Proposed QUUF Resolution - Quimper Unitarian Universalist

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
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
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
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 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
The PUBLIC RESOLUTION is on the website as a separate document.