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Sierra-Cascades Grant to Indigenous Alaskans

Published: Nov. 17, 2023

The Kake Regional Cultural Healing Center will receive $75,000 from Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting.

The Tribal Council of the Organized Village of Kake, Alaska, is passionate about developing a program to help their people heal from substance abuse and the intergenerational traumas that often fuel addictions.

Their intergenerational trauma hearkens back to colonization and the time when Alaska Native children were sent to boarding schools by whites seeking to take over their lands and erase their culture. This effort was often aided by missionaries, including from the forebears of Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting at Kake, Alaska. That’s one reason Sierra-Cascades approved the $75,000 donation during its quarterly meeting on October 28, 2023.

Substance abuse will dull the pain of trauma temporarily, but may lead to suicide, death by other means, and continuing the trauma onto the next generation. Tribal Council members know the loss of family members from addictions personally.

The vision held for the center by tribal council president Joel Jackson includes partners who would handle the detox and medical check-up stages of recovery before a person’s one-to-three-month stay at the healing center. The first stage would include fixing dental problems, for example, and to make sure people have the right medications and no undiagnosed underlying health conditions Joel’s plan is to engage more partners afterwards to help with housing and ongoing support.

In donating the funds, we recognize the history of Oregon Yearly Meeting (now Northwest Yearly Meeting) and other Quakers in the process of the harm done. We don’t know the exact extent of how our Quaker predecessors were involved in the harms of attempting to eradicate the tribal life of the people of Kake. We don’t believe a few tens of thousands of dollars is commensurate to the past evil or even the present need. We only know our predecessors once were there, and now there are people who need help, and we can help. We will listen and learn more about what happened then and how we can best continue to help in the future. While we take time to listen and learn, we can also give the help we have.

by Andrew Franklin, Camas Friends (11/12/2023)

Click here to read the original article in the Bulletin of Sierra Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends.

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