Workshop Number: 23
Leaders: Charlotte Basham, Marguerite Dingman
Who May Register?: Open to All
Experiential Activities: 30%
Who May Attend?
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)
We will consider spiritual and ethical questions that arise as we learn from Native Americans who offer guidance for living in balance with the Earth community. We will explore how Quakers are responding to opportunities for authentic relationships while finding new Light in our own tradition.
This workshop will provide an opportunity to examine our own spiritual traditions in light of what we can learn of Indigenous spirituality, revealing both the flaws that have contributed to the exploitation found in Western industrialized society and the seeds of positive change.
Through readings and listening, we will first come to a better understanding of how American Quakers were among those who came to this land as strangers and looked out over a land officially deemed “empty” in which they had no ancestral memories, no burial grounds, no sacred springs or holy mountains, no relatives. (Or so it seemed.) We will explore how this alienation from place has impoverished subsequent American spirituality, including that of Quakers, and contributed to moral distortion of devastating consequence for the land and its people. Next, we will discuss the yearning of many in our modern American culture for spiritual community encompassing Earth and our other-than-human relations. They can see that the traditional lifeways of peoples indigenous to this land embody an abiding oneness with all Creation. Seeing this, they may turn with longing toward Native American traditions for their own healing, yet in doing so they may compound the errors of the past. We will discuss how cultural appropriation harms Native people, and how Euro-Americans have done enough harm without now trying to extract benefit from the Native traditions that our churches, meetings and government actively tried to extinguish.
Through video, deep listening, movement, journaling and singing as well as through worship and discussion, we hope to provide a context for participants to deepen their own relationship with Spirit, with the Earth, and with Indigenous people.
It is our hope that through engaging together in this workshop Friends will find we can:
-articulate what attracts us to Native American spirituality.
-acknowledge harm Quakers have done and recognize the need for deep humility and respect for boundaries set by Native people concerning their spirituality.
-open to guidance that is being freely offered by Native people who know the Earth’s urgent need for balance and sustainability.
-identify aspects of Quakerism that guide and invite us into a more harmonious relationship with the Earth and its beings.
-name the changes we need to make, individually and as a religious body, in order to move toward balance with the rest of creation.
-take home a framework for exploring the development of relationships with Native people in our local areas.
Charlotte (Charley) Basham has facilitated workshops for Chena Ridge Friends Meeting, Alaska Friends Conference, Pendle Hill, and FGC. A retired professor of Linguistics and Anthropology, she approaches this work as a member of a circle of learning where the teacher shares from her own experience as part of the discussion. Her experience related to the topic of this workshop includes many years of learning with Indigenous people in Alaska and Arizona, serving with Alaskan Quakers Seeking Right Relationship with Indigenous People, and co-facilitating an Interfaith Climate Action Working Group.
It is my hope that those gathered for this workshop will become a community in which we nurture each other’s curiosity and growth. My experience in facilitating groups spans my spiritual life in churches and meetings and my professional life as a social worker. In addition to experience as a clerk, recording clerk and committee member, I have experience in leading people in simple songs and circle dance, body prayer, art projects, walking the labyrinth and in co-designing retreats. I also led a popular group for women in a domestic violence program, inviting them to examine images of God and develop images true to their own experience. I look forward to sharing my explorations of our workshop topic and experiencing what we will co-create in our week together.