Table of Contents

First Nations Toolkit

Solidarity with First Peoples Study Guide

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

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First Nations: Session 3


Advance Preparation:

Please read “Under Our Charge: the Utes and the Unitarians” by Ted Fetter.

Then read Chapters Nine and Ten of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States (“U.S. Triumphalism” and “Ghost Dance Prophecy”)

Finally, either in advance of your meeting or as a group, please read this brief article from Indian Country Today, which shows how the 1950s era of “Termination” in U.S.-Indigenous relations still finds echoes in our contemporary politics.

Opening Words

“Out of Hiding”, by Li-Young Lee

Someone said my name in the garden,

While I grew smaller
in the spreading shadow of the peonies,
grew larger by my absence to another,
grew older among the ants, ancient

under the opening heads of the flowers,
new to myself, and stranger.

When I heard my name again, it sounded far,
like the name of the child next door,
or a favorite cousin visiting for the summer,

while the quiet seemed my true name,
a near and inaudible singing
born of hidden ground.

Quiet to quiet, I called back.
And the birds declared my whereabouts all morning.


Invite the group to share any thoughts and feelings that came up for them after the previous session.


Please turn first to the essay by Ted Fetter and reflect together on the following questions:

  • Keeping in mind what we learned from the previous session’s reading about the Indian boarding schools and other forms of U.S. cultural violence, what feelings did the story told in this essay bring up for you?
  • Was this story new to you? Did you read it differently in light of Dunbar-Ortiz’s book?
  • In what ways did this story confirm, or alter, your previous understanding of UU history and its relation to the history of Indigenous peoples?
  • In what ways might these agents’ actions have been shaped by UU principles? In what ways did they run counter to UU principles, in your view?

Turning back to Dunbar-Ortiz’s book, the author divides the twentieth century history of U.S.-Indigenous relations into three broad eras: 1) The New Deal; 2) Termination; and 3) the Civil Rights/ Great Society era.

  • What, in your understanding, is Dunbar-Ortiz’s overall assessment of the achievements and failures of these three eras?
  • Having read these chapters, what do you think are the noteworthy positive developments in any of these eras?
  • What do you think are some injustices and failures in this recent history that people can learn from today?
  • In light of the article from Indian Country Today you read for this session, how would you relate these victories and setbacks for Indigenous rights in the twentieth century to things that are still going on in the present?
Closing Words

“Ghosts, Fire, Water,” by James Kirkup

On the Hiroshima panels by Iri Maruki and Toshiko Akamatsu

These are the ghosts of the unwilling dead,
Grey ghosts of that imprinted flash of memory
Whose flaming and eternal instant haunts
The speechless dark with dread and anger.[…]

There is no easy music in their silent screams,
No ordered dancing in their grief’s distracted limbs.
Their shame is ours. We, too, are haunted by their fate.[…]

Their voices call to us, in pain and indignation:
‘This is what you have done to us!’
Their accusation is our final hope. Be comforted.
Yes, we have heard you, ghosts of our indifference,

We hear your cry, we understand your warnings.
We, too, shall refuse to accept our fate!
Haunt us with the truth of our betrayal
Until the earth’s united voices shout refusal, sing your peace!

Forgive us, that we had to see your passion to remember
What we must never again deny: Love one another.

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