While marking 300 years since Europeans settled in Lancaster, groups of Presbyterians, Mennonites, Quakers and others apologized to American Indians on Saturday for “wrongs” committed against native groups that once thrived in the region.
The Presbyterians atoned in particular for the acts of a Paxton militia — made up of Scots-Irish Presbyterians — that massacred 20 peaceful Indians in Lancaster in 1763.
The sentiments were received by local and regional American Indians, who stayed for the dedication of the future site of a Native American longhouse to be built at the historic Hans Herr House and Museum.
From the Lancaster paper:
“We acknowledge that the Quaker community did not always live up to [William] Penn’s vision,” Jodi Good of Lancaster Friends Meeting said. “Treaty obligations were not always enforced, fraud was at times perpetrated, squatters were increasingly tolerated. … We further acknowledge that from colonial times to the present, all European Americans have benefited in material ways from the unjust expropriation of native lands.”
“In 1756,” Good continued, “most Quakers chose to leave the government of Pennsylvania to others, rather than compromise our commitment to nonviolence. What from our perspective was a principled act of conscience, from your perspective was a breach of the long-held trust between us. … Quakers chose nonviolence and Native Americans paid the price.”