Statement on Anti-Black Racism

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) stands against anti-Black racism, injustice, inequality and police violence and brutality. The past few weeks have seen mass mobilization and protest in support of racial equality in the United States and globally, in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all Black people who have suffered due to white supremacy and institutional racism. 

Museums, libraries and archives have historically benefited from racial inequity and continue to do so. Such institutions are traditionally filled with stolen or looted artefacts and have profited from colonial violence and slavery. As a museum, a centre for dialogue and a knowledge institution at the University of British Columbia, we call for an end to institutionalized violence against Black people.

Acknowledging that many museums are colonial institutions, the Centre works to disrupt these systems and strives to elevate the voices of Indigenous individuals and communities who have experienced racism, systemic violence and oppression. By sharing these voices, the Centre promotes dialogue and uncomfortable conversations about the legacy of colonialism in Canada and internationally. Only through unconditional acknowledgement of its colonial foundations and a commitment to disrupt institutional racism can Canada begin to move toward a future where all individuals are given equal voice.

As a memory institution, the Centre has a responsibility to document, preserve and make accessible the history and legacies of Canada’s residential schools – systems of state-sponsored racism and oppression. The Centre works with Indigenous communities and individuals to ensure research and use of these materials is done in culturally appropriate ways that respect individual and community agency. The IRSHDC strives to work against problematic structures in a university setting that perpetuate and privilege Eurocentric and colonial ways of knowing. More action is needed and the Centre commits to this work in its approach to education, research, curation and awareness.

The Centre acknowledges that it is built on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people, and calls on universities and colleges to do more in fighting racism in academia. From revising hiring practices to ensuring greater representation across students, faculty and staff, there is much to be done to disrupt colonialism, address issues of social justice and equality and unconditionally acknowledge that Black lives matter.

Below are some resources for those wishing to show support for protestors and those affected or seeking anti-racist resources:

Anti-racism resources

Anti-racism resources for white people. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/preview?pru=AAABcpRx0Nk%2ACnaQreIW0t0VZdmIq2iRzA

Anti-racist resources. Hogan’s Alley Society. https://www.hogansalleysociety.org/resources/

Black Lives Matter. https://blacklivesmatter.com

Diangelo, R. (2018) White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Beacon Press.

Kendi, I. X. (2016). Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. New York: Nation Books.

Kendi, I. X. (February 2019). The Anti-Racist Reading List. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/antiracist-syllabus-governor-ralph-northam/582580/

Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. New York: NYU Press.

UBC Equity and Inclusion Office. https://equity.ubc.ca/

Museums, archives and social justice resources

Anderson, S. (Producer). (2018 June 28). Museopunks Episode 27: Museums are not neutral . Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/museopunks/s2-ep27-museums-are-not-neutral

Bryant-Greenwell, K. (2019). Taking a Stand Against Neutrality: The Role of Social Justice in Museums. Museum-iD. https://museum-id.com/taking-a-stand-against-neutrality-the-role-of-social-justice-in-the-21st-century-museum/

Caswell, M. and Brilmayer, G. (2016). Identifying & Dismantling White Supremacy in Archives: An Incomplete List of White Privileges in Archives and Action Items for Dismantling Them. Poster presentation. Retrieved from: http://www.gracenbrilmyer.com/dismantling_whiteSupremacy_archives3.pdf

Eddo-Lodge, R. (2017). Why I am no longer talking to white people about race. Bloomsbury, London.

McCraken, K. (May 2020). Historical reminiscents Episode 69: Dated and racist language in archival descriptions . Retrieved from: https://kristamccracken.ca/?p=2700

Nettles, A. (June 16, 2020). The Blackivists on documenting movements. Chicago Reader. https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/blackivists-archivists/Content?oid=80694245

Project STAND: Student Activism Now Documented. (2020). https://standarchives.com.

Smith, L.T. (2012), Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. 2nd ed., Zed Books.

trivedi, n. (2015). Oppression: A Museum Primer. The Incluseum. https://incluseum.com/2015/02/04/oppression-a-museum-primer/

Tuck, E. and Yang, K. (2012). “Decolonization is not a Metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1 (1). Retrieved from https://www.latrobe.edu.au/staff-profiles/data/docs/fjcollins.pdf

WITNESS. (2019). https://www.witness.org.