Unearthing Indigenous Land Dispossession in the Founding of the University of California

Register for Part 1: Unearting Indigenous Land Dispossession in the Founding of the University of California

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A Legacy of Profit from Indigenous Land 

Wide-scale U.S. higher education began in 1862 when the Morrill Act provided each state with “public” lands to sell for the establishment of university endowments. The public land-grant university movement is lauded as the first major federal funding for higher education and for making liberal and practical education accessible to Americans of average means. However hidden beneath the oft-told land-grant narrative is the land itself: the nearly 11 million acres of land sold through the Morrill Act was expropriated from tribal nations. This two-part forum examines the 150,000 acres of Indigenous land that funded the University of California is intricately tied to California’s unique history of Native dispossession and genocide, and how UC continues to benefit from this wealth accumulation today. We will then explore current university initiatives with tribes and engage in a community dialogue on actions the University of California can take to address their responsibility to California Indigenous communities.

Part 1: Unearthing Indigenous Land Dispossession in the Founding of the University of California 

Friday, September 25, 9am – 12:00pm

Preliminary Schedule
Moderator: Phenocia Bauerle(link is external) (Apsaálooke) Director, Native American Student Development, UC Berkeley

Land-Grab Universities and the Morrill Act
  • Robert Lee, University Lecturer in American History, University of Cambridge
  • Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa), Editor-in-Chief, Texas Observer
The University of California as a Land-Grab Institution

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Sponsored by:

UC Berkeley Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement

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