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.


Responding to the Call For Action on Racial Justice

In partnership with First Nations Development Institute (FNDI) – the largest Native-controlled economic justice organization in the country that provides economic development assistance, research and advocacy for Native American reservations and tribal communities – our team seeks to address two forms of injustice — 1) the forced exile of Native Americans during the establishment of the State of Ohio; and 2) the dispossession of tribal lands by the U.S. government to fund the establishment of The Ohio State University — actions that have contributed to intergenerational disadvantage and well-established economic, educational, and health disparities of Native American peoples.

Our Team:

Stephen M. Gavazzi, OSU Professor, Human Sciences, serves as the PI and as such will provide overall leadership for the project, as well as heading up the data analyses and scholarship development efforts.

Michael Roberts, President and CEO of First Nations Development Institute, will serve as the primary contact to tribal leaders, will supervise the data collection by FNDI staff members, and will co-lead the reparations planning process.

Marti Chaatsmith, Associate Director of the OSU Newark Earthworks Center (NEC), is the Co-I who will supervise the project manager and will co-lead planning of the NEC demonstration research project.

Casey Hoy, OSU Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystem Management, OSU Professor of Entomology, and Faculty Director of InFACT, is the Co-I who will co-lead planning of the NEC demonstration/research project.

John Low, OSU Associate Professor of Comparative Studies and Director of the Newark Earthworks Center, is the Co-I who will lead the formation of the land acknowledgement statement and will co-lead the planning of the demonstration/research project at Newark Earthworks.

Brian Snyder, Executive Director of InFACT, is the Co-I who will co-lead the planning of the NEC demonstration research project and assist with the outreach and partnership development with FNDI and other potential national partners in the future.

We will partner with the FNDI to cultivate connections with Tribal Nations across the U.S. who experienced these two forms of injustice to facilitate a restorative dialogue between Native peoples and our project team members. Our ultimate goals are:

(1) a shared understanding of these injustices;

(2) a co-created plan of specific reparative actions to benefit the Native American communities impacted by this land dispossession;


(3) a shared process to enact the plan.