Land Grab U: Land-Grant Universities…

**Events may have been canceled or postponed. Please contact the venue to confirm the event.

Date & Time

Fri, Jan 22 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Address (map)


Venue (website)


Living Democracy Talk: Land Grab U: Land-Grant Universities and Indigenous Peoples with Tristan Ahtone and Robert Lee

Free to attend; registration required to receive Zoom webinar attendance link

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, which distributed public domain lands to raise funds for fledgling colleges across the nation. The creation story told around this event is that land-grant universities were given the gift of free land. But the truth is much more complicated: The Morrill Act worked by turning land expropriated from tribal nations into seed money for higher education. In all, the act redistributed nearly 10.8 million acres from more than 250 tribal nations for the benefit of 52 colleges. Those lands, when grouped together, represent an area approximately the size of Denmark. Ahtone and Lee’s presentation will both examine the land specifically used to found the University of California and also discuss the methods employed in this investigation of land expropriation, in order to reveal the links between violent colonialism and higher education.

Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and is editor-in-chief at the Texas Observer. He has reported for multiple outlets including PBS NewsHourNational Native NewsNPRAl Jazeera America, and High Country News, where he served as Indigenous Affairs editor. 

Robert Lee is a lecturer in American History at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on Indigenous dispossession and U.S. state formation in the nineteenth-century American West.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Living Democracy series and the IHC American Indian and Indigenous Collective Research Focus Group

ASL and Spanish interpretation will be provided. To view ASL interpretation, please attend the webinar on a desktop computer.

Register Now:


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.