Quaker ideology, colonialism and American Indian education

Barbara Heather, Marianne O. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


William Penn, the Quaker who founded Pennsylvania, set out to found a Holy Experiment based on Quaker ideals. While he regarded the Native American Indians whose land he purchased as spiritual equals, he still expected them to convert to Christianity and live under British law. Later, Quakers continued to follow this goal, eventually becoming leaders, under President Grant, in the residential school system for Native American Indian children. They supported assimilation, contributing to the destruction of native culture and society, in contradiction to their principles of equality and integrity. This paper explores the process by which Quakers came to feel it necessary to pursue such measures in spite of their egalitarian beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-304
Number of pages16
JournalCulture and Religion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • North American Indians
  • Quakers
  • colonialism
  • religion
  • residential schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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