Preserving Subpoena Power

One September 1, I had a Skype meeting with Reid Willis in Senator Grassley’s Washington, DC, office. Reid was familiar with the history of Indian Boarding Schools. He told me Senator Grassley agreed with intent of S 2907 with two exceptions. Or, as a friend says, he doesn’t support it.

  • He feels the commission would duplicate work already being done by the Department of Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.
  • And particularly because he is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he doesn’t think that such a commission should have subpoena power.

The Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative lays the groundwork for continued work of the Interior Department.

Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative

In June 2021, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive effort to recognize the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies with the goal of addressing their intergenerational impact and to shed light on the traumas of the past.

The announcement directed the Department, under the leadership of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, to prepare a report detailing available historical records relating to federal Indian boarding schools and to develop the first official list of sites. On May 11, 2022, Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary Newland released Volume 1 of the investigative report. This report lays the groundwork for the continued work of the Interior Department to address the intergenerational trauma created by historical federal Indian boarding school policies. It reflects an extensive and first-ever inventory of federally operated schools, including profiles and maps.

Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative

I am pleased to release the first volume of the report, which represents the first attempt to produce a historical list of all Federal Indian boarding schools, to collect information about known and possible student burial sites, and to lay out a critical historical overview that sheds light on the damaging consequences of these policies and marks a path toward redressing their lasting consequences. A second volume will follow and will serve as a roadmap for continuing the compilation of records, in order to further efforts to heal the intergenerational trauma and associated economic, health, social, spiritual, and political impacts created by these failed policies.

Deb Halland,
Secretary of the Interior



https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.187/ee8.a33.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-Truth-and-Healing-Commission-on-Indian-Boarding-School-Policies-Act-FINAL.pdf

Preserving Subpoena Power

One area of particular concern is whether the Truth and Healing Commission would have subpoena power. The bill, in its current form, allows for the commission to subpoena organizations involved in the operation of Native boarding schools. Some lawmakers have expressed concern that this would grant too much power to the investigation, outside of what is legally necessary.

Supporters of the bill, however, argue that without subpoena powers, the ability of the commission to conduct its investigation would be severely hindered.

“I do believe there needs to be some requirement that any entity, including state governments and churches, who operated boarding schools and received Federal funding or support must make any relevant documentation available to the Commission,” said Kirk Francis, chief of the Penobscot Nation, during the Senate hearing.

“I do believe there needs to be some requirement that any entity, including state governments and churches, who operated boarding schools and received Federal funding or support must make any relevant documentation available to the Commission,” said Kirk Francis, chief of the Penobscot Nation, during the Senate hearing.

The House Education and Labor Committee will consider the Truth and Healing bill next before it can go to the House floor for vote. This is a critical time for faith communities, Quaker meetings, and lawmakers in Congress to support the commission and uphold support for subpoena powers. Without access to records and documents, the commission cannot effectively bring justice to the countless victims and their families.

Lawmakers Make Progress on Native Boarding School Legislation by Seneca Ransom, Friends Committee on National Legislation, July 12, 2022


Open Letter Campaign: Truth and Healing with Friends

The Great Plains Action Society has published an “Open Letter Campaign: Truth and Healing with Friends”, which includes information about using FCNL’s letter writing templates for supporters of the bill to use to contact their representatives in Congress about this legislation.

Open Letter Campaign: Truth and Healing with Friends, Great Plains Action Society


National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

Week One of Seven: Help us bring justice, accountability, awareness, and healing by telling the unvarnished truth about America’s history and genocide committed against Indigenous Peoples by way of Federal Indian boarding school policies. NABS asks that you please call the U.S. House leadership and request “they bring forward HR. 5444, the Truth and Healing Commission to the floor to vote on during November which is Native American Heritage Month.” #NABS#Time4Justice


Lobbying Senator Ernst’s staff about S. 2907

Seven Weeks of Action for Seven Generations: Week 1

This afternoon the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) provided a two hour Zoom online seminar titled Seven Weeks of Action for Seven Generations, Week One! The purpose is for support and passage of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444)

As is nearly universally true for every American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian each of the speakers were affected by the residential schools. Nearly every speaker had times when they were so overcome with emotion that they had to pause what they were saying.

