We begin with the recognition that Michigan State University exists on Anishinaabe land.
We honor all who came before, all who are here now, and all who will continue.
We are Black professors in the African American and African Studies Program at Michigan State University who stand in solidarity with Standing Rock. We stand in solidarity with the thousands of Indigenous peoples protecting their lands and waters at Standing Rock, North Dakota, and everywhere. We believe, as Black Lives Matter Minneaopolis organizer, Miski Noor, said from Standing Rock last week in an interview, that
"The history of genocide and stolen land and stolen labor in America will forever link Black folks and Indigenous folks (and let us be clear that the two are not mutually exclusive), as there can be no Black liberation without Indigenous sovereignty."
Our understanding of this fundamental link between struggles for justice in our communities is informed by our long-term, community engaged scholarship in History, Creative Writing, Film, Philosophy, Education, English, Law, Black Studies, Writing and Rhetoric, and many other fields.
Our understanding is also rooted in the coalitional and intersectional efforts of students, college and university employees, and other community members (most notably, at San Francisco State, Laney College, and San Jose State) that fought for Black Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latinx and Chicanx Studies, and Asian Pacific Islander Studies, efforts that continue today across college and university campuses. Ethnic Studies, the spaces in colleges and universities that have the potential to center our knowledges and to contribute to our struggles for justice, then, are fundamentally part of this unending link between Black, Indigenous, and other people and communities of color in the settler colonial nation state most commonly referred to as the United States.
We stand in solidarity with all Protectors, near and far, including those here in the Great Lakes region, whose daily and nightly prayers, witnessing, and steady resistance are responsible for present and future victories. We stand in solidarity and love, now and always, with Standing Rock and all struggles for Indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation.
Glenn A. Chambers, History & Director of AAAS
Rae Paris, English/Creative Writing & AAAS
Django Paris, Teacher Education & AAAS
Kristie Dotson, Philosophy & AAAS
Terry Flennaugh, Teacher Education & AAAS
Terah Venzant Chambers, Educational Administration & AAAS
April Baker-Bell, Writing, Rhetoric, & American Cultures & AAAS
Jualynne Dodson, Sociology & AAAS
Theodore S. Ransaw, Residential College Arts and Humanities & AAAS
Denise Troutman, Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures & Linguistics & AAAS
Folu Ogundimu, Journalism & AAAS
Nwando Achebe, History & AAAS
Yomaira Figueroa, English and AAAS
Geneva Smitherman, English & AAAS
Chezare A. Warren, Teacher Education & AAAS
Christa J. Porter, Higher, Adult, and, Lifelong Education & AAAS
Dorinda Carter Andrews, Teacher Education & AAAS
*We thank Dylan Miner, Director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at MSU, and Kyle Powys Whyte, Timnick Chair in the Humanities at MSU, for their necessary insights as we crafted this letter.