Cover Image for The Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools: Facing Our History and Ourselves (Hybrid event)

The Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools: Facing Our History and Ourselves (Hybrid event)

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About Event

I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo the heartbreak and loss we feel. But only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace.

- Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Quakers managed more than thirty schools for Native American children. Some Quaker schools operated with federal funds and carried out the government's policy of forced assimilation. Quakers separated Indigenous children from their parents and tried to remake them in the Quaker image, causing tremendous harm.

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition has told us that the first step in a truth, reconciliation, and healing process is truth-telling. Put another way — in order for healing to occur, we must bring the full truth about the boarding schools and their ongoing consequences for Native families to light in the United States.

In this event, Paula Palmer, Gail Melix, and Andrew Grant will present findings of Paula’s research into Quaker support for Indigenous boarding schools to help bring some of that truth to light. The presentation will include readings directly from the Quaker teachers themselves and the Native students and other Native people who wrote about their experiences in these Quaker Indigenous boarding schools, followed by an opportunity to explore these queries in facilitated small groups: 

What does the Quaker history of running Indigenous boarding schools and the ongoing impact on Native communities mean for Friends today? How can Friends contribute toward healing?

**** Note that this event explores traumatic history and includes sensitive content. See more information below about the content and agenda, and please use it to inform whether this space is right for you.


Paula Palmer (whose ministry, “Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples,” is under the care of Friends Peace Teams), Gail Melix (Herring Pond Wampanoag and Sandwich Meeting), Andrew Grant (Mt. Toby Meeting)


This program is "pay-as-led"

  • Recommended standard rate: $15

  • Recommended pay-it-forward rate: $30 (Pays for you and another) 

  • Recommended reduced rate: $5

(Sliding scale goes all the way down to zero. Payment ensures that we are able to pay our facilitators and cover our costs. Money left over will be donated to a New England-based Indigenous-led organization).

We encourage Monthly Meetings to attend the workshop together at the $30 pay-it-forward level.

Event Agenda:

  • Welcome

  • Presentation from Paula, Gail, and Andrew 

    • This presentation will include: slides with images of children and teachers at Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools; readings directly from Quakers and Indigenous people who were involved in the Quaker Indigenous boarding schools.

  • Grounding practice and worship 

  • Facilitated Small Groups 

  • Next steps: How can we act? 

  • Optional additional worship and support space up to 30 minutes after event end time 

Event format: Hybrid

All of the presenters will be presenting from Zoom. There are options to attend with others onsite at Beacon Hill Friends House (see our COVID information below) and to attend in small groups from locations like meetinghouses.

COVID policies:

All onsite attendees at BHFH are required to have up-to-date vaccination against COVID-19 and to wear a mask while inside. We ask for proof of vaccination upon entering the building. Masks will be available for those who forget them.


Beacon Hill Friends House is working on making our historic space and all of our programming accessible to everyone.

  • On Zoom: Automated Closed Captions will be available for all participants.

  • On Site:

    • Audio: The audio from Zoom voices will be lightly amplified in the space. Automated closed captions will be visible. 

    • ​Physical space: This event will take place in our Meeting Room, which has a ground-level entrance accessible by most standard-sized wheelchairs.

      • Our primary entrance is up a flight of stairs and we have a sidewalk-level entrance to our basement level that can accommodate small and standard-size wheelchairs (the turning radius is too small for large motorized chairs). We also have a small, single-occupancy 100-year-old elevator (about 3 ft deep and 2.5 feet wide) that can access all floors. 

      • ​On the basement level, we have a single-user, all-gender bathroom with wall-mounted handrails and ample space for chairs and/or aides. We are not a scent-free space but tend to be low-scent.