Each week for the next seven weeks a list of Congressional Representatives or Senators will be targeted for phone calls from us, asking the legislation to be brought out of committee for votes before the House and Senate.

National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

Week One of Seven: Help us bring justice, accountability, awareness, and healing by telling the unvarnished truth about America’s history and genocide committed against Indigenous Peoples by way of Federal Indian boarding school policies. NABS asks that you please call the U.S. House leadership and request “they bring forward HR. 5444, the Truth and Healing Commission to the floor to vote on during November which is Native American Heritage Month.” #NABS#Time4Justice


I recently wrote about my friends at the Great Plains Action Society’s (GPAS) Open Letter Campaign: Truth and Healing with Friends. That describes how people can use the Friends Committee on Legislation’s (FCNL) online tools to help people write messages and send them to their representatives.

Open Letter Campaign: Truth and Healing with Friends

I am very happy that my friends of the Great Plains Action Society (GPAS) are asking their supporters to use the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s (FCNL) letter writing tool to send letters to support the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444) to their congressional representatives.


Open Letter Campaign: Truth and Healing with Friends

Support the Establishment of a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools: Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

As children are returning to school, we are reminded that school has not always been a safe place for Native children. For many years, Native children were taken from their homes and placed in government and religious run institutions with the aim of stripping away their Native language, culture, and identity. We are only now beginning the painful process of bringing home the children left in unmarked graves at the boarding schools they were sent to (U.S. report identifies burial sites linked to boarding schools for Native Americans). We are still working on healing the damage of boarding school and intergenerational trauma (American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many : NPR). Healing from the damage caused by the boarding school system will require effort by not just those harmed, but the institutions that did the harming. There is great work being done by our comrades at the Friends Committee On National Legislation (Native Americans | Friends Committee On National Legislation). For this edition of our Open Letter Campaign, we are directing you to a letter from our friends at FCNL to help you in urging your representatives to support the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444).

The following is courtesy our much appreciated Quaker friends (esp Jeff!):

Truth and Healing Commission follow up

Here are some ways you can learn more about establishing a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools. And how you can add your voice to support this.

My friend Rodger Routh joined us to discuss this legislation with Senator Joni Ernst’s staff in Des Moines. And created this video to share with you about that visit.

Below that is a table of links to other articles I’ve written about this.

You can really help by using the letter template from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) that will help you write your own letter of support. And will deliver your letter to your legislators.

Video by Rodger Routh who also lobbyed with us

Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Act text
Practicing hope
Finding Accomplices, continued
Senator Ernst and Indian Boarding Schools Commission
Senator Grassley and Indian Boarding Schools Commission

Send your letter supporting the establishment of a truth and healing commission on Indian Boarding Schools using this template.

Support the Establishment of a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools

It is long overdue for the United States to acknowledge the historic trauma of the Indian boarding school era. 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, some of them Quaker-run, were unspeakable.

Now we must work with tribal nations to advance congressional efforts to establish a federal commission to formally investigate boarding school policy and develop recommendations for the government to take further action. Although the wrongs committed at these institutions can never be made right, we can start the truth, healing, and reconciliation process for the families and communities affected as we work to right relationship with tribal nations.

Remind your members of Congress of their responsibility to tribal nations and urge them to support the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444).

Send your letter supporting the establishment of a truth and healing commission on Indian Boarding Schools.


https://mailchi.mp/nabshc.org/nabs-requesting-your-story-6167240?e=7a79e79445

7 Weeks of Action for 7 Generations! Uplifting S.2907/H.R.5444, the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Policies Act

Please Join us on September, Tuesday 13, 2022 at 3pm ET, 2pm CT, 1pm MT, 12pm PT, 11am AK & 10am HI. To learn more about the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies and how to help get it passed.

You can learn more about the commission here:
www.boardingschoolhealing.org/truthcommission

To help us to provide more events like this, please donate as you are able:
https://boardingschoolhealing.org/about-us/donate/


Senator Grassley and Indian Boarding Schools Commission

Yesterday we had a meeting with Senator Ernst’s Regional Director John Hollinrake, to ask the senator to co-sponsor the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S 2907). John was very polite and attentive but offered no feedback.

It was a much different story just now when I had a Skype meeting with Reid Willis in Senator Grassley’s Washington, DC, office.

