Land Acknowledgement of Fayetteville Monthly Meeting (Quakers)
In these Ozark Mountains—ancestral lands to bluff dwellers of whom we know little, and later, the ancestral hunting grounds of the Ni-O-Kon-Ska (Osage), the Kadohadacho (Caddo), and the Okaxpa (Quapaw)—bear, elk, bison, and many more animal siblings roamed. Beaver, otter, trout, and more thrived in free-flowing rivers and streams. Medicinal plants, river cane for basketry, and wood for implements were gathered by its humans. These mountains were loved and cared for by the Osage, Caddo, and Quapaw until they were forced to move by settlers.
Through these mountains, the Aniyunwiya (Cherokee) marched on their Trail of Tears to Indian Territory. Trees still stand who bore witness to this sorrow.
Fayetteville Monthly Meeting acknowledges and respects that we reside on the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples who live in relationship with Turtle Island and, in particular, this Ozark Mountain region.
While we have begun a process of individual and collective learning, including a study created by the Mennonites called “Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery,” we affirm that we have much to learn and ask that others help us understand any impacts or limitations in our words here.
We also recognize that the actions of governments and communities of which we are a part, have resulted in the loss of ancestral lands, culture, and language, causing ongoing and cumulative challenges for Indigenous peoples in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Thus, we commit to the following actions:
To continue to educate ourselves and process the impact of forced assimilation and the destructive denigration of Indigenous cultures. We further commit to explore and take responsibility for roles that the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have had in this exploitation.
To listen to ways suggested by Indigenous peoples to allow for further healing, reconciliation, and restitution.
To financially support language programs for Cherokee and/or Osage peoples that will preserve and promote their heritage and thus provide a small measure of reparation for what was such an intentional tool of forced assimilation.
To continue our education and processing of the impact of the forced removal of Indigenous peoples from the lands they previously occupied.
To support and actively advocate the passage of the “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies for the United States Act” and to support other legislative actions advocated by Indigenous people as they emerge.
Approved by Fayetteville Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) on 10/9/2022