Pennsylvania government, religious leaders to honor Native Americans

Reconciliation service to be held at Lancaster’s First Presbyterian Church

September 28, 2010


Pennsylvania government officials and representatives from Lancaster County’s Amish, Mennonite and Presbyterian Church and Quaker Meeting will honor Native American cultures and recognize the historic wrongs committed against local Native people at a “Public Acknowledgment & Commemoration of the Native American Legacy” at First Presbyterian Church here Oct. 9.

Their statements will be formally received by a wide cross-section of local and regional Native Americans and Native groups representing the Haudenosaunee, Lenape, Shawnee,  Susquehannock and other tribes who once lived in the area, as well as the Native people from other regions who now call Lancaster County home.

“This is a Lancaster County event on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the first European settlers arriving here,” said Bob Doe, chair of the planning committee that includes Native American and church groups. “It’s a first step toward understanding our shared history and beginning to set things right between Native people and European immigrants.”

According to a committee statement, First Nations people resonated with William Penn’s vision of Pennsylvania as a place of peace and sanctuary. But settlers broke treaties Penn made with local Native tribes and ignored Pennsylvania law when it applied to Native grievances.

In two separate incidents in 1763, an immigrant militia from Paxton Township destroyed the

last village of the Conestoga tribe and massacred its inhabitants. Over a century later, Native children were systematically removed from their families and sent to government boarding schools designed to erase Native American culture.

Christians, government and the military were complicit in these offenses, the statement continues

“This acknowledgment is a chance for religious groups to say, ‘We should have done a better job,’” said Mary Ann Robins, a Native American committee member representing Circle Legacy Center, a Lancaster non-profit organization that supports and empowers indigenous people.

“We had the same problems — religious persecution and being denied the freedom to live in peace. These religious groups had no sympathy or regard for us; they ignored what was happening to our people,” Robins said.

Lloyd Hoover, representing the Mennonite Church on the committee, said, “We, as Europeans, basically annihilated the Susquehannocks who were here, and to the rest of the tribes we committed acts that scattered them across the nation. Any way that I connect to that past as a European and a Mennonite and a Christian, I ask for forgiveness.”

“If our forefathers heard what we were talking about here, they’d be dancing with joy,” said Gray Wolf, an Apache man.

  1. Referring to Caleb, I am sorry you feel upset at the PCUSA and demand it to return to Calvinism. You must have personal problems dealing with your life and are taking it out at others who disagree with you. Conservatism doesn't work at all any longer. The more grudges you hold against another Church or it's teaching that you disagree with, the more complicated the outcome of making peace with yourself and others it will be. Please stop being so angry. Anger will kill you eventually by raising your blood pressure and potential for harmful illnesses. Let people be happy with themselves and focus on your self happiness and then you will see the truth.

    by Robbie

    April 22, 2012

  2. It's hard to say but the white brothers always messed it up whatever they have touched. Never is to late to regret. 300 years later I'm so happy that someone recognize the crimes......God bless to all of you my brothers................

    by samuel

    October 7, 2010

  3. Caleb, Most Amish and Mennonites believe in salvation by grace. The Quakers of today are divided. Some are very evangelical and also believe in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some are a bit new age and probably don't care one way or the other.

    by viola Larson

    September 29, 2010

  4. I am so ashamed of the PCUSA!!! We cannot unite with Amish, Mennonite, and Quaker!!! They believe you must work for your salvation, that is not Christianity! PCUSA, let's get back to our conservative, Bible Believing, Calvinist, fundamental roots!

    by Caleb Carter

    September 28, 2010