Quakers have a tradition of using queries to provoke spiritual reflection. These are usually simple questions used to stay grounded and to gain deeper insights. Queries promote work on oneself. They can help a person to keep expressing their positive values during their day to day life.
In 2018 CFSC was designated to take the lead in drafting queries on our relationship with Indigenous peoples. Quaker Meetings are encouraged to use the draft Queries on Relationship with Indigenous Peoples and may include their experiences of this in their annual report on reconciliation activities (PDF).
Any non-Indigenous person, whether Quaker or not, may find these queries helpful in prompting reflection on their knowledge and actions for reconciliation.
As Friends engage in the work of upholding Indigenous rights, we actively pursue the decolonization of Canadian society by building partnerships and practices of reconciliation under the guidance of and through respectful relationship with Indigenous people(s) in our local communities and across this land.
The foundation of our actions is our spiritual practices. We gratefully acknowledge that our principles, philosophies, and actions are grounded in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and Principles of Reconciliation, and Quaker testimonies of ‘peace’, and ‘unity and diversity,’ among others.
We honour the good work that Canadian Yearly Meeting and the Canadian Friends Service Committee are undertaking on the path of Indigenous rights, decolonization, and reconciliation on national and international levels and the voices of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Friends in guiding us to truth and love as we continue on this journey.
In light of the legacies (and continuity) of colonization, we hope this journey of listening, critical but loving self- and communal-reflection, relationship-building, learning, and healing will continue for generations to come. In this spirit, and building on the work CFSC has begun in this direction, we offer a few queries for Friends in their discernment and discussions. Overall, they ask:
How can we follow leadings of the Spirit, both individually and in our Meetings, to actively work towards the decolonization of Canada, recognition, promotion, and protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights, and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people?
These queries and reflections are an invitation to challenge and inspire Friends individually and corporately as a faith body. In the queries, “we” may refer to your local Meeting or Canadian Yearly Meeting as a whole.