The Gatherings: Reimagining Indigenous-Settler Relations
Published: March 2021© 2021
Imprint: Aevo UTP
Page Count: 304 Pages
Illustrations: 23 b&w illustrations, 1 b&w map
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
304 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 23 b&w illustrations, 1 b&w map
Ebook - PDF
In a world that requires knowledge and wisdom to address developing crises around us, The Gatherings shows how Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can come together to create meaningful and lasting relationships.
Thirty years ago, in Wabanaki territory – a region encompassing the state of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes – a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals came together to explore some of the most pressing questions at the heart of Truth and Healing efforts in the United States and Canada. Meeting over several years in long-weekend gatherings, in a Wabanaki-led traditional Council format, assumptions were challenged, perspectives upended, and stereotypes shattered. Alliances and friendships were formed that endure to this day.
The Gatherings tells the moving story of these meetings in the words of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. Reuniting to reflect on how their lives were changed by their experiences and how they continue to be impacted by them, the participants share the valuable lessons they learned.
The many voices represented in The Gatherings offer insights and strategies that can inform change at the individual, group, and systems levels. These voices affirm that authentic relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples – with their attendant anxieties, guilt, anger, embarrassments, and, with time, even laughter and mutual affection – are key to our shared futures here in North America. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we come together to reimagine Indigenous-settler relations.
Alma H. Brooks
T. Dana Mitchell
Wayne A. Newell
Marilyn Keyes Roper
Afterword by Dr. Frances Hancock
To reflect the collaborative nature of this project, the word Mawopiyane is used to describe the full group of co-authors. Mawopiyane, in Passamaquoddy, literally means "let us sit together," but the deeper meaning is of a group coming together, as in the longhouse, to struggle with a sensitive or divisive issue – but one with a very desirable outcome. It is a healing word and one that is recognizable in all Wabanaki languages.
Notes on Terminology
The Talking Circle
The Last Gathering
The Gatherings: May 1987 to May 1993
Creating This Book
The Giveaway Blanket
The Circle and Ceremony
The Circle and Decision Making
Ceremony: Protect or Share It?
Allies, Friends, Family
The Women Compare Notes
The Relationship Evolves
How We Got Here
The Doctrine of Discovery
But What about the Treaties?
The Personal Is Political
Beginning to Make Amends
Some Progress ... and a Long Way to Go
How It Could Be Different
Being Here Legitimately
Acknowledging First Peoples/Honoring the Treaties
An Indigenous Worldview
The Need for Gathering Spaces
Creating a Gathering Space
Working Together on a Cause
Humility versus “White Guilt”
Non-Natives Working with Our Own People
Entering the Longhouse
Being in the Relationship: An Afterword by Dr. Frances Hancock
Appendix: How This Book Came to Be
Map: Location of the Gatherings
"The Gatherings is an unusual book in the powerful authenticity of feeling it expresses."Dana White, OFF RADAR, centralmaine.com
"The Gatherings: Reimaging Indigenous-Settler Relations offers eye-opening information that is beautifully tied together with thought-provoking and insightful stories from individuals who have initiated the work that needs to be done to end the fragile relationships between Indigenous peoples and settlers."Carly Smith, Cloud Lake Literary
"Calling themselves collectively 'Mawopiyane,' a Passamaquoddy word meaning 'let us sit together,' they spent several years piecing together this simply framed, but profoundly encouraging book."Dana Wilde, National Book Critics Circle, The Working Waterfront
"The authors share the insights they have gained on how Natives and non-Natives can work well together by acknowledging First Peoples, honoring agreements, understanding their worldviews, and being in conversation with one another."David Etheridge, Friends Journal
"Very impressive. The contributions of these men and women are noteworthy and deserve to be read and available to all persons who are interested and want to learn from them."The Hon. Graydon Nicholas, Chancellor and Endowed Chair in Native Studies, St. Thomas University, and Former Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick
“Shirley N. Hager’s gentle and affirming spirit shines through as she introduces the reader to this unique, collective experience. I felt so much gratitude for each participant, opening themselves to let strangers in.” Beth Clifford, Curriculum Coordinator, Maine Indian Education
"In this book, White Americans and Native Americans speak from different perspectives of their experience in the circle as they patiently forge a transforming experience across difference."Terry Chadsey, Former Executive Director, Center for Courage & Renewal
"I had intended to only take a quick look at the book and come back to it later, but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. The Gatherings is a very well-constructed book of great importance both as a cultural document and as a tool for teaching and learning."Keith Helmuth, Founding Trustee of Quaker Institute for the Future and Author of Tracking Down Ecological Guidance: Presence, Beauty, Survival
"This book brings together voices and perspectives, rarely shared so openly and bluntly, on the long road and commitment needed to cultivate understanding across cultures, and particularly across Native/non-Native communities."Holly Wilkinson, Executive Director, WholeHeart, Inc.
"The Gatherings calls me back to the deepest roots of my own faith tradition. Several times it brought me to tears. There is deep healing here, and truth, and an even deeper love."Noah Merrill, Secretary, New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Foreword INDIES 2021 Finalist for Multicultural- (Short-listed)
2021 New England Book Awards - Nonfiction- (Short-listed)
Related Blog Posts
We asked authors of The Gatherings a few questions about what Indigenous History Month means to them and include the video from their book launch.
Watch the book launch and read an excerpt from The Gatherings, which tells the incredible story of how Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples came together in Wabanaki territory to explore some of the most pressing questions at the heart of Truth and Healing efforts in the United States and Canada.