Sunday Meetings: Zoom | Mailing address: 3519 NE 15th Ave. #204, Portland, OR 97212 info@clearheartsquaker.org

Examples of Quaker Land Acknowledgements

Each traditional Quaker testimony – simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship of resources and the Earth – compels us as Quakers in North America to understand and acknowledge all of the ways that we have participated in and benefitted from the dispossession of Indigenous lands and destruction of Indigenous cultures. In the past and in the present, by things we have done and left undone, we have embraced violence against the Indigenous nations who had no choice about becoming our neighbors.

Land acknowledgments (https://nativegov.org/news/beyond-land-acknowledgment-guide/) are one beginning step in the journey of rejecting this violence, attempting repentance, and accepting accountability to the Indigenous nations whose traditional lands we control. Clear Hearts Quaker Circle is developing our own land acknowledgment, centering our commitment to move beyond performative statements to concrete actions, and mindfully considering the geographical spread of the Friends who participate in our community.

A collection of land acknowledgments from other Quaker communities is included below. These examples are intended to serve as queries for us as part of our own discernment. We will also benefit from sitting with Quaker statements on Indigenous justice and Indian Boarding Schools (https://www.fcnl.org/updates/2022-05/quaker-statements-indigenous-justice-and-indian-boarding-schools), many of which were operated by Quakers.

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Multnomah Friends Meeting (https://www.quakercloud.org/cloud/multnomah-friends-meeting/announcements/multnomah-monthly-meeting-native-land-acknowledgement)

This Meetinghouse occupies homelands belonging since time immemorial to the Chinook-speaking peoples of Multnomah, Clackamas, Cascade/Watlala, and the Kalapuya of Tualatin. Throughout Oregon, land was stolen from tribes through the use of treaties and land grants. In 1850, the land on which the Meetinghouse sits became part of such a land grant. We understand it is incumbent on us to lean into this uncomfortable fact and consider its implications for the Meeting.

We grieve the involvement of earlier Quakers with Indian boarding schools and as Indian agents, and the intergenerational harm inflicted. In an effort toward healing the injustices of the past and present, we commit to educating ourselves about current and historical Indigenous perspectives. We have committed to ongoing financial contributions to the Chinook Indian Nation and support their struggle to regain federal recognition. We join in the call to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as the “theological” justification for colonialism, land theft, and the brutal and dehumanizing treatment of Indigenous people. We are actively discerning the next steps toward Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the land, and welcome all to join us.

– Guidelines & Suggestions for Land Acknowledgement (https://www.quakercloud.org/system/files/cloud_attachments/GuidelinesSuggestionsforLandAcknowledgement-FINAL.docx)

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Eastside Friends Meeting (https://www.quakercloud.org/cloud/eastside-friends-meeting/pages/land-acknowledgment)

Eastside Friends Meeting house stands on ancestral land of the Sammamish People, who were closely related to the First People of Seattle, the Duwamish. Descendants of the Sammamish today are members of the Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Tulalip tribes. We honor all these Native communities and their Elders. We appreciate that they have been here since time immemorial, and are still here, continuing to bring light to their ancient heritage. 

We also recognize that American settlers forcibly removed the Sammamish from this land following the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855. The diseases, greed, and violence of settlers decimated Sammamish communities, along with many other local Indigenous communities. This acknowledgment is part of our Meeting’s commitment to moving toward right relations with Indigenous people, through recognition of our own history and responsibility, and through ongoing education and action.

We hold this land acknowledgment as a living document, knowing that the guidance of our indigenous neighbors and of the Holy Spirit may require us to reflect and reconsider our present words.

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Westtown Monthly Meeting (https://www.quakercloud.org/cloud/westtown-monthly-meeting/resources/land-acknowledgement)

This one comes from one of the Lenni Lenape tribes in the Philadelphia YM area. This is the one they would like used. 

“The land upon which we gather is part of the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape, called ‘Lenapehoking.’ The Lenape People lived in harmony with one another upon this territory for thousands of years. During the colonial era and early federal period, many were removed west and north, but some also remain among the continuing historical tribal communities of the region: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; and the Powhatan Renape Nation, The Nanticoke of Millsboro Delaware, and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware. We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. In our acknowledgment of the continued presence of Lenape people in their homeland, we affirm the aspiration of the great Lenape Chief Tamanend, that there be harmony between the indigenous people of this land and the descendants of the immigrants to this land, ‘as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.’”

https://nlltribe.com/land-acknowledgement/

The land acknowledgement used by Westtown School at the start of faculty meetings.

Let us recognize and never forget that we are occupying the traditional unceded Lenni Lenape lands. In all that we do, let us pay respect to Lenape elders, past and present.

