The Indian Affairs Committee of New York Yearly Meeting was established in the late 1700s. When Friends first arrived in North America, they had a history of dealing fairly with the Native peoples and of respecting their cultures and traditions. Friends later fell into the common European way of thinking, which enforced teaching Native peoples European ways and compelled them to adopt European methods of livelihood and culture. Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and taken to boarding schools designed to “kill the Indian, save the man.” Friends, appalled by some of the harsh measures used in these schools, offered to take over the administration of many of them. Although the schools were then run in a more humane manner, the mission remained the same: to eliminate the traditions, culture, language, religion, and dress of the Native peoples.
Today, the Indian Affairs Committee recognizes Friends’ association with this shameful part of our past. We extend the hand of friendship to the Haudenosaunee and other Nations within the New York Yearly Meeting geographic area, and work to support Native efforts without setting conditions for our support. We also work to combat the racism that is so pervasive in United States culture. We are acutely aware that the United States is a country established by means of genocide: the systematic elimination of the Native peoples and their cultures.
The racial justice issues faced by Native Americans, while sharing some aspects faced by other people of color, have unique characteristics. The Indian Affairs Committee is dedicated to becoming educated about these concerns, to taking action to confront them wherever possible, and to educating others so that they may also take action. To read more about one of these issues, please go to the following link: http://www.independent.com/news/2009/mar/26/pomo-perspective-carpinteria-high-mascot/.