Providing central coordination for the undergraduate advising, career services & learning support communities

Exploring Our Shared Future – Episode 4: Land-Grab Universities

The Advising and Career Services Book and Film Club is pleased to share the fourth in a series of emails to help the advising and career services communities further understand the experience of Indigenous students, settler-colonialism, and Indigenization efforts in higher education. 

In this episode, we invite you to learn more about the history of land grant universities, in particular the Morrill Act of Act of 1862 which was signed into law by President Lincoln. This act appropriated nearly 11 million acres of Indigenous land to fund agricultural and mechanical colleges including the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Universities profit off the land to this day. We encourage you to consider the differences among the histories shared from different sources in this episode, and to continue asking yourself “from who’s perspective is this history being shared?”

Our heartfelt thanks to the creators of these materials and their willingness to share them with us, the wider UW Community, and beyond.

Episode 4: Our Land-Gra(nt)b Universities

An Introduction…

The Great University Land-Grab

52 American universities built their fortunes using 11 million acres of Indian land – signed over amid violence, corruption and coercion…

Click for full story

Photo: Jeff Miller

The Land-Grant University: FAQ

A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862, 1890, and 1994.

Click to read more

Full history of APLU

Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society

Civilization Succeeds Barbarism:

This is an image of the Great Seal of the Territory of Wisconsin in 1836. There is a farmer in the foreground plowing behind horses, a Native American apparently heading west, a river steamboat and a lake schooner. The first Madison capitol building is in the background and there is a lighthouse at the upper right. The seal also bears the phrase: “Civilitas Successitt Barbarum.”

What reactions do you have? Click Seal for more

How universities benefit from stolen Native land

with Tristan Ahtone & Bobby Lee

Interact with the Land Grab Project

Click photo to explore >>

  1. What thoughts and feelings came up for you when you engaged with this material?
  2. How does what you learned relate to your role in advising and/or career services?
  3. What ideas or next steps might you discuss with colleagues within your until to put your learning in action?

UW-Madison Historical Timeline

Expropriating Indigenous land

Email provided by the Advising and Career Services Book & Film Club:

Cristina Parente | Omar Poler | Emily Dickmann | Becky Smith| Eric Schueffner