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Port Townsend Friends Meeting (https://ptquaker.org/land-acknowledgement/)

The water, the land and the shorelines here in the Port Townsend area are the traditional territory of the S’Klallam and Chemakum Peoples. We are thankful for their wisdom and care of the land and acknowledge their way of living with nature, not as land owners, but as grateful children of Mother Earth. We vow to help restore and sustain their homeland and work to build right relations with our native neighbors.

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Boulder Friends Meeting (https://www.boulderfriendsmeeting.org/land-acknowledgement-statement/)

Boulder Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends acknowledges that we live and worship on land where Indigenous Peoples have lived for more than 13,000 years. Chief Nawath (Left Hand) and his band of Arapaho were living in the Boulder Valley under the terms of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie when gold was discovered in 1858. The Arapaho were forced out of the area, contrary to the terms of the treaty, and a fort was built to protect the booming towns of Boulder and Valmont. In 1864, volunteer militiamen mustered at Boulder’s Fort Chambers and joined U.S. Colonel John Chivington’s forces in carrying out the Sand Creek Massacre. More than 200 Arapaho and Cheyenne people, including Chief Nawath, were killed.

We lament this history of land theft, betrayal, murder, and displacement, knowing that we have become its beneficiaries. We acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ enduring love for this land and the valuable contributions they make to our community today. We seek ways to build relationships with them now based on truth, respect, justice, and our shared humanity.

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Chapel Hill Friends Meeting (https://www.chapelhillfriends.org/land-acknowledgement.html)

The Chapel Hill Friends Meeting sits on unceded Indigenous land where Occaneechi, Sissipahaw, Shakori, and Eno peoples lived. As Quakers, we acknowledge the genocide and continued displacement of Indigenous peoples during the colonial period and beyond.

In 1672, George Fox visited Carolina and publicly preached that Indigenous community members shared the Light within as, we believe, all humans do. We affirm Fox’s teaching, and we recognize that injustices done to the Indigenous population continue in the present.

Site Heritage:

Artifacts found at Morgan Farm indicate that this area was inhabited almost continuously for the past 10,000 years. A 2004 archaeological exploration in Chapel Hill revealed spear points and potsherds, evidence that hunters as well as settlers lived along Franklin Street from 500 BC to 500 AD. Archaeological digs on Finley Golf Course showed similar proof that these communities hunted, built houses, and grew crops. The earliest recorded presence in our area of Indigenous peoples dates to 1701 when explorer John Lawson wrote “by the time the first settlers arrived, there were no more Indians left in the region.” (Vickers, p. 7-8). Other historians assert that a greatly reduced number of Indigenous remained. Most had migrated north towards Hillsborough and the more active trading paths.

Lord John Carteret, the first Earl of Granville, received his land charter from King Charles II. By the 1730’s colonial settlers began trickling into Granville’s district, including Orange County. They came down the Great Wagon Road connecting modern Petersburg, Virginia and Mobile, Alabama. Mark Morgan was one who settled on the Finley Golf Course land. In 1747, Morgan’s children bought surrounding land to encompass most of Chapel Hill plus territory in present day Durham County and south across Morgan Creek. About 1790, his descendant Hardy Morgan gave 205 acres, including areas now occupied by Carmichael Auditorium, grounds to the east, the cemetery, and Gimghoul Road, to help establish the University of North Carolina. This is the land where Chapel Hill Friends Meeting is located. The University retained ownership until Chapel Hill Friends Meeting bought the land in the 1950’s.

This is a living document, and we will continue to revise and strengthen it in collaboration with community members and as new research evolves.

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Asheville Friends Meeting (https://ashevillefriends.org/PublicStatements/220317AFMLandAcknowledgmentforGatherings.pdf)

The Asheville Friends Meeting acknowledges, with respect, that the land we are on today is ancestral land of the Anikituwagi, (ah nee yun wee YAH) more commonly known as the Cherokee. We also recognize all the varied Indigenous Peoples who have lived in and continue to live in and around these lands.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Asheville Friends Meeting seek to affirm our work together to ensure a strong relationship. Therefore, we commit efforts and resources to the health and priorities of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. As these words are spoken and heard,we renew and reaffirm this property as Cherokee homelands.

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Concord Friends Meeting (https://www.concordfriendsmeeting.org/sites/all/files/documents/CMM-LandAcknowledgement-Dec2020.pdf)

The Concord Friends Meeting is located on N’dakinna, which is the traditional ancestral homeland of the Abenaki, Pennacook and WabanakiPeoples past and present. This land is unceded. We acknowledge and honor with gratitude the land and waterways and the alnobak (people) who have stewarded N’dakinna throughout the generations.

