by Paula Palmer

Racism is the virus 
“One man dies in the street, pleading for his life,
and overnight those streets erupt in anger at the injustice,
not only for that dreadful moment, but for a lifetime of oppression.
One hundred thousand die from a virus, all innocent victims of a heartless disease, but a balance of color shows more die from one community than others.
Racism breeds death, either visibly for all the world to see, or silently, hidden beneath the statistics and the excuses.
May the Spirit empower us to face this reality and not turn away: racism is as virulent as covid-19,
infecting people who seem to have no outward symptoms,
until behavior reveals their disease.
The vaccine for racism is justice,
the cure is equality,
and the prevention is love.”
– Steven Charleston, a Choctaw elder
and an Episcopal bishop in Alaska
Dear Friends,

Thank you for all the ways you work toward racial justice and right relationships in your communities and organizations — especially in these deeply troubling times. Many Native people and organizations are participating in protests in solidarity with African Americans. Like African Americans, they experience disproportionately high rates of police brutality, police killings, and incarceration. However, Native peoples are often left out of news reports on these issues. Here are a few articles that offer available data and explain why the information is under-reported and hard to find:

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2020/04/22/native/

https://www.cornellrooseveltinstitute.org/dom/mass-incarceration-and-police-violence-in-native-american-communities

https://eji.org/news/native-americans-killed-by-police-at-highest-rate-in-country/

While staying safe at home, we can learn a lot by watching free online Native American films. Thanks to Beth Brownfield for forwarding this opportunity on Sunday, June 7:

An online Screening hosted by Learning Right Relations
THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY:
Unmasking the Domination Code

Sunday, June 7, 2020 / Time: 12 noon – 2 pm Pacific Time
Online Screening via Zoom – Register

Based on Steven Newcomb’s book Pagans in the Promised Land, this hour-long documentary examines the impact of ancient Vatican papal documents from the fifteenth century which purported to grant rights of domination over non-Christian nations and their lands.

Presentation & Conversation with Deb Cruz and Jonathan Neufeld Washington State leaders working on dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery and other Issues facing American Indians.

Vision Maker Media
Mission statement: Vision Maker Media empowers and engages Native People to share stories.
Vision: We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

And a few more timely articles:

Why Native Americans will not be counted accurately in the 2020 Census — and why it matters (published in Truthout)

Obstacles to voting in Native American communities  (published in High Country News)

What’s at stake in the Mashpee Wampanoag case for man Native American tribes (WCAI radio interview with professor David Silverman)

Toward Right Relationship News

We just completed our first pilot test of a Zoom version of our “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples” workshop, thanks to skillful  technical help from Kody Hersh, Southeastern Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. It went pretty well! We’ll test a few new ideas later this month, so stay tuned!

While we’re developing these new ways to carry our work forward, we especially need and appreciate your financial support. Please consider donating online here or send a check to: Friends Peace Teams-TRR, 1001 Park Avenue, St. Louis MO 63104. Make your check to Friends Peace Teams-TRR, and also write TRR on the memo line.

Thank you, Friends. May you stay well and find strength in these distressing times to continue our shared work for a more just and compassionate society.