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Healing Our Nation’s Oldest Wounds

As I write this in late November 2013, Americans across the country are gathering together in their homes to give thanks. In southeastern Colorado, Cheyenne and Arapaho people are gathering together, too, but for a different reason. This week marks the 149th anniversary of the massacre at Sand Creek, where on November 29, 1864, the U.S. Cavalry murdered approximately 200 unarmed Cheyenne and Arapaho women, children, and elders who were supposed to be under their protection. After the massacre, volunteer soldiers paraded through the streets of Denver, waving body parts carved from the victims’ corpses. No one knows exactly how many people died at Sand Creek that day, because the survivors were prevented from returning to mourn and bury their dead. Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors would fight back for more than a decade, but eventually their peoples were banished from Colorado. Today, their descendants live on reservations in Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. 

On Patriotism (January 2014)

Body-Mind-Spirit Preparation

Over the last few years, I have been clarifying a spiritual practice that has been a part of my life for some time, but which I have only recently been able to articulate. My time as clerk of my monthly meeting these last couple of years has helped me to understand it as a necessary part of what I do to keep myself spiritually balanced and present.

On Flesh (November 2016)

#MeToo and Quaker Men

A year ago, when the phrase #MeToo went viral, it created an opening for women to talk about negative patriarchal experiences that they have been forced to put up with for years, and it drew widespread attention to sexual assault and harassment of women in all walks of life. #MeToo actually began in 2006, when social activist and community organizer Tarana Burke created the phrase “Me Too” on the Myspace social network. Her goal was to promote “empowerment through empathy” among women of color who had experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged communities. Burke was inspired to use the phrase after finding herself unable to respond to a thirteen-year-old girl who had confided in her that she had been sexually assaulted. Burke later wished she had simply told the girl, “Me too.” On October 15, 2017, actress Alyssa Milano made a very public invitation to women everywhere to spread the #MeToo meme on Twitter. She later gave Burke credit for the meme.

On Mixture (November 2018)

Vision for the Day to Be

Peace I ask of thee of river, Peace, Peace, Peace. When I learn to live serenely, cares will cease. From the hills I gather courage, vision for the day to be. Strength to lead and faith to follow, All are given unto me. Peace I ask of thee of river, Peace, Peace, Peace.                     by Gwyneth Walker

On Vision (January 2021)

Healing with Native Peoples through Truth (abridged)

[The following text was excerpted from the keynote presentation to Lake Erie Yearly Meeting on July 30, 2021. The unabridged text is published online at: https://westernfriend.org/media/healing-native-peoples-thru-truth.]

On Freedom (January 2022)

It’s OK to Talk about Quakerism

Sometimes we are reluctant to talk about our Quakerism with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. In my (so far unpublished) research on expressing Quaker spirituality in the workplace, I interviewed one person who said that when a co-worker found out he was a Quaker, he was stunned. “I worked next to you for five years and had no idea you were a Quaker.”

On Normality (July 2022)

Testimonies of Separation

I have litigated divorce, paternity, custody, child support, and Order of Protection cases in Arizona for over three years. My work has largely been funded by a grant for crime victims’ rights. Almost all of the patterns described in this article appeared many times in many cases and do not refer to particular cases or individuals.  I have omitted all identifying information and, where necessary, have changed particularizing details to preserve confidentiality.

On Separation (November 2019)

Gossip, Friends, and friends

“To put it in the language of Friends, community happens as that of God in you responds to that of God in me.” 

On Separation (November 2019)

Towards a Quaker View of Love

[The author chose the title of this article to honor the ground-breaking 1963 pamphlet from Friends in England, Towards a Quaker View of Sex.]

On Expansion (May 2018)