Reid was familiar with the history of Indian Boarding Schools. He told me Senator Grassley agreed with intent of S 2907 with two exceptions. He feels the commission would duplicate work already being done by the Department of Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative (see below). And that such a commission should not have subpoena power. Senator Grassley feels this particularly because he is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I asked him to contact me if Quakers could be helpful as the investigations into the Indian Boarding Schools progress.


Reid then told me Senator Grassley’s efforts have been focused on the RECA Extension Act of 2022, which was recently passed and signed into law by President Biden.

Public Law No: 117-139 (06/07/2022)

RECA Extension Act of 2022

This bill extends a program that compensates individuals who were exposed to radiation from atomic weapons testing or uranium mining or processing and who subsequently developed specified cancers or other medical conditions. The bill terminates the program two years after the bill’s enactment.


Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative

I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo the heartbreak and loss we feel. But only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace.”   
— Secretary Deb Haaland 

Between 1819 through the 1970s, the United States implemented policies establishing and supporting Indian boarding schools across the nation. The purpose of federal Indian boarding schools was to culturally assimilate American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian children by forcibly removing them from their families, communities, languages, religions and cultural beliefs. While children attended federal boarding schools, many endured physical and emotional abuse and, in some cases, died.

In June 2021, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive effort to recognize the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies with the goal of addressing their intergenerational impact and to shed light on the traumas of the past.

The announcement directed the Department, under the leadership of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, to prepare a report detailing available historical records relating to federal Indian boarding schools and to develop the first official list of sites. On May 11, 2022, Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary Newland released Volume 1 of the investigative report. This report lays the groundwork for the continued work of the Interior Department to address the intergenerational trauma created by historical federal Indian boarding school policies. It reflects an extensive and first-ever inventory of federally operated schools, including profiles and maps.

The investigation found that from 1819 to 1969, the federal Indian boarding school system consisted of 408 federal schools across 37 states or then territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and 7 schools in Hawaii. The investigation identified marked or unmarked burial sites at approximately 53 different schools across the school system. As the investigation continues, the Department expects the number of identified burial sites to increase.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting closures of federal facilities reflect the need for further investigation. The report identifies next steps that will be taken in a second volume, aided by a new $7 million investment from Congress through fiscal year 2022.

As part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative and in response to recommendations from the report, Secretary Haaland has launched “The Road to Healing.” This year-long commitment to travel across the country will allow American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian survivors of the federal Indian boarding school system the opportunity to share their stories, help connect communities with trauma-informed support, and facilitate collection of a permanent oral history.

https://www.doi.gov/priorities/strengthening-indian-country/federal-indian-boarding-school-initiative


Senator Ernst and Indian Boarding Schools Commission

Jeff Kisling, Jean and David Hansen and Rodger Routh. Photo credit Rodger Routh

This morning Jean and David Hansen, Rodger Routh and I met with John Hollinrake, Regional Director for Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst. Several others had planned to join us but didn’t make it.

We expressed our appreciation for Senator Ernst voting for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

I asked John if he was familiar with the Indian Boarding Schools. He indicated he had read the information I had sent from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) in emails prior to this meeting. Some of the great support we received from FCNL

John listened attentively and took notes as we told our stories and why we hope Senator Ernst will cosponsor and vote for the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444).

I spoke of why this was important to me, in part because of Quaker involvement with the residential schools.

Jean spoke from her Indigenous background, sharing from family experiences at those schools. She also spoke about the work of Quakers in those times trying to influence those emerging policies.

David spoke of hearing stories of Quakers helping in the residential schools, presented as good work. Most Friends I know were told similar stories. Now that he has been learning the truth about these institutions of forced assimilation, and the intergenerational traumas that occurred, he wants people to know the truth, and work toward healing, which is the purpose of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act.

Rodger spoke of his Catholic upbringing, and the involvement of the Catholic church in many such schools in the lands called the U.S. and Canada.

John Hollinrake thanked us for coming but had no comment as to whether the Senator will co-sponsor the legislation. I followed up by emailing thanks to Mr. Hollinrake.

And submitted a Lobby Visit Report to FCNL.

We left the FCNL document “Co-sponsor the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the U.S. Act” with John.



We appreciated having these talking points from FCNL.



