North American-based Medievalists in Solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en
We, a group of medievalists who are primarily settlers living, studying, and working across Turtle Island (North America), write in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, as they work to defend their sovereignty over their unceded territories. We express our support as scholars and students of the medieval world, which has too often been defined in purely Eurocentric, Christian terms, and presented as a stepping stone on the teleological course of Western civilization. As our discipline confronts its colonial origins and continued involvement in nationalist projects that have sought to essentialize race and justify settler colonial violence, including the recent mobilization of medieval tropes in the service of white supremacy, we seek to re-ground our field in a respectful awareness of the layered histories of the land we inhabit, wherever we are situated on Turtle Island. We understand our roles as educators, researchers, and organizers to have specific responsibilities to Indigenous peoples’ efforts to protect their lands, waters, cultures, and peoples.

Under Wet’suwet’en law, authority over the nation’s 22,000 square kilometres of unceded territory lies with hereditary chiefs from five clans in a system of governance that long predates colonization. All five hereditary chiefs reject the construction of the pipeline on their territory. We stand in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs who are protecting their traditional territories from oil and gas development. In the words of Gidimt’en spokesperson Molly Wickham (Sleydo): “We have a right and a responsibility to be protecting our territory, to be protecting our water, to be protecting our future generations.”

This inherent legal right of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs has at last been recognized and affirmed in the Canadian courts. The 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the Delgamuukw case (https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/1569/index.do), in which the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en were among the plaintiffs (along with the Gitxsan), defined the grounds for Aboriginal title in Canada. The ruling affirmed Wet’suwet’en land rights; recognized that Wet’suwet’en land is unceded and that the Hereditary Chiefs are the title holders to Wet’suwet’en traditional territories; and identified the need for colonial law to acknowledge and abide by Indigenous legal orders.

We would also like to remind Canadians that most of the Indigenous peoples of British Columbia possess unceded territory, that is, land that was never given over to the Crown in a treaty. The courts have partially defined the rights of Indigenous peoples on unceded territory, and the actions of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs clearly fall within these definitions. With respect to the protection efforts that have been made in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs, we understand that other Indigenous groups are concerned when they see the rights of the Wet’suwet’en being infringed upon by the Canadian State and corporations. Canada has a long history of favoring the interests of corporations and the Crown over the interests of Indigenous peoples. The urgent project of decolonization requires the return and repatriation of lands to Indigenous communities across the entirety of Turtle Island and includes the clear and explicit acknowledgment of Indigenous sovereignty and self-governance.

We denounce the use of militarized police forces and the arrests of Wet’suwet’en land protectors, including the recent arrest of Unist’ot’en matriarchs (https://thenarwhal.ca/rcmp-exclusion-zone-called-unlawful-as-police-arrest-matriarchs-at-unistoten-healing-camp/) as they held a ceremony honoring their missing and murdered Indigenous sisters.

We urge the Canadian and British Columbia governments to uphold the United Nations’ Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which includes provisions recognizing the right to self-determination, the need to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous nations when desecration in the form of construction, resource extraction, or any other environmental alteration is proposed in their territories, and expressly condemns the forced removal of peoples from their lands and territories. These fundamental rights have at last been recognized by British Columbia, which has passed legislation bringing the UNDRIP into provincial law. We thus assert the need for Canada to respect its international commitments to Indigenous rights.

While recent reports indicate that negotiations are moving forward, we continue to urge the federal and provincial governments to adhere to the demands of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs as stated here (https://unistoten.camp/wetsuweten-hereditary-chiefs-no-access-without-consent/):

• That the province [of British Columbia] cease construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project and suspend permits.

• That the UNDRIP and our [Wet’suwet’en Nation’s] right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected by the state and RCMP.

• That the RCMP and associated security and policing services be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands, in agreement with the most recent letter provided by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s (CERD) request.

• That the provincial and federal government, RCMP and private industry employed by CGL respect our laws and our governance system, and refrain from using any force to access our lands or remove our people.

Signed by:

Suzanne Conklin Akbari, professor, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ, USA), located on Lenapehoking, the territory of the Lunaape nations (Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape Tribal Nation; Powhatan Renape Nation; Ramapough Lenape Nation).

Adam Miyashiro, associate professor, Stockton University (Galloway, NJ), Lenapehoking

Leila K. Norako, assistant professor, University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA), located on the unceded lands of the Dxʷdəwʔabš.

Wallace Cleaves, associate professor of teaching, University of California at Riverside (Riverside, CA, USA), located on lands shared by the Tongva, Cahuilla, Serrano, and Luiseño.

