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Truth and Healing Commission for Native Peoples Dear Friends, at their June 20, 2021 meeting for worship with a concern for business, Intermountain Yearly Meeting (IMYM) approved the minute below. It calls on individual Friends and monthly meetings to urge their Congressional representatives to support a bill that seeks to create a Truth and Healing Commission for the U.S. Indian boarding schools. Senator Elizabeth Warren is expected to introduce this bill before the August recess. 

On Cliques (September 2021)

The Color of Law (review) The GI Bill was a White guy thing. Yes, the famous law that gave so many young veterans a good start in life after World War II. Although technically, it was for all veterans, in practice, African-Americans found it impossible to get the promised support. Before long, they stopped applying for it. And that was only the beginning. In his 2017 book, The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein shows that many housing laws were designed to discriminate against African-Americans. He shows that it was in fact the policy of the federal government to discriminate in housing. And he shows how racial discrimination in housing led to the segregated society we know today; divisions by neighborhood, by financial situation, by profession, and by level of education – all come out of housing discrimination.

On Cliques (September 2021)

On Words Language is a technology, a means of employing experience-based knowledge for practical purposes. Words are torches that beam from mind to mind, prompting individuals to turn their attentions in the same direction and to coordinate their efforts for survival. Many species rely on communication systems in this way. Homo sapiens, however, is a species that seems to have undergone a freakishly powerful cognitive mutation about 70,000 years ago. We became enabled then to speak of fictions.

On Words (November 2021)

Delights and Downfalls with Words I admit it, I’m a word nerd. I grew up with Scrabble and Boggle, then progressed to New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles. At one point, I even wrote my own twelve-page dictionary of invented, adapted, and deliberately mangled words and meanings.

On Words (November 2021)

Listening for the Yearly Epistle “We’re not really watching,” said a member of the Watching Committee several years ago.  “What we’re really doing is listening.” Not only was the term “listening” more accurate in describing the work of composing an epistle for our yearly meeting, it also struck a friendlier chord. Earlier generations of Friends no doubt had good reasons for the names they chose, but for us “Watching Committee” suggested an oppressive sense of authority as in “Big Brother is watching you.” So, we proposed, and Intermountain Yearly Meeting later approved, the name change to “Listening Committee.”

On Words (November 2021)

Speaking of Animacy How delighted we are when our children first begin to talk! What a miracle, what a joy! I have felt that joy and sense of the miraculous when that little being, my young child, could finally begin to share with me their wishes, thoughts, feelings, questions, and more – the first time they “used their words.” Even then, however, I was also aware of the drawbacks of learning our “native” spoken language. In the case of my own children, the language was English, and in learning this, I knew they would automatically be “pre-programmed” with the world-view inherent in English. This would limit where their minds could travel, just as learning a different “mother tongue” would limit their minds in a different way.

On Words (November 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)

On Membership and Being in the Light On December 14, 2018, I walked into the Multnomah Friends Meetinghouse for the first time. I felt enveloped in a circle of Light, at one with it and with everyone in the room. I had been searching, longing for this my entire life. I was Home.

On Freedom (January 2022)

On Freedom A thrill is in the air when a storm is on the way. Some creatures run and shout and seek the highest vantage point. Others look for the nearest root cellar. Reckless versus responsible, selfless versus selfish – any reaction to danger can be seen in various lights. Some good neighbors rush to warn the rest to hurry up and take cover. Some keep busy in the cellar, shoring up the weight-bearing timbers.

On Freedom (January 2022)