Dear Friends,

It’s been a challenging year for all of us, including the Toward Right Relationship program. Last January, our 2020 calendar was filled up with travel to communities all around the country who had invited us to present our TRR workshops and other programs. By March, our calendar was empty, and our anticipated income from these scheduled presentations was slashed to zero. Worse than that, Indigenous communities were among the hardest hit by Covid outbreaks and deaths, the result of chronic injustices that cry out for reform. So we asked you to send money directly to the affected Indigenous communities and their health services — and we’re grateful to all of you who did.

With our income slashed and our in-person workshops cancelled, what did we do? We got creative! An amazing 4-person team came together to develop Zoom versions of our programs, and we stuck with it over months as we worked out the glitches. Now we’re training volunteers to facilitate and provide tech support for our online programs. Our calendar is filling up with requests (so far) from faith communities (Unitarians, Methodists, United Church of Christ, Presbyterians and Quakers), civic agencies and organizations (the Wisconsin State Department of Transportation), schools (the Lincoln NE school district), and colleges (Naropa University). And participants are giving very positive feedback, for example:

From non-Native participants:

“I’ve known and thought about indigenous peoples’ history for a long time. Now what I can do is much more in the forefront of my mind.”

“Wow – that was an excellent workshop.  Best zoom educational experience I have had!”  

“This is a wonderful model for fostering conversations that lead to more understanding among peoples.”

“The thoughtful way that you presented this information made it so much more powerful.”

From Native participants:
“Everything that went into this experience and the presentation is so deeply meaningful.” 
“This workshop is the tool I’ve been searching for to begin imagining a new way forward.”  

Such positive feedback, the enthusiasm of our growing network of volunteers, and our own deep commitment have carried us through these lean times. Now we need your help to recover financial stability and build our capacity to carry this work forward. Please consider making a donation to help us build relationships with Native peoples based on truth, respect, justice, and our shared humanity. Your donation will be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Any amount will help and be much appreciated.

You may donate online here (please select Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples) or make a check to Friends Peace Teams-TRR (write “TRR” on the memo line) and mail it to Friends Peace Teams-TRR, 1001 Park Ave., St. Louis MO 63104. Thank you!

Here’s another way you can help: Invite us to present our workshops and other programs to your faith community, school, college, or civic organization. Learn more about our programs and facilitators on our website. We just posted a new profile of TRR workshop facilitator Rev. Irvin Porter (Pima, T’hono O’odham, Nez Perce). You’ll enjoy learning about his ministry in the Church of the Indian Fellowship, in Tacoma WA.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to read about Friends Peace Teams’ proactive anti-racism work around the world in Peaceways.

Thank you for all the ways you work to build right relationships in your community. We wish you good health, peace, and hope as we welcome a new year.

With gratitude,
Paula Palmer and Jerilyn DeCoteau (Turtle Mountain Chippewa)