SAA Calls on Archaeologists to Confront Racial Injustice

Jun 02, 2020

Archaeology is not just about the past. Archaeologists use the past to contextualize and understand the present. We regularly engage with communities whose histories have been marginalized, and many of our members belong to those communities themselves. As we mourn George Floyd and the many other lives lost to systematic racism and injustice, archaeologists must continue to examine the imbalances of power in society that lead to racial violence. We believe that proper, contextual understanding of power is necessary to overcome and heal from the problems we face today.

The challenges of the present call for scholars of history and culture to address the impact of structural inequalities then and now. Our community has the ability and responsibility to promote actively anti-racist practices. We have the obligation to support each other now in grief, elevate the voices of black and brown scholars and communities within our field, and to work toward meaningful changes in our rhetoric, education, policing, and representation.

As a society of more than 6,000 members of all walks of life and worldwide geographical representation, we ask that everyone stop, listen, and evaluate how we can each contribute to breaking down inequality. The voices of communities of color are essential to the future of our field, our nation, and our world.