June 8, 2020
The UBC Department of Anthropology stands in solidarity and hope with protesters in the United States, Canada and across the globe who are risking their lives in the face of state violence and a pandemic to demand racial and social justice.
We condemn the ongoing murders, recent and historical, of Black and Indigenous people whose lives have been lost to police and state violence in a long history of systemic injustice, extending back to the first occupations of these territories by non-Indigenous outsiders. We likewise condemn the autocratic displays of militarized force that have erupted across North America over the past several days, as well as the structurally embedded racism that is particularly exposed by our current crises of COVID-19 and police brutality. Here in Canada, we must all do more to address the longstanding issues of institutional and social racism highlighted, for example, in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls—released just one year ago this month.
As anthropologists, we are committed to taking part in dismantling persistent legacies of colonialism and white supremacy, within our discipline and in the world beyond it. We seek to create and uphold cultures of equity with space to breathe for all. We pledge to support and reinforce the demands of Indigenous, Black, Asian, migrant, and other racialized communities on the front lines of explicit and implicit violence.
As a Department, we are introducing concrete steps that build on our long-term commitment to social justice for marginalized, and often racialized, people here in Canada and globally. This year these steps include:
1) the inauguration of an annual lecture on race and inequality, to be co-sponsored with the Department of Sociology
2) a commitment to expanding the diversity and expertise of our research faculty with 2 new positions: one in sociocultural anthropology focused on race and sexuality, and one in Indigenous Archaeology