Native American Issues

Renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery (DOD) is a papal bull written in 1493. Throughout history it has been the primary basis for taking lands from Indigenous peoples. Our country’s laws governing Native Nations and Tribes continue to rest on the DOD. Before this and the legal precedents that rest on it will be overturned in court, the DOD must be renounced by a wide spectrum of the American people who understand its implications and push to have it overturned. Officially renouncing the Doctrine is a first step in a long-term legal strategy.

Support for Federal Recognition of the Brothertown Indian Nation

The Brothertown Tribe was formed in 1785 out of the remnants of seven northeast tribes decimated by the wars, disease and famines that accompanied colonization. In 1939 the tribe’s petition for U.S. citizenship was granted, however, an unexpected consequence was losing their status as a federally recognized tribe. There were also major tax and land consequences. Since the 1970s the Tribe has been working toward restoration of federal recognition. We believe their federal recognition was wrongly terminated, implying the Brothertown could not be both members of their Tribe and American citizens. 

Support Legislation for a Native Boarding School Truth and Healing Commission

On September 30, 2021, a bipartisan bill (S. 2907/H.R. 5444) was introduced in Congress for the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the U.S. Act. The work to introduce a congressional commission has been underway for almost a decade. The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is asking for public support.

Quakers were complicit when in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Christian churches collaborated with the government to create hundreds of boarding schools for Native American children. The conditions at these schools, more than 30 of them run by Quakers, were unspeakable. It is vital to ground our advocacy efforts in an honest history of Quakers’ oppression of Indigenous people.