Date: 1/29/15 To: Carolyn Salmon, QUUF Board President From: Kees Kolff, Green Sanctuary Committee Chair Re: Native Peoples Resolution Dear QUUF Board, The following resolution is being sent to you by the Green Sanctuary Committee for consideration at the QUUF Board meeting on Wednesday, February 18th. By that time, both the Denominational Affairs Committee and the Social Justice Council plan to add their endorsements, and a Native Peoples Connections action group will have been formed. The Portland Congregation has already adopted a similar resolution, so it will definitely be taken up by the PNWD at the GA in Portland. The Bellingham Congregation plans to vote in early February. We will send you updated information as this rapidly growing regional effort unfolds. The Green Sanctuary Committee has just selected the local Native Peoples as the Eco Heroes of 2014, in recognition of the environmental stewardship that they have provided for thousands of years for the area in which we have the privilege to live. We will seek council from the local tribes like the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to determine who best can represent the local Native Peoples to receive the award. In the next few months we will plan with them how we can honor their care for the earth and how best to present the award, possibly on April 19, at the Earth Day Service. "The Green Sanctuary Committee is asking the QUUF Board to consider a resolution concerning our relationship with Native Peoples at it's meeting on Wednesday, February 18. Congregational members are urged to send comments of support or concern to the board before that meeting. Please contact Kees Kolff or Florence Caplow if you have any questions." Resolution for QUUF Board re. Native Peoples Date 1/29/15, drafted by Kees Kolff, Green Sanctuary Chair and Florence Caplow, Intern Minister RESOLUTION: Whereas the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship stands on Coast Salish lands, and we have benefited from the long history of forced removal of the original people and the appropriation of their lands; Whereas we have never reached out to local Native Peoples, acknowledged their indigenous rights, taken responsibility for our past actions or attempted reconciliation; Whereas the myriad of fossil fuel development and expansion projects proposed in the Pacific Northwest, and the resulting climate change, will have a devastating impact on Pacific Northwest First Nations’ sovereignty, fishing rights, cultural continuity, and on lands and waters sacred not only to First Nations but to all residents of the Northwest; Whereas in keeping with the our UU Principles and Living Traditions; the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery by the UUA in 2012; the theme of “Climate Justice and Building a New Way” of our 2015 General Assembly in Portland, Oregon; the planned inclusion of Pacific Northwest First Nations in the 2015 GA Public Witness; and our congregation’s support of Commit2Respond, a national, collaborative UU effort to address global warming; and Whereas the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a member of the Pacific Northwest District (PNWD) and of the Pacific Region of the UUA, and we are all members of the greater Pacific Northwest faith community; Now therefore be it Resolved, that the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Board 1. Recognizes that now is the time for the UUA, the PNWD, and our congregation to become aware of and involved with issues pertaining to the cultural and environmental survival of First Nations peoples, 2. Supports the formation of a QUUF “Native Peoples Connections” action group to help us learn about our shared history and our continued impacts, to make connections with tribal governments and individuals, and to explore ways of honoring and reconciliation, 3. Requests that the PNWD Board of Directors sign the “Public Declaration to the Tribal Councils and Traditional Spiritual Leaders of the Native Peoples of the Northwest”, which has been signed by leaders from a number of faith traditions in the Pacific Northwest already (appended below), and 4. Consider holding a special meeting of QUUF members in April to vote on a request to have the PNWD sign the Declaration. BACKGROUND: For many of us, the absence of Native Peoples from the lands we occupy is simply a given, but even a brief recognition of the history of the Pacific Northwest and the United States reminds us that these lands were taken by force, justified repeatedly by 15th century Catholic Papal decrees called The Doctrine of Discovery. Native peoples, to this day, bear a heavy burden of poverty, dislocation, and loss of culture and resources as a result of past and present policies. And yet, Native peoples have stepped to the forefront on climate change and fossil fuel issues, which are of vital importance to the future for all of us, native and non-native alike. In Washington, the Lummi Indian Nation is fighting the permitting of one of the world’s largest coal export facility, planned on top of a 3,000-year-old Lummi village and burial site. In 1987, Church Council of Seattle faith leaders from different denominations, signed the first letter of apology and contrition for their destructive actions in relation to Native peoples and Native cultures, and they reiterated that apology in 1997. Copies of these letters can be found at http://www.evergreenabc.org/Apology_to_the_tribes_of_the_NorthWest.pdf. In August of 2014, once again Northwest faith leaders stepped forward with a declaration to Native leaders, stating that they would “stand in solidarity with our Native neighbors to safeguard the traditional lands, waters, and sacred sites of their peoples from destruction.” Unitarian Universalists were not signatories to these letters, since we are not part of the Church Council of Seattle and our polity demands that any such decision must come first as a request from at least one congregational vote The First Unitarian congregation in Portland voted for the declaration in January, and so it will be considered by the PNWD at the GA meeting in June. Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship will be voting in February. The NW UU Justice network recommends that committees, Boards and congregations express support for the signing of the declaration, to strengthen our intention and provide leadership in the process. The PUBLIC RESOLUTION is on the website as a separate document.
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