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.”