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Stolen Lands and State Universities:  AAUP Podcast

Episode 9 (New, August 3, 2022) In this episode of the podcast we discuss the issue of the massive transfer of wealth from tribal nations who underwrote the founding of land-grant universities and how institutions are beginning to address and contend with difficult questions about their relationship to Indigenous communities. The guests are Stephen M. Gavazzi, a professor of human development and family science in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University, and John N. Low, an enrolled citizen in the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians and the director of the Newark Earthworks Center.

Second Tribal College Journal Article Published

“Let Us Tell the Story of Our Land and Place”: Tribal Leaders on the Seizure and Sale of Territories Benefiting Land-Grant Universities

Volume 33, No. 4 – Summer 2022


In the present article, we turn our attention toward SOSU activities centering on the viewpoints of the leaders of those tribal nations whose land was seized and sold to help found the Ohio State University. What we report on here are the results of the first 12 interviews conducted with the leaders of current tribal nations. Our hope in writing this article is that it will launch a process across all Land-Grant universities whereby we can honor the spirit of a statement made by one of the tribal leaders: “Let us tell the story of our land and place.”

To read the full article please click here.

Article in AAUP

New Article in Academe Magazine (May 2022 issue)

Read the entire article here as written by Steve Gavazzi and John Low.


It is long past time for faculty, staff, and leaders at land-grant universities to step out of their comfort zones and step up to the responsibilities that flow from the immense wealth transfer their institutions received at the expense of Native American tribal nations. The work of redress is centuries overdue. And yet, there may be no time like the present to undertake it. The confluence of a global pandemic and the growing movement for racial justice may make this second decade of the twenty-first century the ideal inflection point for land-grant faculty, staff, students, and alumni to lead our nation’s citizens toward a higher and more honorable path.


Grappling with the Land-Grant Truth Interviews

New Ohio State University INSPIRE Podcast

The latest Ohio State University INSPIRE Podcast was recently released, with interviews featuring Tristan Ahtone, John Low, Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, and Steve Gavazzi.

Name drops included our work with First Nations Development Institute and the scholarship of Robert Lee.

Check it out here.

New Funding Received from InFACT Discovery Theme Grant Program

Linkage and Leverage Funded Project to Focus on Presence of Native Americans in Scholarly Literature

The most recent funding awarded to the Stepping Out & Stepping Up Project comes from the InFACT Linkage and Leverage grant program. The $36,000 award supports an interdisciplinary team of faculty members representing six colleges at Ohio State—Ingrid Adams (Extension/CFAES/Medicine), Jennifer Garner (Public Affairs/Medicine), Steve Gavazzi (EHE), Ayaz Hyder (Public Health), Rick Livingston (Humanities Institute/Arts & Sciences), and Jacquelyn Meshelemiah (Social Work)—who together will focus on the invisibility of Native Americans and their culture in scholarly literature pertaining to food, families, and community life.




12-2PM ET









Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Grant

John N. Low, Director of the Newark Earthworks Center was the recipient of a Traditional Indigenous Knowledge grant awarded through The Ohio State University’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme. Dr. Low recently received official approval to add Dr. Stephen M. Gavazzi as an additional Co-Principal Investigator, expanding the portfolio of the Stepping Out & Stepping Up Native American Justice Project.

Grant-supported activities will include:

  • Visiting Indigenous Artists/Exhibits
  • Visiting Indigenous Authors/Readings
  • Colloquia on Ohio Region/Upper Midwest Native Studies
  • Engagement with The Ohio State University Archives and Libraries


Stepping Out & Stepping Up Project Receives 2 Grants in December 2020

The Stepping Out & Stepping Up Racial Justice Project has been the recipient of two awards in the month of December 2020.

First, our team was one of 10 awardees from the initial round of The Ohio State University’s Seed Fund for Racial JusticeMore information about this grant can be found here. Deliverables from this project will include:

Outcome 1: Leveraging FNDI’s connections with Tribal Nations across the U.S. – who were removed from Ohio or whose land was granted to Ohio State – to facilitate new dialogue between Native peoples and representatives of our university.

Outcome 2: Developing an initial understanding of what specific reparative actions would most benefit the Native American communities impacted by this land dispossession and the process by which it could be jointly designed. Findings from this immediate deliverable will be reported in both scholarly publications and presentations at professional conferences, as well as a workbook for use by other land-grant universities in planning for their own reparation activities.

Outcome 3: Advancing a Land Acknowledgment statement that moves our university away from its current “past tense” and more sentimental recognition of transgressions and toward an indigenous relationship that reminds the Ohio State community about the pervasiveness of colonialism and the opportunity to foster a mindfulness of our present-day obligations, thus establishing a more genuine relationship upon which future interactions can be based.

Outcome 4: Formulating a demonstration/research project at Newark Earthworks regarding indigenous farming practices, with attention to how traditional practices may improve food sovereignty in Native American communities, and the incorporation of indigenous agricultural practices into a new CFAES Sustainable Agriculture major and modern agricultural practices.

Outcome 5: Recommending to Ohio State and the State of Ohio a reconciliation plan with both the people and process required for progress and plan elements that may include, for example: a) providing economic development and technical assistance to tribal families and communities; b) assisting with innovative strategies for land tenure and financing of Native American food system infrastructure; and c) designing a scholarship program for indigenous people whose families and tribal communities have been affected by university-related dispossession.

Second, our team received a Collaborative Centers Grant from Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme. This second award was the result of an emerging partnership with the Ohio State University’s Humanities Institute. Deliverables from this project will include:

Outcome 1: A web-based catalogue of Native American-serving agencies and organizations in Ohio, as well as a more refined understanding of the various constituencies served by these enterprises.

Outcome 2: The web-based presentation of the historical sweep of American Indians in Ohio, including the development of a narrative concerning their adaptation to geographical separation from their tribes and lack of recognition and support from the state of Ohio regarding their existence and needs.

Outcome 3: Creation of an exhibit – curated by NEC Director John N. Low – detailing the ancestral Native peoples of the region and the work of the NEC that will be shown at the LeFevre Gallery on the Newark campus (to be shown virtually if future shutdowns due to Covid-19 are mandated).

Outcome 4: One keynote presentation and one panel discussion that will focus attention on the scholarly work that addresses past and present colonialism within and among land-grant universities. The presentation and panel discussions will be held live (virtually), will involve some of the most prominent voices in this area and will be recorded and placed on the NEC website.