Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting minute – Doctrine of Discovery & Quaker Boarding Schools

Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has reviewed information about the Doctrine of Discovery (DoD) and its implications in providing justification for laws and practices leading to removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands and attempts to destroy their culture.  We find ourselves united with the action of Northern Yearly Meeting Fall 2020 Interim Session in renouncing the DoD, as Native American organizations have asked faith communities to do.  We support consideration of further action by NYM in the future.  But while it is easy to renounce the DoD, we recognize that is not sufficient. 

Further, we recognize the specific role that Quakers played in operating Indian Boarding Schools that removed Native American youth from their homes in order to separate them from their families thus contributing to the loss of their cultural heritage.  We understand this loss is our loss as well; that we have deprived ourselves of the richness of what we might have learned from the Native American cultures.  While our Quaker forebears may have intended well, their actions were extremely harmful.  We welcome the opportunity this provides us to engage in the process of apology, restitution, and reparations.

We therefore commit ourselves to the following:

To continue to learn about the history and current culture of Native Americans, both prior to and subsequent to the arrival of Europeans, and to support efforts to make these opportunities available to others, including in our schools. 

  • To look for opportunities to engage with the Ho-Chunk tribe so we may understand who they are today and how we might support their efforts to preserve their heritage.
  • To support the efforts of the Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition to have Congress create a Truth and Reconciliation process so that the full story of the Indian Boarding Schools may be known and addressed.  To encourage larger Quaker groups to create a Truth and Reconciliation process to struggle with the history and impact of Quaker Indian Boarding Schools.
  • To support the advocacy efforts by the Friends Committee on National Legislation around Native American concerns.
  • To remind ourselves and others that varied European cultures shared genetically and culturally with numerous native cultures for several hundred years so speaking in terms of us and them creates a barrier to understanding what we share.
  • To encourage growth toward an understanding that we are all one; that there are no boundaries; that there are various ways of understanding the nature of the world and our place in it, and that these ways have been shared between cultures in the past and hopefully will be shared in the future.

Approved by Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meetaing on November 14, 2021