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Issues and Intersections Related to Indigenous Peoples and Universities
Explore topics that reflect on observed issues and areas of intersection related to Indigenous Peoples.
This page is broken into the following categories:
Research Ethics with Native American and Indigenous Peoples
“Anthropologists and Other Friends,” in Custer Died for Your Sins by
One of the most famous books of Native American Studies, written by the most famous Native scholar and activist of the twentieth century. In this chapter, Deloria argues that Native people should cease cooperating with anthropologists, who, in his view, exploit Native Americans to further their own careers, displaying little or no enduring concern for Native life. This chapter is an important read for anyone working with Native communities to be critically reflexive on who is benefiting from the work and how relevant the project is outside of academia.
Mohawk Interruptus by
Kahnawà:ke Mohawk scholar Audra Simpson argues for an ethic of ethnographic refusal, the act of allowing Indigenous communities to determine which information is shared, written about, and published, not only or even primarily due to the centrality of esoteric or sacred knowledge. But because Indigenous people have experienced dispossession, containment, and genocide all the while being written about for scholarly gain. She argues scholars should continue to teach and write with full cognizance of the realities of settler colonialism and be reflexive to the needs and desires of the community. Not only because it is simply “the right thing to do,” but also because the study of Native American and Indigenous religions would be incomplete and inaccurate without recognition of the historical and contemporary tensions Native religious participants must negotiate. This includes a scholarly decision to “leave out” material that will protect the concerns of the community, acknowledging the role academia has played in the settler project.
Decolonizing Methodologies by
Maori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith presents a thorough consideration of how “research” has become a dirty word for Indigenous peoples across the globe due to the exploitative practices of anthropologists and other scholars. She explores the intersections of imperialism and research - specifically, the ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and tradition as “regimes of truth.” Concepts such as “discovery” and “claiming” are discussed and an argument presented that the decolonization of research methods will help to reclaim control over Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Students and faculty members working with Native communities should work to build long-term relationships, learn Native languages, and critically reflect on whose story is being told, and to what end. This includes being open to theories and methods emerging from outside of academia and in particular from within Indigenous communities themselves.
Afro-Indigenous Interactions and Communities
Land Acknowledgements & “Land-Grab Universities Project”
Western Carolina University Land Acknowledgment
WCU “is the only public university established on the site of a named Cherokee town and a traditional sacred place.”
Native Governance Center
Native Governance Center is an organization led by and for Native people, based in the area now known as Minnesota. After hosting an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement event in October 2019, the group created a guide based on the presentations by panelists.
Resources for “Moving Beyond Land Acknowledgements and Token Representations" by Adrienne Keene
Dr. Adrienne Keene, a Cherokee scholar, produced this webinar in Fall 2021 and provided this list of Indigenous resources and media. It emphasized the need for institutions to learn from Native people and to use resources for their benefit, and it further stressed that institutions cannot know how to do this without building relationships with Native individuals and communities.
Eddie Ganaway Diversity Resource Center, “How to Prepare a Land and Labor Acknowledgement,” College of Charleston’s Office of Institutional Diversity
The Ganaway Diversity Resource Center would like to see more examples of acknowledgements prepared for C of C events or organizations. If you’ve prepared one and would like to share it with the Center, please submit using this link.
Land-Grab Universities Project
This unique database was created through extensive reporting and research into primary source materials, including land patent records, congressional documents, historical bulletins, historical maps, archival and print resources at the National Archives, state repositories and special collections at universities and more.
"The Future of Land-Grab Universities" by Meredith McCoy, Roopika Risam, and Jennifer Guiliano
“The Land-Grab Universities Project,” or LGU, identifies nearly all tracts covered under the Morrill Land Grant Acts.” The project has “connected Indigenous nations with their tracts and calculated the financial benefits land-grant institutions reaped from sales of these lands.
Native Land Digital
A Canadian-based project that “strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as [a] map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide.” Use the digital map as a first step toward understanding territories, languages, and treaties of Indigenous peoples across the world.
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