PUTNEY FRIENDS MEETING CALLED MEETING TENTH MONTH 3RD, 2021
A called meeting coordinated by Quakers Wrestling with White Supremacy addressed our meeting’s relationship to people in our community with ties to the Native Americans who lived on the land now occupied by our meeting. People of the Sokoki community of the Abenaki nation lived in the part of the Connecticut Valley where Putney now lies, but had mostly departed from this land before people of European (mostly English) descent started to settle here in the mid-1700s. The system of land ownership which we now follow dates from that occupation.
Friends agree that we are called to deepen our understanding of the people who lived on this land before we came to it. We ought not to burden Native people to explain this to us.
We understand that this concern is not limited to our particular local story. The need to understand the people who have lived in the Americas for millennia is widely defined.
We strive for understanding of why we are called to acknowledge our relationship to indigenous peoples … of what our right relationship to our indigenous fellow members of the community is … and of what the future of this conversation should be. We seek a deeper understanding of what indigenous people would like us to contribute.
We understand that our own perception of our relationship to the land is challenged here. We hear from our indigenous neighbors a sense that the land is not ours. We are of the land. How do we respond to that challenge? What do we have to learn?