Mark Sundaram, faculty, Thorneloe University at Laurentian on the traditional lands of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek governed by the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850

Bryan C. Keene, adjunct professor, Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA, USA), located on Tovangar, the territory of the Tongva, and on Humaliwu, the territory of the Chumash.

Nicole Guenther Discenza, professor, University of South Florida, on Tocobaga and Seminole lands

Luke Fidler, PhD Candidate at University of Chicago (Chicago, IL, USA), located on the traditional homelands of the Council of the Three Fires (the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations) as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations.

Chris Halsted, PhD candidate, University of Virginia, on Monacan and Manahoac land

Eduardo Ramos, graduate student, Penn State, located on the land of the Susquehannock

John A. Geck, Assistant Professor of English, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the ancestral homelands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk, and Labrador, the homeland of the Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut and the Innu of Nitassinan, and their ancestors.

Kelsey Moskal, PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia, on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm

William Biel, PhD candidate, University of Connecticut, located on Nipmuck and Mohegan lands

Robert W. Barrett, Jr., associate professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located on on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Peankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations

Sarah-Nelle Jackson, PhD candidate, University of British Columbia, on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam)

Sarah Star, Visiting Assistant Professor, Kenyon College (Gambier, OH), Hopewell

Jacqueline Jung, Associate Professor, Yale University (New Haven, CT) on the land of the Quinnipiac and other Algonquin speaking peoples

Juliet O’Brien, lecturer, University of British Columbia (Vancouver); on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people

Lochin Brouillard, PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, located on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat peoples.

Mary Rambaran-Olm, Academic Researcher; Future campus (U of Toronto/Mississauga) is situated on Huron, Anishinabewaki, Attiwonderonk, & Haudenosaunee territories.

Dorothy Kim, Assistant Professor of English, Brandeis University, on the traditional, unceded land of the Massa-adchu-es-et (Massachusetts)

Lauren Nofi, community archaeologist but presently an educator for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History on the traditional lands of the Wazhazhe and later Haudenosaunee. A Taíno raised on the ancestral lands of the Lenni Lenape.

Megan Cook, Associate Professor (Colby College), on Abenaki land

Karl Whittington, Associate Professor, History of Art, The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio) on the lands of the Miami and Hopewell

Dr Helen Young, Lecturer, Deakin University on the unceded sovereign country of the Kulin nations

Micah Goodrich, PhD candidate, University of Connecticut, located on Mohegan and Nipmuck lands

David Wilton, visitor, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ, USA), located on Lenapehoking, the territory of the Lunaape nations (Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape Tribal Nation; Powhatan Renape Nation; Ramapough Lenape Nation).

Dr. M. Breann Leake, Lecturer, University of Connecticut, located on Mohegan and Nipmuck lands

Jonathan Hsy, Associate Professor (George Washington University), on ancestral lands of the Anacostans (Nacotchtank) and over time the Piscataway and Pamunkey peoples

Adam Bishop, independent scholar in London, Ontario, on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak aand Attawandaron peoples

Vivian Mills, PhD student, University of Washington located on Coastal Salish and Duwamish lands.

Eileen Morgan, graduate student, University of Notre Dame, located on the ancestral lands of the Peoria, Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi), and Miami peoples

Mary Baine Campbell, Professor Emerita, Brandeis University on Quinobequin lands

Sierra Lomuto, Macalester College, on Dakota land (Sisseton and Wahpeton)

Jeannie Sargent Judge, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Jessica Lockhart, research associate, University of Toronto, located on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat peoples.

Shamma Boyarin, Assistant Professor University of Victoria, unceded territory of the Lkwungen peoples and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations.

Michael Evans, Instructor, Delta College, located on Anishinaabe land. Resident on the Isabella Reservation of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe.

Heather Blatt, Associate Professor, FIU, on the ancestral lands of the Tequesta, and, over time, Seminole peoples.

Erin McGuire, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, on the traditional territory of Lekwungen peoples and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to the present.

Alexandra Garner, Ph.D Candidate at the University of Oregon, located on the Kalapuya Ilihi, the traditional homelands and political territories of the Kalapuya People, the First Peoples of the Willamette Valley, whose descendants are now citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Eric Weiskott, Associate Professor, Boston College, on the unceded territory of the Massa-adchu-es-et (Massachusett)

Meg Hyland, independent researcher, Scotland (but grew up in Menominee and Ho-Chunk territories)

Una Creedon-Carey, PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, located on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat peoples.

Joanne Findon, Professor, Trent University, located on the treaty and traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg.

Stephen Yeager, Associate Professor at Concordia University, located on the unceded territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka.

Jillian Kern, PhD Student, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, on Eno, Shakori, and Occaneechi land.

Mary Dockray-Miller, Professor of English at Lesley University in the traditional territory of the Massachusett people

Laura Moncion, PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, located in Tkaronto on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit River, the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, Turtle Island.

