Black Lives Matter Statement by the Archaeology Student Society

June 12, 2020

Archaeology Student Society
Faculty of Environment
Simon Fraser University

The Archaeology Student Society (ASS) and the Archaeology Graduate Student Caucus (AGSC) have long been opponents to oppressive regimes. We are acutely aware of the racism and colonial violence that has led to SFU campuses standing on the unceded traditional territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Katzie, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, Semiahmoo, and Tsawwassen Nations, and numerous Stó:lō Nations. "; and, we firmly stand against any kind of violence that violates the moral, ethical, and legal rights of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).

The last six months has seen public, and largely unrestricted, anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-Indigenous, and anti-LGBTQIA2S+ violence, harassment, oppression, and discrimination all over the world, but even more so across North America. Over the last two weeks, we have seen this come to a head, with people across the continent (and over the world) protesting in demand of justice, peace, and reform to the systems that were built to do exactly what they are doing now. But these inexcusable, violent acts against BIPOC are not new, they are just more public than ever before. The responses to these injustices are more than just protests—they are global movements fighting for basic human rights, rights that include social protection; an adequate standard of living and the highest attainable standards of physical and mental well-being; being seen as equal before the law; the freedom to gather in peaceful assembly; and, the advocacy of racial or religious hatred. But these basic rights are blatantly being disregarded and dismantled by the colonial state.

We acknowledge that the BIPOC members of this department and this institution are not here to do our emotional labour. We are responsible for educating ourselves, our friends, and our families on what it means to be good allies. Please go through the resources provided below, but do not hesitate to seek help and guidance (e.g. from SFU's SOCA group or the SFU Equity, Diversity and Inclusion department) if there is something you do not understand. Moreover, in order to help remove barriers and decolonize archaeology both in the department and in the field, the Archaeology Student Society commits to the following:

  1. Anonymously surveying students to understand their concerns and soliciting suggestions on how they would like to see the department become a more aware, inclusive and supportive space.
    a. Maintaining an anonymous (locked) suggestion box for ongoing questions, comments, concerns or suggestions that will be followed-up with to actionize at each ASS meeting.
  2. Using our seat on the Undergraduate Education Curriculum committee to strive for increased teaching content on topics including, but not limited to, colonial violence; racial prejudice, bias, and injustice; white supremacy and Eurocentrism; and other forms of systemic violence and bias as they relate to, and beyond, archaeology.
  3. Helping educate our peers and colleagues about what it means to be a good ally

Black Lives Matter. Period. There is no ellipses, no qualifier. Black Lives Matter. The Lives of Indigenous People and People of Colour Matter. Places of higher education are no longer an Ivory Tower, yet they still continue to function as such, even if they do not recognize it. Truly decolonizing institutions and teaching the leaders of today and tomorrow to not perpetuate ideas that stem from colonial violence, bias, and oppression are imperative and non-negotiable. We, the Archaeology Student Society and the Archaeology Graduate Students Caucus, call for systemic reforms in criminal justice, education, and other spheres essential to establishing a world where equal rights and opportunities exist for all.



PDF available here.