From the Editors

By Wim Laven

This issue of the Peace Chronicle magazine takes a deep dive into timely questions and topics under the theme: decolonization. It is the editorial team’s commitment to pursue and reflect PJSA’s vision of peace and justice for Indigenous communities, especially in reflection of our time together at the conference “Local Alignments, Global Upheavals” in Winnipeg last year. We endeavor to honor both our membership and the land upon which we reside. In appreciation to those who lived and worked in our geographies before us, these acknowledgements are important.

The stewardship and resilient spirit of those preceding me have made my residence on this traditional homeland of the Lenape (Delaware), Shawnee, Wyandot Miami, Ottawa, Potawatomi, and other Great Lakes tribes (Chippewa, Kickapoo, Wea, Piankishaw, and Kaskaskia) possible. I acknowledge the thousands of Native Americans who call Northeast Ohio home. I reside on land officially ceded by 1100 chiefs and warriors signing the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.

The ethical acknowledgement of the past and its influence on and into the present and future have been revisited with each issue. Here we make it the central task. In this issue decolonization is defined and examined for different purposes, contexts, and locations through a diverse collection of expert voices—expertise representing birth, lived experience, and rigorous scholarship. This reassessment is sometimes a condemnation of exploitation and inhumane treatment, but it is also frequently an opportunity for dynamic problem solving and imagining new ways of thinking about Indigenous jurisdiction and the safety and security of the rights and personhood of vulnerable populations in the wake of colonial genocide.

When we selected the theme, there was no anticipating the timeliness of the discussion. In recent months we have all witnessed the colonized impacts of the global pandemic of the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. Centuries of disparity, inequality, and injustice resonate, agitate, and culminate in unequal suffering. Doctors Without Borders, for example, deployed to treat the Navajo Nation this spring after insufferable and ongoing failure by the U.S. government to provide public health services to so many marginalized populations. We could have predicted a continuation of police brutality and race based violence—both with direct connections to the colonization of bodies and places—but we could not have predicted the ongoing protests declaring that Black Lives Matter following the murder of George Floyd while in police custody. Hopefully positive social change will be catalyzed in this moment and by this movement.

The literal colonization of bodies has returned to larger public debates, surfacing as part of the discussion of the racist history of the U.S. and the linkages between past dehumanization and violence and present dehumanization and violence. Caroline Randall Williams recently made this colonization of bodies personally and pointed clear in expressing “I have rape-colored skin. […] If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, […] my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.” Williams is the great-great-granddaughter of the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan Edmond Pettus, whose name is on the Selma Bridge, and, as the current debate goes, many believe John Lewis’ name would fit better on the bridge, where he was almost killed marching for civil rights.

Our pieces cover a range of themes and locations for thinking about how we can decolonize the world, our research, and our classrooms. Kelli Te Maihāroa presents Indigenous ways of knowing and being as a mechanism for decolonizing Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies. Michael Loadenthal examines the project of decolonization with the question: Why Miami University is Not in Florida? Polly Walker argues that settler responsibility is necessary for decolonizing peace studies.  Pushpa Iyer cautions against colonizing decolonization. Emily Welty looks at decolonizing her sabbatical as well as decolonizing quarantine.

Our understandings of colonization and decolonization and our ways of knowing are connected to our (sometimes shared) history and politics of race and Indigeneity. Rafael Vizcaíno presents praxis beyond metaphors. Delores (Lola) Mondragon outlines the making of a veteran Women’s Indigenous healing circle. Laura Finley looks at intersections between COVID-19, colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples. Shirley Ley offer guidance on supporting people of color in predominantly white workspaces. Emily Grace Brolaski provides compelling narrative on her grandmother, Dr. Inés Maria Talamantez a founder of the study of Native American religious traditions. “Let Go of Power” is our featured interview with Richard Jackson, the Director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand, who addresses challenges and successes he has observed in efforts to decolonize.

Great thanks and appreciation are extended to our contributors. Writing at a high level, as all our authors have, is not a blessing we take lightly during these challenging times. The sometimes thankless behind-the-scenes work truly makes this magazine possible. I would especially like to thank Emma Lovejoy, who has worked tirelessly to make sure the magazine looks as good as it reads, and to recognize the extra effort required for this issue—and Shatha Almutawa our editor-in-chief. Shatha has done an excellent job of managing the robust transition from newsletter to magazine. We wish her the best as she continues on, thank her for her dedicated service, and hope we are able to keep up with the standard she has set. Shatha, we look forward to your submissions in future issues.

Our next issue is on: Healing. A timely topic, which we hope will continue discussions into healing from ongoing polarization and responding to violence, suffering, and trauma, which have emerged in our issues on Hate, Dignity, and Decolonization. Please consider a 1,000-1,500-word submission that can help us think about what it means to heal. You are welcome to consider ongoing topics: political antagonisms, physical and mental health (especially during pandemics), healthy ecosystems, hatred, trauma, inequity and injustice or anything else you find worthwhile and would like to share with the membership. Please look forward to the next issue and a full lineup of great presentations at our online conference coming this fall.


Wim Laven, Ph.D, instructor of peace studies, political science, and conflict resolution, focuses his research on forgiveness and reconciliation, which he relates to his wide range of work and research experiences. His experience in the field spans 4 continents and include many processes from mediating disputes in small claims court to interventions during complex humanitarian disasters. He is on the executive boards of the International Peace Research Association and the Peace and Justice Studies Association.