UC Land Grab

The University of California Land Grab

hand drawing of hills the sky and stars

A Legacy of Profit from Indigenous Land 

Wide-scale U.S. higher education began in 1862 when the Morrill Act provided each state with “public” lands to sell for the establishment of university endowments. The public land-grant university movement is lauded as the first major federal funding for higher education and for making liberal and practical education accessible to Americans of average means. However hidden beneath the oft-told land-grant narrative is the land itself: the nearly 11 million acres of land sold through the Morrill Act was expropriated from tribal nations. This two-part forum examines the 150,000 acres of Indigenous land that funded the University of California, how this expropriation is intricately tied to California’s unique history of Native dispossession and genocide, and how UC continues to benefit from this wealth accumulation today. We will then explore current university initiatives with tribes and engage in a community dialogue on actions the University of California can take to address their responsibility to California Indigenous communities.

Part 1: Unearthing Indigenous Land Dispossession in the Founding of the University of California 

Friday, September 25, 9am – 12:00pm

Please note: due to high registration this event will be simultaneously live streamed. There is a 500 participant maximum, if you are unable to get into the event via the Zoom link, you may watch the live stream here.

Moderator: Phenocia Bauerle (Apsaálooke) Director, Native American Student Development, UC Berkeley

9:00 AM

Land-Grab Universities and the Morrill Act

  • Robert Lee, University Lecturer in American History, University of Cambridge
    Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa), Editor-in-Chief, Texas Observer

10:30 AM

The University of California as a Land-Grab Institution

Synthesis and Next steps

  • Phenocia Bauerle (Apsaálooke), Director, Native American Student Development, UC Berkeley

Closing:

  • Ataya Cesspooch, (Ute, Assiniboine, Lakota), PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley


Part 2: From Land-grab to Land Acknowledgement and Beyond

Friday, October 23, 9am–12:30pm

Please note: due to high registration this event will be simultaneously live streamed. There is a 300 participant maximum, if you are unable to get into the event via the Zoom link, you may watch the live stream here.


Moderator: Rosalie Z. Fanshel, PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and Program Manager, Berkeley Food Institute, UC Berkeley 

9:00 AM

Current initiatives between UC system and California Indigenous communities 

    • Moderator: Clifford Trafzer (Wyandot/German), Distinguished Professor of History and Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs, UC Riverside

    • Ron Goode (North Fork Mono), Chairman, North Fork Mono Tribe

    • Valentin Lopez (Amah Mutsun), Chairman, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

    • Beth Rose Middleton, Professor and Chair of Native American Studies, UC Davis
    • Jennifer Sowerwine, Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley

    • Bill Tripp, Director of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources

10:25 AM

Inspirations for accountability from land-grant university siblings

  • Moderator: Christina Snider, Tribal Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom and Executive Secretary of the Native American Heritage Commission

  • Christie M. Poitra, Interim Director, Native American Institute, Michigan State University

11:00 AM

Breakout sessions: Calls to action

    • Teaching/pedagogy: Facilitated by Joseph Lindsay (Chemehuevi), Assistant Director Admissions & Financial Aid, Berkeley Law

    • Student experience/development: Facilitated by Louisa Harstad (Bad River Nation), Assistant Director, Native American Student Development, UC Berkeley

    • Research: Facilitated by Ataya Cesspooch, (Ute, Assiniboine, Lakota), PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley

    • Land acknowledgements: Facilitated by Alexii Sigona (Amah Mutson), PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley

    • Field stations/UC land (this session only will be captioned): Facilitated by Leke Hutchins (Kanaka Maoli), PhD student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley

    • Cooperative Extension: Facilitated by Tiffany Anahi Santana (Tucutnut Tribe), Financial Services Analyst, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

12:00 PM

Synthesis and looking forward:

Closing:

  • Patrick V. Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo), Director, American Indian Graduate Program, UC Berkeley 

For more information contact Rosalie Z. Fanshel at rzfanshel@berkeley.edu

CART captioning will be provided. If you require any other accommodation for effective communication in order to fully participate in this virtual event, please contact Rosalie Z. Fanshel with as much advance notice as possible.

image: hand drawn hills and stars with title of land grab event and dates

Co-sponsors: 

UC Berkeley: Native American Student Development; Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues; Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology; Rausser College of Natural Resources; Berkeley Food Institute; Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program; Native American Studies; American Indian Graduate Program; The Center for Race and Gender; Native American Staff Council

UC Davis: Department of Native American Studies

UC Riverside: Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs; California Center for Native Nations; Native American Student Programs

Community Partners: Riverside-San Bernardino Native American Community Council