Lisa Cruikshank, PhD student at the University of Toronto, located on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.

Karl Steel, Associate Professor of English, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, Lenapehoking

Thomas Lecaque, Assistant Professor of History at Grand View University, located in Des Moines on the traditional territory of the Meskwaki and Sauk peoples.

Barry Torch, PhD Candidate, York University, located in Toronto, on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Anishnabeg, the Wendat, and the Haudenosaunee peoples, on Dish with One Spoon Territory.

Emily Price, PhD Student, The CUNY Graduate Center, located on the unceded land of the Lenape people.

Winston Black, independent scholar, online lecturer for Idaho State University, living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq.

J. Eric Ensley, PhD Candidate, Yale University

Kevin Caliendo, English Professor, Rose State College

J. D. Sargan, postdoctoral research fellow, University of Toronto, Tkaronto on the land of the Mississaugas of the Credit River, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat peoples.

Arielle McKee, Assistant Professor, Gardner-Webb University, located on the traditional land of the Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East) and Catawba peoples.

Caitlin Postal, PhD candidate, University of Washington, on the lands of the Coast Salish Peoples and the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations

Eleanor Janega, Guest Teacher, the London School of Economics, United Kingdom

Courtney E. Rydel, Associate Professor of English, Washington College, situated on the ancestral lands of the Wicomiss/Ozines

Paul G. Remley, Professor, Department of English, University of Washington, lands of the Dxʷdəwʔabš -- the Coast Salish Peoples -- the Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations, with visitations and mentoring by my Lakota intercessors

Emily J. Hutchison, Associate Professor, Mount Royal University (Calgary), located in the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi and the people of the Treaty 7 region in southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut'ina and the Iyarhe Nakoda.

Sarah Luginbill, PhD Candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder, territory of the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Ute nations

Andrew Klein, Assistant Professor, St Thomas University, Canada, on the unceded territory of the Wəlastəkewiyik / Maliseet

Donna Trembinski, Associate Professor of History, St. Francis Xavier University, in Mi'kma'ki, the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq peoples.

Jack Wiegand/Twosmokes of the Chickasaw Nation, graduate student at the University of Toronto's Centre for Medieval Studies, located on the unceded territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat, and others.

Julie Orlemanski, faculty, University of Chicago, on traditional homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations

Sian Echard, Professor, University of British Columbia, located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.

Sarah Keeshan, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto, on the traditional land of the Anishinabewaki, Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee peoples

Louise D'Arcens, Professor of English, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia, located on the unceded sovereign lands of the Wattamattagal clan of the Darug nation.

Shirin Khanmohamadi, Associate Professor, SFSU, Ramaytush and Ohlone

David Lawton, professor, Washington University in St Louis, on the homelands of the Illini, Osage and Missouria Nations.

Robert Sweetman, professor, history of philosophy, Institute for Christian Studies (Toronto), Mississauga of the Credit

Ruth Nisse, Professor, Wesleyan University, on the territory of the Wangunk people

Peter Jones, PhD student, University of British Columbia, on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam)

Olivia Ernst, PhD student at UW-Madison, located in Dejope, the ancestral land of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Joseph Derosier, Visiting Assistant Professor of French, Beloit College, ancestral territories of the sovereign
Sac and Fox, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi Nations.

Valerie M. Wilhite, profesora catedratica, Universidad del Quindío, on the land of the Quimbaya and the Embera

Brantley L. Bryant, Professor, Sonoma State University, on the land of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo

Thomas Greene, Assistant Professor of History, UNG, on ancestral Cherokee land

Catherine Albers-Morris, PhD Student, University of Connecticut, located on Mohegan and Nipmuck lands

Brandon W. Hawk, Assistant Professor of English, Rhode Island College, located on Narragansett and Wampanoag land.

Mark Meyerson, Professor, Dept of History and Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, located on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit River, the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples

Walid A. Saleh, Faculty, University of Toronto

David Townsend, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto on the traditional territory of the Huron Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Mississaugas of the Credit First nation

Anna McGill, PhD Student and Graduate Worker at Louisiana State University, located on the lands of the Bayougoula (of the Choctaw Nation)

Jennifer Jordan, grad student

Kelli Conley, PhD Student and Tutor, University of Edinburgh

David Perry, PhD, advisor at the University of Minnesota, located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. The University resides on Dakota land ceded in the Treaties of 1837 and 1851.

Tarren Andrews, graduate student and inclusive excellence fellow, at the university of Colorado Boulder, which occupies lands whose original and rightful stewards include the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Ute Nations.

Sara McDougall, Associate Professor, John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center, Lenapehoking.

Steve Commichau, PhD candidate, University of British Columbia, on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam)

Cory James Rushton, faculty, St Francis Xavier, unceded Mi'kmaq territory

Alexandra Gillespie, Professor and Chair, University of Toronto Mississauga, part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.

Molly Martin, Professor and Chair of English, University of Indianapolis, on the traditional and ancestral lands of the Miami, Potawatomi, and Shawnee people

Arvind Thomas (Assistant-Professor, UCLA)

Jeremy DeAngelo, adjunct professor, North Central University, Dakota and Ojibwe territory

Anna Waymack, PhD candidate, Cornell, on the traditional homelands of the Cayuga Nation (of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy)

Melissa Heide (Cherokee and Comanche), PhD candidate, University of Texas-Austin, Tonkawa, Comanche, and Lipan Apache territories.

Karen M. Cook, associate professor, University of Hartford, on the lands of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett and Nipmuc peoples

Leah Parker, Assistant Professor, University of Southern Mississippi on the lands of the Choctaw

Kathryn Laity, Associate Professor of English, College of Saint Rose on Mohegan and Haudenosaunee lands

Maxwell Gray, PhD/MLIS student, English and the iSchool, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Teejop (Ho-Chunk)

Kirsty Day, Postdoctoral Fellow, Aalborg University (Denmark)

Meghan Mattsson McGinnis, field archaeologist, University of Stavanger

Sarah Baechle, Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi on the lands of the Chickasaw

Jennifer A. Lorden, Assistant Professor, William & Mary, on Tsenacommacah, land of the Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and other peoples of the Powhatan Confederacy

Michelle Warren, Professor of Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College, on the lands of the Abenaki

Eileen McKiernan González, Associate Professor of Art History, Berea College, on the traditional homeland of the Tsalaguwetiyi, Shawnee, and Adena

Coral Lumbley, Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow, New York University, on Lenapehoking, the lands of the Lenape

Suzanne Valentine, PhD candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Peankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations

Janine Larmon Peterson, Associate Professor of History, Marist College, on the lands of the Lenape, Mohican, and Wappinger peoples

Tyler Sergent, Associate Professor, Berea College, on the land of the Cherokee.

Elizabeth Matresse, PhD Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located on on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Peankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations

Anna Klosowska, Professor, Dept of French and Italian, Miami University. Miami University is located within the traditional homelands of the Myaamia and Shawnee people, whose name the university carries, and who were forcibly removed from these homelands in 1846.

Erik Wade, Researcher, Universität Bonn, Germany

Danielle Cudmore, Lecturer in English, Halmstad University in Halmstad, Sweden; Ph.D. Cornell University, traditional homelands of the Cayuga Nation

Crystal Beamer, PhD Candidate, McMaster University, located within the traditional territories of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee nations, and within the lands protected by the “Dish with One Spoon” wampum agreement.

Elizabeth S. Bolman, Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts, Chair, Department of Art History and Art. Residing on First Nation land of the Lenape (Delaware), Shawnee, Wyandot
Miami, Ottawa, Potawatomi, and other Great Lakes tribes (Chippewa, Kickapoo, Wea, Pinakahsw, and Kaskaskia). I also acknowledge the thousands of Native Americans who now call Northeast Ohio home.

Evan A. Gatti, Associate Professor, Elon University

Mary Catherine Davidson, Associate Professor, Glendon College, York University

Erik Gustafson, Adjunct Professor, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University, located on Manahoac and Powhatan land.

Jamie Keener, graduate student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Peankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations

Benjamin C. Tilghman, Assistant Professor, Washington College, located within the traditional territories of the Piscataway and Nanticoke Nations

The Advocacy Committee of the International Center of Medieval Art (various locations across Turtle Island; ICMA office located on Lenape and Wappinger lands)

Isabelle Cochelin, Associate Professor, Centre for Medieval Studies and Department of History, University of Toronto, located on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat peoples

Jill Ross, Associate Professor, Director, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto, located on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit River, the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples

Kyle Smith, Ph.D. student, University of Wisconsin-Madison, occupying Teejop, the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Emily Mahan, PhD Candidate, University of Notre Dame, on Peoria, Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi) and Miami land

Martin Foys, Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, on the territory of the Ho-Chunk Nation called Teejop, forcibly ceded to the United States government in 1832.

Tristan Mueller-Vollmer, PhD Candidate in Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Alex Fairbanks-Ukropen, Grad student, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Dejope (Ho-Chunk)

Agnieszka Szymańska, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Richmond

Christopher Liebtag Miller, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Notre Dame, Lands of the Haudenosauneega, Miami, Peoria, and Pokégnek Bodéwadmik / Pokagon Potawatomi.

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