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Friends Meeting Cambridge (https://neym.org/sites/default/files/2021-11/2021-09FMCAcknowledgement.pdf)

We acknowledge that we meet today on the land of the Massachusett people. This living cultural landscape near the banks of the Quinobequin (sometimes called the Charles River) is also dear to theWampanoag and Nipmuc peoples. It has been a place of travel, trade and gathering for many other Algonquin people from time immemorial through today.

We acknowledge that our material sustenance and prosperity is derived from stolen lands, lands from which Indigenous peoples, who have been caretakers of these lands for hundreds of generations, were removed by uninvited European colonists. We sadly acknowledge that the disrespect and attempted cultural erasure that accompanied this removal continue to this day.

We value and honor the wisdom of the Indigenous peoples who have loved and learned from this land, living in harmony with its gifts and needs. We commit to learning to live in reciprocity with this precious place and to listen closely to its rightful caretakers.

We know that this land acknowledgment is but a small, first step towards reconciling our histories. We commit to learning more about the Indigenous peoples where Friends Meeting Cambridge community members live, work and worship. We will seek Spirit’s guidance and follow the leadership of Indigenous teachers as we work diligently to undo the harms of the past and present. We pledge our time and resources to work for healing the wounds of colonialism, advancing Indigenous self-determination and working for equity and right relationship.

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Portland (Maine) Friends Land Acknowledgment (https://neym.org/sites/default/files/2021-10/PortlandLand.pdf)

Today, and every day, we walk on stolen land. We pray on stolen land. The forests, the rivers, the mountains, the meadows. Also the highways, and city buildings, houses, and corner stores. This is what occupation looks like.

We are meeting here in the Dawnland, where the sovereign people of the Wabanaki Confederacy, including the Maliseet, MicMac, Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy, have lived for thousands of years. And the many Abenaki tribes, some destroyed, some scattered. As Quakers, many of our ancestors, both by blood and by spirit, participated in the theft of this land, the separation of children from their families, and the attempt to end indigenous culture.

Today, we mourn the lives and ways of living that were taken. We honor the resilience and power of our Wabanaki neighbors.

As we continue to live and govern in ways that harm this land and its people, it is past time for reparations. For learning the truth. For listening. For taking action. And there is still time. This is our work to do.

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Fort Collins Friends Meeting (https://westernfriend.org/indigenous-land-acknowledgement#:~:text=FortCollinsFriendsMeetingacknowledgeswithrespectthat,gatheringandhealingfornumerousotherNativetribes)

Fort Collins Friends Meeting acknowledges, with respect, that the land we are on today is the traditional ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute Nations and peoples. This was also a site of trade, gathering, and healing for numerous other Native tribes. We recognize the Indigenous peoples as original stewards of this land and all the relatives within it. As these words of acknowledgment are heard, the ties Nations have to their traditional homelands are renewed and reaffirmed.

We recognize that the founding of the Fort Collins community, including the land our Meeting House is built upon, came at a dire cost to Native Nations and peoples including the cost of many lives, loss of ancestral homes, and separation from traditional sources of spiritual and physical nourishment and strength.

Returning to Zoom (Adding Monthly Potluck)!

We have had a couple of months of returning to in-person worship with the pandemic easing, but we have had full Zoom rooms and fairly sparse in-person attendance! Rather than continuing to pay rent for so few people to use the space, we discerned in business meeting that we are going to stick to Zoom for now (we can revisit this later in the year), and will include monthly in-person potlucks for some lovely in-person time with each other.

Hope to see you online for Sunday meetings!

Resuming In-Person Worship

On Sunday, March 6th, we are resuming in-person 11:45 am worship at the Encorepreneur rental space. If you have never come to Clear Hearts Quaker Circle, please remember to bring your vaccination card with you and wear a mask.

Zoom will continue to be an option for joining our worship meeting remotely. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Zoom Only Through February

Out of an abundance of caution, we are giving Omicron a little more time to subside before meeting in person again. But we plan to be back to in-person/hybrid Zoom meetings the first Sunday in March! Grateful for our continued community.

Zoom Only Meetings for Worship For Now!

The bad news: Our usual rental space has had some issues with indoor leaks, so for safety reasons (water pooling on the floor and electrical concerns), we had to cancel our in person Meeting for Worship on December 19th. And with an Omicron COVID surge on the horizon, we feel it is best not to meet in person on the 26th or during the month of January. Our first priority is health and safety.

The GOOD news: We are still meeting via Zoom! And we would love to see you. We meet at 11:45 am, as usual!

Zoom link is here.

Sending all our love to everyone this holiday season, even if we cannot hug you in person for a while yet.

The Spirit of Worship

Clear Hearts Quaker Circle welcomes posts from our members, attenders, and friends; this is one of that series.

When I was active in Protestant churches with fixed orders of worship, the least interesting and most predictable conversations were about what “real” worship is:

If we don’t have liturgy, there will be no continuity of worship across time and space!

If we have liturgy, there will be no authenticity in the immediate experience of worship!

If we don’t open with songs of praise, we remain focused on ourselves in worship instead of God!

If we open with songs of praise, we can’t center on the still small voice that makes this worship instead of just another busy activity!

Offerings must be collected before communion, to demonstrate our need for repentance and our dependence on God!

Offerings must be collected after communion, to demonstrate our gratitude for the free gift of God’s grace!

There are things that I miss about prepared worship, but there is one thing about unprogrammed Quaker worship that I have found to be a blessed relief. There is no need, or even opportunity, for these unresolvable conversations.

Or at least, that is what I thought — until Quakers began to ask themselves what lessons they had learned from over a year of enforced virtual Meeting for Worship. What had been gained, along with what had been lost? What would we choose to keep, in new forms of hybrid worship, combining the welcome return of physically gathering together with the expanded participation of remote options? For some, the answer has been, “none of it.”

For myself, I can’t imagine Clear Hearts Quaker Circle without hybrid worship, and I am happy that we are in unity about continuing it. As a Christian with a theistic understanding of God, it is natural for me to embrace spiritual connections that are as expansive as possible. I believe that wherever two or three of Jesus’s followers gather, Jesus is there also. I believe the Holy Spirit moves among us in ways we cannot physically perceive. I believe in the Communion of the Saints, the “cloud of witnesses” of those who have gone before us. And I believe, to paraphrase James in the New Testament, that we cannot love God, who we can’t perceive, if we do not love our neighbors, who we do perceive.

I was not surprised to confirm during the pandemic that shared worship is possible with someone who is not in the same physical room. When I have been with Friends on Zoom, they are WITH me. In the future, if someone who is out of town to attend the funeral of a loved one is with me on Zoom, they will be WITH me. If someone with a compromised immune system can’t risk going out during flu season, but they can be with me on Zoom, they will be WITH me. If someone is just weary and doesn’t want to face going out in the world that day, but they can be with me on Zoom, they will be WITH me.

Sometimes we have people join us by Zoom at Clear Hearts, and sometimes we don’t. When we don’t, we still leave Zoom up on the projected screen.  I find it meaningful to reflect on the image of our shared virtual space. It reminds me how we must always leave space for the visitor, for the guest to whom we owe the holy duty of hospitality, for by doing so, some have entertained angels unaware.

Similarly, the physical act of passing the microphone, of receiving and returning it, grounds me in the cooperative nature of our shared worship. (At Clear Hearts, we amplify all speech from the time of centering down until the official close of worship. It helps everyone, especially the people who don’t think they need it to understand or be understood by others.) 

Of course, the technology is sometimes distracting, but no more distracting than the unexpected sounds, sudden motions or strong smells that are part of the worship environment from time to time. It’s less distracting than my chattering monkey brain or recurring aches and pains. And these days, it’s a lot less distracting than when someone coughs! Allowing distractions to arise and pass is at the heart of mindfulness, the foundational practice of silent worship. There is nothing more “real” about worship than actively engaging with the world and one’s neighbors as they are, instead of as one wishes they might be.

These conversations — these arguments, really — about “real” worship come from an understandable place. So many of us yearn to be part of something with cosmic significance, and when we believe we have found our way to it, we want to share it with others, and we want to protect it. We think we have to protect it so that we can share it. But we can’t share what we aren’t willing or able to release control over.

I am grateful that, at Clear Hearts, we are doing our best to recognize that Spirit does not need our protection in order to do its work. People, on the other hand, frequently do. We all live under the powers of unconstrained capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy defined by a coercive gender binary. Contemporary American society assigns us all a measure of worth: we are assets, or we are liabilities. Worship is one time when we should be able to escape the endless demands for “productivity” and “excellence” and “legitimacy.” 

These demands always fall hardest on those targeted by our sinful systems: Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color; transgender people; disabled people; impoverished people, houseless people; queer people; women. People with these frequently overlapping and intersecting identities are constantly told their dignity is not real, that their experiences are not real. This is why I will never judge worship practices by whether they are “real,” but rather by whether they allow for justice and inclusion. I feel blessed that these are the conversations I get to have at Clear Hearts.