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[2020-08-02 Sun 08:42]

Tags: Native American history, United States, Academics, and reading list.

Read “Land-grab Universities”. Excerpt follows:

Over the past two years, High Country News has located more than 99% of all Morrill Act acres, identified their original Indigenous inhabitants and caretakers, and researched the principal raised from their sale in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We reconstructed approximately 10.7 million acres taken from nearly 250 tribes, bands and communities through over 160 violence-backed land cessions, a legal term for the giving up of territory[…]

“There would be no higher education as we know it in the United States without the original and ongoing colonization of Indigenous peoples and lands, just like there would be no United States,” said Sharon Stein, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. “There is no moment or time or place or institution that is not deeply entangled with the violence of colonialism[…]”

To be sure, land-grant universities have accomplishments to celebrate[…] If it’s hard to deny that the Morrill Act expanded access to higher education, promoted economic development, and improved quality of life, it’s just as hard to believe that it all happened without cost[…]

“There’s a basic, underlying need for settlers in settler colonial states to have these kinds of mythological narratives about the benevolence of their own governments and about the progress that they supposedly brought to this place,” said Sharon Stein. “Having a conversation about the colonial foundations of those nation states really complicates those narratives, and it starts to bring into question our very right to be here and our right to make claims on this place and on the institutions that we are generally so attached to[…]”

In this context, Indigenous people are an inconvenient truth. If you look at the law and the treaties, then you raise an existential question about the United States and its very right to be here. It’s a question most people would rather ignore.