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 were unspeakable. Although the wrongs committed at these institutions can never be made right, we can start the truth, healing, and reconciliation process for all of us. The August congressional recess is an opportunity to educate your member of congress on the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act. Join us for this special training to learn how you can ensure your voice is heard during August recess.


Finding Accomplices, Continued

One of the primary reasons I embarked upon this journey about the evolution of my foundational stories was to encourage people who hadn’t been much involved in justice work to change that.

  • Injustices abound. The victims should be supported while working to address the root causes of the injustice.
  • We should search our own lives to see if and how we are contributing to injustice.
  • Spiritual guidance often leads to justice work.
  • If others observe our Spirit guided work, they may join our Quaker communities.

It is discouraging to see attendance of our Quaker meeting diminish as Friends die or move away, and few new people join. Many Friends do justice work, but that is often unseen by people in the community. This is a time of great spiritual poverty, and Quaker meetings for worship could be what some seekers are looking for. For seekers to find us, we need to be seen in our communities. And doing justice work is a way for that to happen.

The reason I’m thinking about all this now is because a group of us will be meeting with Senator Ernst’s staff in Des Moines to talk about the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444).
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2022/08/29/practicing-hope/)

There is a web of interrelationships among Native and non-native peoples in the Midwest that presents opportunities to work together to learn and publish the truth about Indian Boardings Schools. There are parts of this that are only appropriate for each community to work on separately. But hopefully these Congressional visits will be the beginning of further work together.

This began with an appeal from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) for us to ask our Senators to support that legislation (S. 2907). And specifically, to do this during their current recess when they would be in Iowa.

I know my friend Sikowis Nobiss is interested in supporting legislation related to Native Americans, so I contacted her about this. She put me in touch with Jessica Engelking, who is also part of the Great Plains Action Society. Fortunately, I met Jessica when we were attending the Buffalo Rebellion conference recently. Some of the networking that occurred there. Others at that conference included my friends Peter Clay, Sikowis, Mahmud Fitil, Ronnie James, Miriam Kashia and Jake Grobe.

When Jessica asked what Quakers have been doing related to our role in some of the residential schools, I shared FCNL’s decades of advocacy for Native Americans. We began to work together to arrange visits to our Senators about the truth and healing commission act, and included Jessica Bahena, FCNL’s National Organizer, who is FCNL’s contact related to this legislation in our planning.

Over the past several years there have been changes in how I do justice work. What hasn’t changed is the I’ve tried to be obedient to what the Spirit is telling me to do.

Most of my life I did justice work within the framework of Quaker meetings, communities, and organizations, such as FCNL. For about 8 years I was clerk of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee. At our annual sessions a month ago, someone else took over that responsibility.

The Quaker involvement in the Indian Boarding Schools has long been a concern of mine. When I learned about this appeal from FCNL, I wanted to work on that. But no longer being on the Peace and Social Concerns Committee, I wasn’t thinking about working in the context of that committee, although I did contact the clerk of the committee in case they wanted to become involved.


Mutual Aid

For the past two years I’ve been working in the Des Moines Mutual Aid community. This has answered a deep need in my life to find accomplices who are doing justice work in a way that focuses on root causes of injustice and builds community. (See: Mutual Aid PDF)

I’d like to explore the possibility of Native Americans and White people working together on these traumatic problems. At first, I thought the Mutual Aid part would just be an interesting possibility to frame this work, but the more I think about it, the more important I think it could be, for making our work together avoid the problems of hierarchy, who’s in charge.

Mutual Aid

It is common to feel vulnerable when we meet new people, in new organizations and communities. But we need to venture out of our meetinghouses more often. I’ve been blessed to have found numerous communities to work with over the years. What follows are guidelines I’ve discovered that can help you as you begin to work with other communities or cultures.


Practicing Hope

I keep returning to the question, “are we really listening for that still small voice during our prayers, and meeting for worship? Do we practice hope?” Or do we force what we hear to conform to our current worldview? Do we do a sort of reinterpretation of what we hear? If we heard “give up all your possessions”, would we?

I sign my email messages “practicing hope”.


People often mistake hope for a feeling, but it’s not. It’s a mental discipline, an attentional practice that you can learn. Like any such discipline, it’s work that takes time, which you fail at, succeed, improve, fail at again, and build over years inside yourself.

