The Religious Society of Friends — Quakers in the Niagara Peninsula — are a small group of Friends, who, in living their everyday lives, seek to carry out the principles of the Society. The smallness of the group allows us to know one another and to try to care for one another as a family of friends.
This Meeting is home to members and attenders from many areas of the Niagara Peninsula: St. Catharines, Welland, Port Colborne, Pelham, and Dunnville. Our Quaker group is made up of people who have been members for many years, some who are fairly recent attenders, as well as others who visit occasionally. We welcome you to meet with us. Children are also welcome though we regret that we do not, at this time, have a particular programme for them.
We are a small but active, vital Meeting, with members who devote service to their own communities, as well as to many Quaker bodies and committees outside our Meeting. For example, one member volunteers with Positive Living Niagara (http://positivelivingniagara.com/); one with with Hospice Niagara; others with Bridge of Hope (https://isscniagara.org/bridge-of-hope)/; and one member has training in “Quaker Quest.” Members are also engaged with responsibilities on the Camp Neekaunis Committee, Canadian Friends Service Committee, Canadian Yearly Meeting, the Canadian Quaker Archives and Library ( www.quaker.ca/archives ), and Friends General Conference.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee, and was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant. This agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes was made between the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee after the French and Indian War. Newcomers were then incorporated into it over the years, notably in 1764 with The Royal Proclamation/The Treaty of Niagara. This covenant bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers, have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect. We all eat out of the Dish – all of us that share this territory – with only one spoon. That means we have to share the responsibility of ensuring the dish is never empty; which includes, taking care of the land and the creatures we share it with. Importantly, there are no knives at the table, representing that we must keep the peace.
Recent community support by our Meeting has led to the two following public statements:
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT:
Six Nations Right to Hunt
St. Catharines – November 6, 2017
Pelham Executive Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Niagara Quakers) supports the right of the Six Nations to hunt deer in the Short Hills Provincial Park.
This is a treaty right; and as such is in effect to this day. Treaties exist between sovereign nations and enjoin each party to treat the other with respect. This is true of treaties between Indigenous Peoples and settlers. It is especially important to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples today, as that is a core obligation if the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are to bear fruit.
We must always bear in mind that we are all treaty people.
Quakers have a particular interest in supporting the right of the Haudenosaunee to hunt; to pass on traditional knowledge of hunting to the next generation; to provide sustenance to their families.
Quakers have a history of respecting the rights, traditions and religious practices of Indigenous people, dating back to the covenant between the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, and Indigenous nations, and continuing up to the present day, where Quakers played a vital role during the drafting and ratification of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Out of that tradition of mutual respect, we offer our support.
STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY:
The Muslim population of Niagara, Canada, and the world
St. Catharines – January 27, 2018
January 29, 2017 marked a dark day for Canadians. At a mosque of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, six worshippers were killed and nineteen others injured when one man opened fire just before 8:00 pm, shortly after the end of evening prayers. Niagarans came out 600 strong to mourn and stand with the Muslim population of Niagara. On this one year anniversary, Niagara Quakers once again express our intention to work for an inclusive society; a healthy and peaceful society in which all groups of people feel valued and important. At this anniversary, we unite with those of the Muslim faith and celebrate their contributions to Canada and the world.
(Other Keywords: Pelham Executive Meeting, Pelham Monthly Meeting, Niagara Quakers, Half-Yearly Meeting, Pelham Half-Yearly Meeting, traditional territory, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee, Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant)
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT:
International Laws of Sanctuary for Asylum Seekers
St. Catharines – June 28, 2018
Quakers in Niagara support international laws that guarantee asylum seekers the right to sanctuary, to a fair hearing, and to the full respect of their human rights. Through the separation of children from their parents, indefinite confinement, and mass trials, the current administration of the United States has shown its unwillingness to abide by these international covenants. Canada remains complicit in the U.S. behaviour until we repeal the “safe third country agreement” with the U.S.