Land and Slavery Acknowledgements

Statement of Land Acknowledgement

The 35th International Conference on Medievalism would like to recognize and acknowledge the indigenous people of the Tsenacommacah land, on which Old Dominion University is located: the Powhatan Confederacy, Chickahominy, Pamunkey, and ​Nansemond ​peoples. While a land acknowledgment is not enough, it is an important social justice and decolonial practice that promotes indigenous visibility and a reminder that we are on settled indigenous land. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory we reside on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long standing history that has brought us to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation.

Statement of Slavery Acknowledgement

We are also cognizant that we cannot separate the history of our university or our community from the history of colonialism and slavery in the United States. Four hundred years ago, the first enslaved Africans were brought to Point Comfort—just sixteen miles from Old Dominion University. We acknowledge the legacy of slavery in this area, and the blood, sweat, and tears of enslaved people that soak the earth beneath our feet in Hampton Roads, Virginia. This legacy persists today as we continue to work towards racial justice, equity, liberation, and community, here in Norfolk, Virginia.

The conference organizing committee is grateful to Rush Osorio, Assistant Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Old Dominion University, for providing us with the language for these statements and for her advice on issues of inclusivity surrounding the conference.