Society of Ethnobiology Statement on the Foreign Entry Executive Order
The Society of Ethnobiology (SoE) supports the freedom of all of the world’s people to travel both domestically and internationally. SoE is a 40-year-old, 500-member scholarly organization based in North America that expresses a wholehearted welcome to immigrants and refugees from near and far. The SoE network extends out from North America to the many locations around the world where our researchers conduct fieldwork and to the many communities with whom we collaborate. We care deeply about the wellbeing of those places and people.
Ethnobiology is most robust when in-person and remote collaboration have no obstacles. The theories and methods of our discipline require us to build and maintain relationships with our collaborators in North America and abroad. We work with Indigenous and immigrant communities, rural and urban dwellers, refugee and displaced groups, and many other types of communities. The SoE network itself thrives when our members can maximally perform their scholarship and engage in advocacy for culturally-specific knowledge about and interactions within multispecies communities.
We believe potential damage may occur to the global ethnobiological network from the 90-day ban on citizens from seven nations entering the U.S.; the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program; the long-term ban on Syrian refugees entering the U.S.; the 120-day ban on all refugees entering the U.S.; and the 50,000-person cap on refugees for 2017. SoE believes the ban on refugees and foreign nationals from majority Muslim nations exhibits disregard for the fundamental need for inter-cultural understanding, and demonstrates ignorance of the prolific scholarship about culture and nature generated by our own members and by a multitude of scholars across the planet.
The Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry” signed on January 27, 2017 goes against ethical principles related to mutual understanding and engagement among diverse peoples. The Society of Ethnobiology therefore states its opposition to the discriminatory Executive Order selectively banning refugees and immigrants from traveling into the United States.