*Afterthought #69 – Reblog: Quaker Indian Boarding Schools

Writing companion and fellow Quaker,  Gretchen Wing,  posted an essay earlier this week that needs to be read widely. I’m re-posting it here as we end a month filled with so many revelations about oppressive (and illegal) actions and mis-use of power. The history Gretchen writes of describes Quakers’ complicity in suppressing Native American culture and wisdom through the creation of Quaker Indian Boarding Schools.

I join Gretchen and Quaker teacher Paula Palmer (who recently wrote an article in Friends Journal on this issue) in asking myself the questions being asked by Native organizations:  “Who are Friends today? Knowing what we know now, will Quakers join us in honest dialogue? Will they acknowledge the harm that was done? Will they seek ways to contribute toward healing processes that are desperately needed in Native communities?”

*Afterthoughts are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, books, previous posts, maybe even bumper stickers.


Facing History and Ourselves, Quaker Style: Indian Boarding Schools are Our Shame, Too

by Gretchen Wing

Facing History and Ourselves is the title of a book and a mini-course in Holocaust Education. I took the course and used the book myself in my high school teaching. But what about that uniquely American, slo-mo Holocaust, the attempted eradication of Native culture? In grad school I learned about the Indian boarding schools of […]

via Facing History and Ourselves, Quaker Style: Indian Boarding Schools Are Our Shame Too — Wing’s World


  1. I left a similar correction on Gretchen’s site but I’ll add it here too to stop the misattribution: the article and underlying research comes from Paula Palmer.

    That said, I’m also feeling a little uncomfortable that no one’s taken up David Nagel’s comment on the article. David’s the longtime pastor of a Native American Quaker church in Oklahoma. He didn’t give his bio in the comment so I doubt most readers would realize the particular perspective he’s coming from. His comment reminded me that when we talk about Native Americans conversing with Quakers, we’re assuming there’s no overlap but of course there is.

    1. Thank you for this correction, Martin. I’ll change it in my re-post of Gretchen’s blog. Thanks as well for directing me to the comments and information about David Nagel. All of this highlights for me the complexities of this and many other aspects of racism and white privilege and how much I have to learn. I appreciate Friends Journal’s efforts to provide a forum.

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