Unitarian Universalist Grounding & Policy: Justice for Native Peoples

Below is a compilation of short excerpts from relevant Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) social justice statements passed by General Assembly, listed chronologically. Click on statement titles for the full text of individual statements.

The Doctrine of Discovery (English)
Sobre la Doctrina del Descubrimento
2012 Responsive Resolution

We, the delegates of the 2012 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as a relic of colonialism, feudalism, and religious, cultural, and racial biases having no place in the modern day treatment of indigenous peoples; and . . .

That we call upon the United States to fully implement the standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. law and policy without qualifications.

Truth, Repair, and Reconciliation
2007 Responsive Resolution

In response to President Bill Sinkford's report, moved that delegates begin this work by encouraging their congregations and the UUA to research their own and the Association's history: to uncover our links and complicity with the genocide of native peoples; with slavery and the slave-based economy; and with all types of racial, ethnic, and cultural oppression, past and present, toward the goal of accountability through acknowledgment, apology, repair, and reconciliation.

Resolution to Establish Formal Relationships with the National Coalition on Racism and Sports in Media
2001 Responsive Resolution

In response to the moderator's report, moved that this General Assembly direct the UUA's Board of Trustees and administration to establish formal relationships with the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media as models for local Unitarian Universalist congregations to use in developing relationships with regional Native American groups working to end the use of Indian images and symbols for sports and media mascots.

Economic Injustice, Poverty, and Racism: We Can Make a Difference!
2000 Statement of Conscience

We, the member congregations of the UUA, hereby rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of economic justice, an end to racism, and an end to poverty. We recognize that racism is a major contributor toward economic injustice. We pledge ourselves to strive to understand how racism and classism perpetuate poverty and to work for the systemic changes needed to promote a more just economy and compassionate society. Our work for economic justice must include support for . . . respect for treaty rights of First Nations and Native American Tribes [among other items].

Resolution on Support for the Cleveland, Ohio, Native American Community
2000 Responsive Resolution

Resolved that this General Assembly urge the Planning Committee and the Board of Trustees to consult and cooperate with the United Church of Christ's ongoing efforts to support the Cleveland Native American community in their struggle against the Cleveland Indians baseball team and the racism implicit in the use of the symbols, names and mascots which Native American people find offensive.

Fair Treatment for Native Americans
1998 Action of Immediate Witness

The Assembly asks Unitarian Universalists in the United States to take action to urge the United States government to begin a program of reconciliation and renewal by way of the following:

  1. holding at least one Race Initiative hearing on an Indian reservation prior to the cessation of the current work of the Race Advisory Board;
  2. setting up a Presidential Commission on Indigenous Race Relations with a Native chair and majority indigenous representation;
  3. initiating through the Presidential Commission a process for apology, financial reparation, and healing for the historic injustice suffered by indigenous peoples in their relations with the United States government and the other citizens of the United States, finding inspiration in the Canadian government's recent action of apologizing to and allocating funds for its indigenous peoples;
  4. creating an indigenous desk at the White House to act as a liaison between the administration and indigenous nations; and
  5. receiving assurance of the President's veto of all legislation that would diminish the sovereignty and religious freedoms of indigenous nations.

The 1998 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association also calls on its member congregations and individuals to share this Action of Immediate Witness with other religious groups in their communities.

Solidarity with the San Carlos Apache Regarding Mt. Graham
1997 Action of Immediate Witness

The 1997 General Assembly of the UUA calls upon the Executive Staff and the Board of Trustees of the Association to join with the Apache in requesting the cessation of new telescope construction on Mt. Graham and the removal of all existing telescopes from Mt. Graham, and in opposing any new or proposed construction or development to take place on Mt. Graham; and . . . calls upon individual Unitarian Universalists to educate themselves about the issues facing their own local First Nations and Native American neighbors, since sacred sites needing protection exist everywhere.

Justice for Indigenous Peoples
1993 General Resolution

The UUA encourages its member congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists to work beyond 1993 in their own regions to:

  1. learn from indigenous peoples about the richness of their cultures and about the problems and issues they face;
  2. support local indigenous peoples' political action committees in their struggles for social justice and religious freedom; and
  3. act individually and through coalitions to respect and support indigenous peoples in preserving their cultural pride and heritage and in protecting their natural resources.

Opposing Extradition of Dennis Banks
1976 General Resolution

Dennis Banks is acknowledged by many Native Americans to be a militant leader in the struggle for justice in the cause of Native American rights; and . . . has publicly stated that he will be killed if he is returned to South Dakota; . . .

The 1976 General Assembly of the UUA request that both Governor Brown and Governor Straub grant asylum and refuse to extradite Dennis Banks to South Dakota and that members and societies be urged to communicate the same request to these two governors.

Native Americans
1975 Business Resolution

BE IT RESOLVED: That the 1975 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association abhors the violence presently taking place at the Pine Ridge Reservation aggravated by the neglect of the US federal government in dealing with the fundamental issue of self-determination of Native Americans; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the UUA and its member churches and fellowships be urged to sponsor ongoing educational programs about and leading to effective action concerning the plight of Native Americans; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That we urge each individual Unitarian Universalist to promote social justice for all Native Americans through contact with his and her political representatives at all levels of government.

Indian Rights
1970 Business Resolution

The 1970 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges support of the independent, indigenous organizations:

  1. In opposing the continued exploitation of the Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts;
  2. In demanding an end to the continued encroachment by ranching, mining, lumbering, and hydro-electric interests upon their human rights, ancestral homelands, and water resources; and
  3. In insisting upon adequate reparations for past and present injustices perpetrated upon them.