Entangled Pasts: Land-Grant Colleges and American Indian Dispossession

margaret nash

Dr. Margaret A. Nash, University of California-Riverside

Free Public Lecture
ALI Auditorium
Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences
Thursday, March 12, 2020
7-9 p.m.

Land grant colleges—including the University of Montana—are lauded for opening up access to higher education to more people, and have been referred to as “the people’s colleges.” Land grant colleges were created in the mid-19th century by the federal government selling off public land and allowing states to use that money to create colleges. But where did that “public” land come from? How did the U.S. government have claim to that land? This presentation argues that, as great as land grant colleges are, they also must be seen as part of the process of Western migration of (mostly) whites, and the appropriation of land from Native peoples, and can be seen as a central element of settler colonialism. Indian dispossession was not a mere unfortunate byproduct of the establishment of land grant colleges; rather, the colleges exist only because of a state-sponsored system of Native American dispossession.

Dr. Nash’s presentation is made possible by funding from the Faculty Professional Enhancement Program and is co-sponsored by the Davidson Honors College, the History Department, the Humanities Institute, the Native American Studies Department, the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.