Quaker Community Shows Historic Support for New England Tribes

At the Southeast Quarterly Meeting in Providence on March 19, 2023, the Religious Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers, acknowledged that Indigenous Nations in New England were forced to give up large parts of their territory, and that the land on which the gathering occurred was the homeland of many Indigenous nations. Facilitated by the Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust (PPLT), the meeting, attended by tribal chiefs of the Pocasset, Chappaquiddick, Nipmuc and Narragansett, was an historic first step toward supporting tribes, according to Chris Richards, Director of Programming and Development, PPLT.

“Our meeting was meaningful, but we still have work to do,” said Chief George Spring Buffalo. “They let us take the lead in how to build the relationship; we’re going to collaborate and we’re grateful that they’re reaching out to the Indigenous population.” Discussions are ongoing about the next steps. Rebecca Leuchak, Presiding Clerk of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Quakers, introduced the assembly: “We recognize the irreducible and ongoing relationship Indigenous people have with their traditional territories; the honoring of this relationship and the speaking of it to all, becomes meaningful when it is the basis for building relationships.”

Indigenous Peoples Network Receives Island Foundation Environmental Grant

“The Island Foundation was among the first non-profit foundations to support the Indigenous Peoples Network five years ago and we want to thank them for believing in us,” says Chief George Spring Buffalo about the 2023 award for $25,000.

The funds will support repatriation efforts of ancestral lands in Tiverton, RI and facilitate the expansion of the Indigenous Roots Forever food access program in Washington County, RI. The produce will assist with the family budgets, and will be considered “healthy medicine,” according to Chief George. The goal, says the Chief, “is to introduce tribal members and other disadvantaged folks back to healthy eating and to introduce the next generation to the concept of land.”

The Island Foundation awards Environmental Grants to a variety of initiatives in Southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, including those that support working landscapes (sustainable agriculture and community-based fisheries); help local conservation organizations build capacity; and promote environmental justice.