CIS Statement on Anti-Black Violence

The Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies stands in solidarity with Black people around the world in their calls for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Tony McDade, and all Black people who have experienced historic, systemic and ongoing police violence/brutality.

We call for an end to violence towards Black people on stolen land.

We are living through a global pandemic that attacks the respiratory system, leaving many marginalized Black and Brown communities gasping for breath. According to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, Black people account for 13% of the US population yet 24% of COVID-related deaths where race was known. On top of that, Eric Garner, George Floyd, and countless other Black people have had their breath stolen from them by police, prisons, and a racist system, forcing people to take to the streets during a time where we’re all urged to stay home. Black communities are facing dual pandemics – structural racism is a public health crisis that has plagued communities for much longer than COVID-19 has.

Anti-Blackness is rooted into the foundations of the settler-colonial nations now known as Canada and the United States. Almost 100 years ago to the day, and with the complicity of city administration and police, the white community of Tulsa, Oklahoma attacked, looted, and set fire to the city’s Greenwood District, a flourishing Black neighbourhood, leaving hundreds dead and injured and thousands displaced. Nearly 50 years later, the American Indian Movement was founded in Minneapolis as a direct response to police violence. Beginning in 1967 in Vancouver, Hogan’s Alley, the city’s first concentrated Black community, was expropriated for highway construction, which was facilitated by the local press’ representation of the community as violent and immoral. Racial profiling of Black and Indigenous peoples in Vancouver continues to this day.

And now we are witnessing mass mobilization as a response to the murder-by-police of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The anti-Black histories of these countries have long been viewed by government and public authority as something of the past, yet for those whose lives continue to be affected by racist and colonial modes of violence, the present is just as steeped in militarized methods of white supremacy.

The violence that we are seeing may not be new, but neither is resistance to it. The ongoing protests and direct action are an indictment of the current state of affairs, and the movement that we see all around us today will light our way towards anti-colonial futures based in healing, justice, and uncontroversial acknowledgements that Black lives matter. We hope that these calls for justice will be heard and transformation realized.

If you would like to show your support of these protests and families affected, here is a list of organizations that are accepting donations:

George Floyd Memorial Fund
Black Visions Collective
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Reclaim the Block
Northstar Health Collective
• Unicorn Riot
Black Lives Matter
National Bail Fund Network
• The Hogan’s Alley Society

Further, If you decide to join the protests, please consider this guide to protesting safely during COVID-19 and in the age of surveillance.

**CIS would like to thank and acknowledge members of our staff and FNIS alumni, Sarah Siska and Sarah Ann Bednash, for drafting the initial statement and the faculty who added to it.