Monday, April 5, 2010


"We can dance if we want to 
We can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re are no friends of mine" - Men Without Hats

A personal fave just published in the latest issue of the Ester Republic.
This is still amazing me: the Inupiat village of Noorvik just recently lifted the ban on traditional Native Alaskan dancing, which was "banned by Quaker missionaries a century ago as primitive idolatry."

"People who don`t like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn`t have such funny beliefs." - unknown

Alaska has a peculiar history in that it's the one place that Quakers - generally one of the more benign, even at times enlightened, religious groups - actually sent missionaries to partake in the cultural and spiritual purging of the uncivilized and barbaric savages. Later on there was a doctrinal schism that caused the more conservative members (also the ones who don't jive with the whole pacifist thing - see the reposted panel below from an earlier editorial) within the Quakers to split off into what's now known as "Evangelical Friends International"
"Tribal leaders formally approved the proposal after it received the blessing of the Noorvik Friends Church, despite opposition from a few elders."
You just gotta love the irony when one religious group casting the proverbial stones at another belief system and describing the those folk's rituals as primitive. Bonus: came across the following snippet in the pages of The Polar Times (October 1937)...

"Eskimo: If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell? Priest: No, not if you did not know. Eskimo: Then why did you tell me?" - Annie Dillard, `Pilgrim at Tinker Creek`


  1. Jamie--It's more complicated than that! The schism that led to the establishment of Evangelical Friends arose out of the Evangelical movement in the US in the 19th century. They're the same ones that gave us Nixon. They were well separated from the Philadelphia Friends before they (and the Catholics, Methodists, Orthodox, etc) carved up Alaska. I don't know where Friends (mega)Church came from, but no one I know who goes there has ever heard of a Quaker connection!

    But peacenik Friends still exist--and here in Fairbanks, too!

  2. Thank God for that - but seriously, it is a complicated spiritual genealogy: I called up a friendly Friend friend and confirmed the splintering and the historical connection, even though everything I've read on the internet is true anyways.
    But turns out that the particular Friends church here in town is NOT aligned with the aforementioned Evangelical Friends International. Which drives me nuts with the constant branding confusion over the usage of "Friends" - you'd think if the Catholic Church can now have the Pope as a registered trademark...