The release of the Land-Grab Universities Report in March 2020 has been accompanied by mounting calls to bring justice in response to the harm visited upon Native Americans during the establishment of States and Land-Grant Universities.
There are no federally recognized Tribal Nations in Ohio today, as most of Ohio’s First Peoples were forcibly exiled from Ohio and imprisoned, interned and/or resettled during the founding of the State of Ohio. Furthermore, the many people of Native American descent in Ohio are not necessarily members of any Tribal Nations indigenous to Ohio. However, detailed records demonstrate that a significant amount of land wrongly acquired, at times under force, from tribal nations located outside of Ohio were sold to fund The Ohio State University’s land grant.
Our initial challenge – and that of our university and our state – is two-fold. First, to join with the descendants of these affected Tribal Nations and to learn from them their understanding of this history and its multigenerational legacy of compounding injustice and disparities. Second, to advocate alongside these Tribal Nations and communities to repair the harm caused by these historical land dispossessions – including social and economic restitution.
Our longer-term challenge is to influence — and be influenced by — the truth and reconciliation process across all land-grant universities.