FCNL and Friends advocate in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. Yet, historically, Quakers played a role in colonization and the cultural genocide of Native people through the operation of more than 30 Indian boarding schools. With legislation now before Congress to investigate the legacy of Indian boarding schools, how are Friends communities engaging to address Quaker complicity in these atrocities?
Join us on Weds. May 25 at 6:30 p.m. EDT to learn how FCNL and F/friends are reckoning with this history and advocating in solidarity with Native communities.
In conversation with Paula Palmer and Jerilyn DeCoteau, FCNL’s Congressional Advocate for Native American Advocacy Portia Kay^nthos Skenandore-Wheelock will discuss FCNL’s work to build support for the bipartisan Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444). Paula and Jerilyn will share from their expertise and experience co-directing Towards Right Relationship with Native Peoples with Friends Peace Teams. Director of Quaker Leadership Alicia McBride will moderate the conversation.
Portia Kay^nthos Skenandore-Wheelock
Portia Kay^nthos Skenandore-Wheelock manages the Native American Advocacy Program, lobbying on legislation that affects Native communities. She serves as co-chair of an interfaith working group on Native American issues, and advocates for legislation to address critical issues in Indian Country, such as the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Portia is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and spent her formative years traveling back and forth between the Oneida Indian Reservation in Wisconsin and the Oneida homelands in upstate New York. She studied democracy and justice studies at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and received her law degree from Syracuse University. Prior to joining FCNL, Portia was a law clerk for the Office of Tribal Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice, a liaison between a tribal agency and the Oneida Nation Family Court, and a director for a nonprofit organization serving tribal communities.
Paula Palmer is co-director of Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples (TRR), a program of Friends Peace Teams. Her ministry is under the spiritual care of Boulder Friends Meeting. In collaboration with Indigenous educators, Paula designed workshops that educate youth and adults about past and present injustices against Indigenous peoples, and motivate them to take steps toward healing. Through TRR, Indigenous and non-Indigenous facilitators together present these workshops nationwide.
As the 2016 Pendle Hill Cadbury Scholar, Paula conducted research and produced articles and videos about the role Quakers played in the forced assimilation of Native children by means of Indigenous boarding schools. Paula’s collaborations with Indigenous peoples began during the 20 years she lived in Costa Rica. In the U.S., as director of the non-profit organization, Global Response, she led more than 70 international campaigns to help Indigenous peoples defend their rights and prevent environmental destruction. Paula is a recipient of the Elise Boulding Peacemaker of the Year Award, given by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.
Jerilyn DeCoteau is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She is Co-director for Toward Right Relationship, a national project that offers workshops and presentations on the impacts of colonization and the federal boarding school policy on Native Americans. She is a retired lawyer who practiced Indian law and currently serves as Chief Justice for the Supreme Court of the Pueblo de San Ildefonso.
Jerilyn is a founding member and past president of the Board of Directors of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. She was instrumental in establishing Indigenous Peoples Day in Boulder, Colorado, and is a co-founder of a local grass roots group, Right Relationship Boulder, which has several projects designed to build relationships with Indigenous people and tribes.
Alicia McBride leads FCNL’s work to nurture, expand, and deepen relationships with Friends across the United States. She also works to ensure that everyone engaged with the organization understands the spiritual basis of FCNL’s advocacy. She oversees FCNL events at the Quaker Welcome Center as well as Annual Meeting and the Quaker Public Policy Institute.
Alicia joined the FCNL staff in 2004. She is a member of Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting (Baltimore Yearly Meeting) and has been part of a number of committees, including religious education, marriage and family relations, and membership and spiritual care. Alicia serves on the Earlham School of Religion Board of Advisors.