Hope isn’t just looking at the positive things in this world, or expecting the best. That’s a fragile kind of cheerfulness, something that breaks under the weight of a normal human life. To practice hope is to face hard truths, harder truths than you can face without the practice of hope. You can’t navigate dark places without a light, and hope is that light for humanity’s dark places. Hope lets you study environmental destruction, war, genocide, exploitative relations between peoples. It lets you look into the darkest parts of human history, and even the callous entropy of a universe hell bent on heat death no matter what we do. When you are disciplined in hope, you can face these things because you have learned to put them in context, you have learned to swallow joy and grief together, and wait for peace.

IT IS BITTER TEA THAT INVOLVES YOU SO: A SERMON ON HOPE by Quinn Norton, April 30, 2018

I don’t remember reading what that quote referred to, so I read that this morning.

When Hypoc was through meditating with St. Gulik, he went there into the kitchen where he busied himself with preparing the feast and in his endeavor, he found that there was some old tea in a pan left standing from the night before, when he had in his weakness forgot about its making and had let it sit steeping for 24 hours. It was dark and murky and it was Hypoc’s intention to use this old tea by diluting it with water. And again in his weakness, chose without further consideration and plunged into the physical labor of the preparations. It was then when deeply immersed in the pleasure of that trip, he had a sudden loud clear voice in his head saying “it is bitter tea that involves you so.” Hypoc heard the voice, but the struggle inside intensified, and the pattern, previously established with the physical laboring and the muscle messages coordinated and unified or perhaps coded, continued to exert their influence and Hypoc succummed to the pressure and he denied the voice.

And again he plunged into the physical orgy and completed the task, and Lo as the voice had predicted, the tea was bitter.

From Page 37 of the Pricipia Discordia, 5th edition

Hypoc succummed to the pressure and he denied the voice.

During this morning’s prayers I was thinking that still small voice must have been ignored when grave wrongs were done, are being done. The focus of my prayers these past few years relate to the genocide of indigenous peoples. And the forced assimilation that was a large part of that.

Quaker involvement in the Indian Boarding Schools evokes strong emotions among Friends today. Deep trauma in Indigenous communities that are experiencing multigenerational trauma. Where wounds have been ripped open by locating the remains of children who died or were killed in those institutions. Grief for those not yet found.

But the process of “thinking” is problematic. Thinking involves the brain, with logic and knowledge. That still small voice is not about thinking.

Logically (thinking), from today’s vantage point, forced assimilation and genocide were absolutely wrong.

We don’t know what that still small voice led the Quakers in those days to do. We can’t judge them because we don’t know what they heard. But we can’t leave it at that. We have a responsibility to find the truth of what occurred in those “schools”. We must know the truth so healing can begin. Healing for Indigenous peoples and for Quakers.

This tragedy should lead us to re-evaluate our own lives today. To hear what that still small voice is saying to us. And to do what it is saying.

What will future generations think about when they look back at what we have done, are doing now?


Addressing the Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools

This document from the Friends Committee on National Legislation is about addressing the legacy of Indian Boarding Schools.

  • Minute your concern and commitment to action, including your support for this bill in your monthly meeting, Friends church, and/or yearly meeting.
    • This year’s report of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) can be found below, which supports the bill.
  • Share your statement(s) with FCNL at Quakers@fcnl.org. We are compiling them on our website and can help you relay them to your members of Congress and the media: fcnl.org/NativeAmerican
    • Our Peace and Social Concerns Report has been sent to FCNL
  • Write your members of Congress about your concern: fcnl.org/BoardingSchools. You can customize FCNL campaign letters and send them directly to Congress from any Internet-connected device. Invite Friends in your community to contact their officials as well
    • We are making appoints with Iowa Senators Ernst and Grassley to discuss the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444) We are working with the (Indigenous) Great Plains Action Society on this.



Mutual Aid and Ways of War

The reason I haven’t published anything for a while is because I’ve been working on a presentation about Mutual Aid that I plan to give when my Quaker yearly meeting, Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) meets this week. It’s been helpful for me to organize my thoughts about Mutual Aid, something that’s become the center of my peace and justice work for over two years. I’m glad to have this opportunity to share this work.

