Apology to Local Tribes


March 2022

Re: Plans to deliver the Apology to Local Tribes

Friends, I want to share an update—and a request—regarding our progress with distribution of the Letter of Apology to Native Americans.

The Right Relationship Resource Group, which supported and encouraged conversation about the letter through the 2020–2021 year, was asked by Sessions to undertake the distribution of the Apology which was approved at Sessions 2021. In addition to gathering contact information for indigenous communities around the northeast, the group has been carefully considering how to approach sending the Apology. It was clear from the beginning of this stage of the work that sending the letter requires much more than finding addresses and stuffing envelopes. If our hope is to establish right relationship with peoples who have been ignored and abused for 400 years by non-natives, we must approach each tribe with humility, recognizing that each response may be different.

Several Native Americans have advised us that having some personal contact with someone in any given tribe would be useful, to “pave the way” by letting tribal leadership know who the Quakers are, and encouraging them to consider our invitation to present the Apology in person. If you already have an affiliation with a tribe in your area, please contact rightrelationship@neym.org

Our cover letter which will go with the Apology extends an offer to present the Apology in person if the tribe is willing. We will assemble groups of Friends, primarily from the meeting or meetings closest to a particular tribe, to be part of in-person presentations. If you are interested in participating in a delegation, please contact rightrelationship@neym.org

Several members of the Right Relationship Resource Group are prepared and willing to visit with monthly meetings, to help with understanding what it means to live into right relationship. If your meeting is interested in a visit, contact Andy Grant at andrew.palmer.grant@gmail.com or Don Campbell at roroyare@hotmail.com.

And finally, while we had initially imagined sending all the letters out when we were ready, we have come to realize that we need more knowledge about the tribes and their readiness to receive the Apology. The letters will not go out all at once.

If you are interested in resources for engagement, see this web page. https://neym.org/right-relationship-indigenous-peoples-resources-engagement

If you’d like to see what other monthly meetings have done around this concern, visit this web page. https://neym.org/right-relationship-indigenous-peoples-local-discernment-and-action

I continue to believe that this is important spiritual work that we have undertaken, and I believe that, if the outward goal is building relationships with tribes, we will experience other fruits of this introspection and reckoning.

Bruce Neumann
Presiding Clerk, New England Yearly Meeting