Land Acknowledgments and "Toxic Environments"
Trigger Warning: Satire at the expense of the Woke and inconvenient facts about indigenous American populations contained herein
Just saw this story of a professor being accused by his administration of creating a “toxic environment” by putting a little riposte to the now omnipresent land acknowledgements at the end of his email signature. Here’s the most relevant part:
“On Dec. 8, Reges criticized land acknowledgment statements in an email to faculty and included a modified statement he put in his syllabus: "I acknowledge that by the labor theory of property the Coast Salish people can claim historical ownership of almost none of the land currently occupied by the University of Washington." Reges's statement was a nod to Locke's philosophical theory that property rights are established by improving land.”
All of us who have spent any time on college campuses recently knew where this was headed. From a few obsessively virtue-signaling radical vanguardists doing it to the enthusiastic approval of the DIE office on campus and then of the broader administration, and to gentle encouragement to have your own such statement in your email, and eventually (we’re not quite there yet, but give it a little time) to the requirement that you have one, and according to the approved template.
Professor Reges is obviously a very, very bad person for daring to question this whole process.
I wonder what his administration would think of something a little more pointed, with some anthropological material in place of Reges’ reference to Locke and economic theory (1). Say, something along these lines:
“The souls of the children burned to death on the pyre in the land our college occupies to propitiate native gods are pleased to see me here as evidence of the fact that my culture put a stop to the barbarism that murdered them.”
I am thinking of linking in my own campus emails to this article, which pretty well expresses what I think is actually going on in this affair of land acknowledgements.
(1) Yes, the indigenous group relevant to his campus is not included among the child-sacrificing peoples in the linked report, but I’d wager the point could be made with respect to some other morally awful practice among that people with a little more ethnographic digging—and I note too that the Susquehannock, the indigenous people named in the Bucknell land acknowledgements I see, are among the child-sacrificing cultures, so perhaps I might make use of this myself!