Indigenous Justice


The mission of the Indigenous Justice Working Group (IJWG) is to explore First Parish’s relationship to the grave injustices experienced by the Indigenous people of Massachusetts, from being displaced from their homes centuries ago to the vast health and social inequities today.

Members of this Social Justice Working Group will seek truth and raise ideas about how we at First Parish might learn about, acknowledge, and confront these injustices in order to heal and move forward together toward a more just future.

Get Involved!
The IJWG offers events throughout the year for those interested in learning more about the history of First Parish in relation to the Indigenous people of what is now called Arlington, the experiences of Indigenous people in North America, and the efforts to address ongoing injustice and inequities. If you are interested in engaging more deeply in this work, helping to guide our efforts, and developing programs and stronger relationships on behalf of First Parish, please email

IJWG meets virtually on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 8PM.

Land Acknowledgement 

First Parish is engaged in a process of developing a land acknowledgement, a statement that recognizes that the land on which our congregation is located was stolen from the Indigenous people who first inhabited this area and our commitment to work for reparations, right relationship and justice in regard to Indigenous people. This is part of an ongoing process informed by the work of the Indigenous Justice Working Group, IJWG. Read Full Article Here.

Land Acknowledgment workshops were completed last spring in collaboration with Silvermoon LaRose and Lorén Spears, assistant and executive directors at the Tomaquag Museum. Click to learn more!

This year, the Indigenous Justice Working Group will draft our Land Acknowledgement, seek feedback from First Parish stakeholders (ministers, worship associates, Social Justice Committee), our Indigenous consultants, and the Massachusett Tribe. We will share the resulting draft with the congregation. This will include public comment sessions (in-person and online). We look forward to sharing more soon. Stay tuned for next steps!

Click to watch a video of our Land Acknowledgement Development Workshop, held on 3/1/2023.

An Invitation to Move Toward Land Acknowledgments & Beyond (UUA Justice and Inclusion Blog, 8/20/2020)

Indigenous Issues in the News

Native tribe to get back land 160 years after largest mass hanging in US history The Guardian, 9/2/2023

How the Land Back Movement Is Unraveling Manifest Destiny Sierra, 9/11/2023

Hats Off to a Determined Woman Who Scored a Win for Native Americans – South Dakota Searchlight

13 years ago, Blackfeet Tribal member and banker Elouise Cobell finally won a class-action lawsuit against the government, which settled the case by paying out $3.4 billion to Native American citizens and tribal nations.

The case was one of the largest class-action suits in U.S. history, and the presiding judge issued a blistering judgment against the Department of Interior. He called Interior a “dinosaur” agency that allowed “outright villainy” to persist.

Indigenous and Black Communities Find Common Cause for Land Justice

Ways to Take Action

The Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda is working to support legislation currently before the Massachusetts State Legislature that will benefit Indigenous Peoples. Please check out the website of this Indigenous-led Coalition for more information, as well as updates and action alerts.

Additional Resources One thing the members of the Indigenous Justice Working Group have noticed is that once we develop a lens for focusing on this work, it is everywhere: in the daily news, on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, in local events listings and Netflix offerings. We are slowly developing an already-huge spreadsheet of resources and are struggling to find time to absorb and engage with all the wonderful material available to us. Here we offer a few recommendations.

21-Day Racial Equity Indigenous Challenge: This project offers resources for reading, watching, listening, and otherwise engaging with the topic of Indigenous Justice. Design your own course of study from a menu of options, or see where the path leads you.

Coloring Pages by Hawlii Pichette, a Mushkego Cree urban mixed-blood artist and illustrator. Fun for kids, great for meditative practice focusing on the natural world and themes of Indigenous culture.

Indian Country Today offers news of Indigenous people throughout the Americas. Check out the rich offerings available on the website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter to add Indigenous news to your daily feed.

The Red Nation: 10-Point Program, a demand for an end to violence against Native Peoples, from a coalition of Native and non-Native activists, educators, students, and community organizers.

Massachusetts Indigenous History Resources: Links to a variety of resources about Indigenous communities in Massachusetts, as well as documentaries, 17th century accounts, books, and more!

If you have resources to recommend to us, please email

First Parish videos related to Indigenous Justice

Cick the title to view on YouTube

9/5/21 “Toward Indigenous Justice: Question and Explorations” (Sunday Worship Service) Prayer given by Elizabeth Hunter, Time for All Ages by Jennifer Davis-Kay, and Reflections by Annie Homza, Tom Estabrook, and Ellen Leigh

10/09/22 “Ut Tabutantamooônk/In Thanksgiving” (Sunday Worship Service) Led by Lorén Spears, Narragansett Tribal Nation citizen and Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum

3/10/23 “Indigenous Women and the Struggle for Climate Justice” (Alliance Meeting) A talk by Mahtowin Munro (Lakota), longtime co-leader of United American Indians of New England (UAINE) and a lead organizer for Indigenous Peoples Day in Massachusetts. She is active in ongoing efforts to pass Indigenous-centered legislation at the State House.

8/27/23 “Reckoning When Redemption Is Impossible”
(Sunday Worship Service) Amy Anderson, Worship Leader (includes Reflection by Ellen Leigh about Land Acknowledgment issues.

11/26/23 “Family Farm Stories” (Sunday Worship Service) Rev. Wendy Page, Affiliate Minister with Reflections re: “grappling with our responsibility now as we come to understand the past”.

Grounded in Our Faith

In 2020 the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, our national body, passed an Action of Immediate Witness calling on all Unitarian Universalist congregations to Address 400 Years of White Supremacist Colonialism. The efforts of the First Parish Indigenous Justice Working Group are grounded in this action and in the principles that we affirm.