Effective allyship is about prioritizing marginalized voices, not speaking over them
Dear Queen’s students,
This morning, The Queen’s Journal published an article titled “ASUS petitions for Indigenous land recognition on Queen’s sign” featuring Laura Anderson, the ASUS Equity Commissioner. The article primarily centralized Anderson’s voice as an ally to Indigenous populations. It failed to focus the voices and experiences of Indigenous students, particularly the Indigenous students who are and have spearheaded and been heavily involved in decolonizing projects such as this one.
The Social Issues Commission has a mandate to advocate for marginalized voices at Queen’s. Our commitment includes the decolonization and reconciliation of the colonial pasts of institutions like the AMS and Queen’s. It includes the promotion and recognition of the historical colonization of Indigenous communities and identities.
After speaking and consulting with Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and with support from the Executive, the Social Issues Commission recognizes that effective allyship is not about centralizing non-Indigenous voices in the work of Indigenous advocacy. Allyship is about action and leveraging one’s privilege to provide marginalized people the avenues and platforms to enunciate their own voices and experiences. The manner with which this article centralized the voices of allies rather than the Indigenous students and advocates behind reconciliation projects is not the kind of allyship that the AMS represents or condones.
In our efforts toward Indigenous advocacy and reconciliation, the Social Issues Commission and the AMS will continue to do this work by prioritizing and centralizing Indigenous voices and not speaking over or for them.
AMS Social Issues Commissioner