Actions for Building and Maintaining Right Relationships with Indigenous Cultures

At North Pacific Yearly Meeting’s 2021 Annual Session, I presented an Interest Group on “Toward Right Relationship with Indigenous Cultures”: ‘As we consider the Earthcare minute, let’s reflect on how the ethics and worldviews of Indigenous cultures can help us decolonize our own. We’ll consider some ideas for Friends as a group to act upon, bringing us to effective action.’

The presentation will eventually be posted here. Meanwhile, here is the list of proposed actions, followed by a list of web links referenced in the presentation:


Examine every element of your physical life to determine to what degree it reflects Indigenous Ethics and Worldviews.

Educate yourself and others. Attend and help develop educational events. Share your ideas and concerns through writing and lending books, creating publications, initiating conversations, and participating in electronic social media.

Reduce your consumption of food. Choose foods based on the sustainability of their production and distribution, specifically including energy costs, pollution and social impacts. Grow your own food and plant trees.

Travel lightly– cycle, walk, use public transport or alternatives to private cars, keep air travel to a minimum.

Share housing and community resources: Form or join a community, share housing, participate in a transition town movement.

Become politically active in promoting right relations concerns. Stay alert for opportunities to support your local indigenous people.

Invest ethically and divest from fossil fuels.

Reduce energy use especially for home heating and electricity consumption.

Use less water and harvest water.

Make time for spiritual connection with nature and God. Develop your own sense of connection with Indigenous Ethics and Worldviews. Learn the local language, closely paying attention to the deeper meanings it can express. Bonus: “We Are Still Here”

Within the Meeting:

Examine every element of the Meeting’s physical life to determine to what degree it reflects right relationships.

Encourage Friends to carry out the individual tasks listed earlier.

Educate Friends and others. Share your ideas and concerns through organized events, writing and lending books, creating publications, initiating conversations, participating in electronic social media.

Encourage Friends to share transport, equipment and sustainability skills with others in the Meeting community.

Encourage Friends to feel their inherent connections with all of nature: lead children out in nature; take care of nature around the meeting house (e.g., landscaping with native plants).

Renovate the Meeting House for sustainability.

Build alliances with like-minded organizations, especially with those that promote right relationships, and publicize our efforts with decision-makers.

Within our Quarterly and Yearly Meetings

Support the above actions of Monthly Meetings.

Build solidarity with local people, especially indigenous people.

Support Quaker activity in establishing right relations through politics and international work.

Connect and share with other Yearly Meetings, directly or via FWCC Sections and World Office. Consider breaking denominational lines, e.g. with Sierra Cascades and Northwest Yearly Meeting churches.

In the wider world:

Develop deeper ideas of Right Relations, e.g. the “gift economy” and “mutual aid”

Advocate for broader and deeper partnership with more earth-centered cultures.

Connect and share with other religious bodies, directly or via organizations like Earth Ministry and the Church Council of Greater Seattle.

Develop urban agriculture, community gardens, community supported agriculture, and plant trees.

Uphold, publicize and support related activities of Quaker and other organizations. This would include FCNL’s legislative work, AFSC’s community organizing, QEW’s education, and developing something like EQAT’s social activism.

Specific Actions from Friends Peace Teams/Toward Right Relationship program:

  • Support treaty rights and water protectors, Line 3 and elsewhere

  • Support Investigations and Healing for Indian Boarding Schools in Canada and the US

  • Sponsor workshops & other educational events

Other potential actions:

  • Consider the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery and how to counter it

  • Establish Land Acknowledgement as a regular practice in your Meeting

  • Consider how to return land to Native nations

  • Monitor and advocate for appropriate legislation through FCNL, Quaker Voice. Note ATNI and NCAI as information sources.

Web Links:

Mike Yarrow:

Quaker Indian Schools:

PacYM Braiding Sweetgrass Worship Group:

Woodbrooke Epistle:

Decolonize First workbook:

Balancing Act:

Related to all:

Salmon Boy Story video:

Life Lessons from Animals:

Recycling not good enough:

Learn a Local Language:

Annapolis Friends Meeting EV initiative

Snoqualmie Tribe asks public:

Aotearoa/NZ YM Epistle:

Indigenous Concerns Committee:

Earth Quaker Action Team:

Toward Right Relations/FPT:

Doctrine of Discovery:

Land Acknowledgement:

Land Reparations [“Landback”]: