Statement in support of the Montpelier Descendants Committee

The Executive Committee of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) acknowledges the painful history of slavery that has shaped the landscape of the Southeastern U.S. and the sites and collections with which many of us engage. We recognize the difficult but valuable steps that the Montpelier Foundation has taken over many years to build meaningful and equitable relationships with the Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC). The model of shared governance set forth by the Montpelier Foundation in 2021 sent a powerful message, reasserting the rights of descendants of the people enslaved at Montpelier to determine how to interpret the lives of their ancestors, the places they built, and the material culture they left behind. We affirm these rights and call on the Montpelier Foundation to uphold the original agreement out of respect to the MDC and the broader imperative for restorative justice.