I don’t plan to talk about everything on this list of all that is going wrong now. But it is alarming to see how many of these have escalated recently.


  • Collapse of capitalism
  • Severe drought, floods, heat result in massively diminished food production and famine
  • White supremacy
  • Spiritual poverty
  • Fascism/authoritarianism
  • Broken political system
  • Media as propaganda
  • Domestic terrorism. Armed militias.
  • Militarized police
  • Global militarism
  • Movements of millions of climate refugees
  • Punishment-oriented judicial system
  • Prisons
  • Education discourages critical thinking
  • Continued commodifying all natural resources
  • Continued fossil fuel extraction and burning
  • Factory farming
  • Broken healthcare

Instead, I plan to use this slide about how we can no longer depend on so many systems now. We’re being forced to find alternatives, and Mutual Aid can be the solution. I hope the presentation will result in more Quakers and others getting involved in Mutual Aid work.



One of the things I’ve been praying about is this statement by my good friend and Mutual Aid comrade, Ronnie James.



Coming of age in the last 1960’s, during the Vietnam War, I saw and was part of the massive antiwar movement in this country. For the past several decades I’ve wondered what happened to the antiwar movement

Then we began to see war coming to the streets of our cities.

  • In 2014, we saw militarized police and tanks in the streets of Furguson, Missouri, following the killing of Michael Brown. Friends of mine from Indianapolis went there during the prolonged unrest. A Quaker friend went.
  • In 2016 the violent attacks of militarized police against the peoples peacefully gathered at Standing Rock were broadcast across the world.
  • At the beginning of 2020, I saw the violent invasion of Wet’suwet’en lands by the militarized Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). And learned similar invasions occurred in previous years.
  • Also in January 2020, “Des Moines Mutual Aid participated in a march protesting the potential for war or increased hostilities with Iran that followed the fallout of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by drone strike in Baghdad.”
  • Then the world watched in horror as Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by pressing on his neck for nine and a half minutes on May 25, 2020. Prolonged nationwide protests occurred in many cities, including Des Moines. Des Moines Mutual Aid established a bail fund that kept every protestor out of jail.
  • Now, militarized police responses have occurred at every protest against so many, ongoing police murders.
  • The war is now on the streets of this country, in the communities of the oppressed.
  • Now I think of FCNL’s “War is Not the Answer” signs being about these domestic wars.

I agree with Ronnie, “the more we take care of each other, the less they can fracture a community with their ways of war.” Mutual Aid is how we can take care of each other.



Mutual Aid is how we can work for peace and justice now.




War is Not the Answer

These words were taken from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, delivered April 4, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York.

The message – War is Not the Answer – and the signs went viral. FCNL and Friends saw the potency and popularity of the message grew and spread, and the rest is history. With the increasing prospect for an endless war with Iran, War is Not the Answer, has become more relevant.

Friends and other people of faith act when they see broken systems. As we stand on the precipice of another war, Friends are mobilizing across the country to demand Congress halt the spiral into all-out war.

FCNL has distributed more than 2,000,000 “War is Not the Answer” bumper stickers and yard signs since 2002. Demands for the sign are increasing so we are making it available free online for you to download and print. If you’d like to purchase a lawn sign or bumper sticker, you can do so here.

https://www.fcnl.org/resources/war-not-answer

Sherry Hutchison

Support Truth and Healing Commission

On June 22, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) held an oversight hearing on the findings of volume one of the Interior Department’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Report.  (FCNL)

Following is information from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) about how we can support Senate Bill 2907 to establish a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies.

https://mailchi.mp/nabshc.org/nabs-requesting-your-story-6100444


Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Holds Hearing to Address Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools

On June 22, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) held an oversight hearing on the findings of volume one of the Interior Department’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Report. They also held a legislative hearing to receive testimony on the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act (S. 2907).

Committee members asked about efforts to revitalize Native languages and what Congress can do to address some of the consequences of former boarding school policy. “I believe that our obligations to Native communities mean that federal policies should fully support and revitalize Native health care, education, Native languages, and cultural practices that prior federal Indian policies, like those supporting Indian boarding schools, sought to destroy,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

June 2022: Native American Legislative Update by Portia Kay^nthos Skenandore-Wheelock, FCNL, June 29, 2022