice, we affirm and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Click to read the Minute
For more information and resources on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, click here
Support the Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run
“There is a bluff near Chivington, Colorado, overlooking Big Sandy Creek where you can hear women and children crying in the wind. This remote spot is the place where 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians were murdered by Colonel John M. Chivington’s militiamen….no one was ever punished.” — Walter R. Echo-Hawk
Boulder Friends feel called to support a healing process that the Cheyenne and Arapaho people themselves initiated 14 years ago. Elders from the communities in Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma bring young runners to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site each November. There they conduct prayer ceremonies and the young people continue to carry the prayers in their Spiritual Healing Run.
See “How Does Healing Happen?” Boulder Camera Guest Commentary, October 2012, by Paula Palmer and Aya Medrud.