Panel: What Would Land Back Look Like at UNL?
Dr. Margaret Huettl, Dr. Luis Othoniel Rosa (Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Ethnic Studies, UNL), Samantha Byrd (UNL undergraduate, Chickasaw), Nasia Olson-Whitefeather (UNL undergraduate, UNITE president, Anishinaabe)
This conversation considers the entanglements and possibilities of land, resources, and reconciliation at UNL. Beginning with context about UNL's history as a land grant university funded in part by the ongoing appropriation of Indigenous lands and resources, Huettl and her fellow panelists from across the university will discuss what it might look like to re-found the university on reciprocity and reconciliation rooted in the land itself.
Part of the Reckoning & Reconciliation on the Great Plains summit.
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[00:00:05.360]Welcome everybody to our lunch session
[00:00:09.460]at the reckoning and reconciliation
[00:00:10.647]of the Great Plains Summit.
[00:00:12.390]My name's Margaret Jacobs.
[00:00:13.690]I'm the director of the Center for Great Plains Studies.
[00:00:17.350]This morning, we learn from our keynote speaker,
[00:00:19.670]Tristan Ahtone about our university's benefit
[00:00:23.670]from expropriating the lands of indigenous people.
[00:00:27.660]And that the University of Nebraska at Lincoln
[00:00:30.100]still has 6,000 acres of land from which it profits.
[00:00:35.370]So we are really pleased to have a team of faculty
[00:00:38.010]and students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:00:40.770]to discuss what would Land Back look like at UNL.
[00:00:46.030]And that's hard to say,
[00:00:46.880]I hope you all try saying it five times really fast.
[00:00:50.720]So we have this great team of people
[00:00:52.550]talking about this today.
[00:00:53.810]I wanna introduce them and then turn it over to them.
[00:00:56.700]First, we have Dr. Margaret Huettl,
[00:00:59.770]a descendant of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibweg,
[00:01:03.120]Asyrian refugees and European settlers,
[00:01:06.200]who is an Assistant Professor of History and Ethnic Studies
[00:01:09.750]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:01:12.490]Margaret is a scholar of Native American History
[00:01:14.770]and North American Wests.
[00:01:16.750]And her research examines the continuities
[00:01:18.880]of Ojibwe sovereignty in the context of settler colonialism
[00:01:23.260]in both the United States and Canada.
[00:01:25.480]She centers Ojibwe ways of knowing.
[00:01:29.970]Her scholarship has been published in several places
[00:01:32.520]including the journal of Ethnohistory
[00:01:34.830]and the forthcoming understanding
[00:01:36.440]and teaching Native American history
[00:01:38.250]from the University of Wisconsin press.
[00:01:41.740]You may also know that Margaret has been very instrumental
[00:01:46.120]in revising the Oregon Trail video game.
[00:01:50.920]And we're very grateful to her for that.
[00:01:54.290]Dr. Luis Othoniel Rosa is the author of two novels,
[00:01:58.657]"Otra Vez Me Alejo" and "Caja de Fractales".
[00:02:03.110]The last one was translated and published
[00:02:05.380]as "Down with Gargamel" in 2020.
[00:02:09.230]He's also also the author of the academic book,
[00:02:12.627]"Comienzos para una estetica anarquista:
[00:02:16.380]Borges con Macedonio",
[00:02:19.377]"Beginnings for an Anarchist Aesthetics:
[00:02:22.330]Borges with Macedonio" published in 2020.
[00:02:27.340]Luis studied at the University of Puerto Rico
[00:02:30.190]and holds a PhD in Latin American literature
[00:02:32.860]from Princeton University.
[00:02:34.620]He's currently associate professor
[00:02:36.280]in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
[00:02:38.690]at the Institute for Ethnic Studies
[00:02:40.490]at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:02:43.850]We also have Samantha Byrd,
[00:02:46.120]a citizen of the Chickasaw nation.
[00:02:48.980]She's an undergraduate student at UNL
[00:02:51.800]majoring in history with minors in Native American studies
[00:02:55.940]She grew up in Ogallala, Nebraska
[00:02:59.370]and works to maintain her relationship
[00:03:01.270]with her indigenous roots through her research
[00:03:03.760]and involvement at the Center for Great Plains Studies.
[00:03:07.070]We also have Nasia Olson-Whitefeather,
[00:03:09.790]who is Anishinaabe.
[00:03:11.060]She's an undergraduate student studying Criminal Justice
[00:03:14.020]and Child, Youth, and Family Studies with a minor
[00:03:16.260]in Native American Studies.
[00:03:18.060]She's the current president of our student native group,
[00:03:21.730]UNITE and is planning the annual powwow
[00:03:24.600]happening April 23rd.
[00:03:27.480]She's working toward a career with the state in social work
[00:03:30.420]and case management with the juvenile justice system.
[00:03:33.490]So welcome all of you.
[00:03:34.630]I'm gonna turn it over to you all,
[00:03:36.670]and thank you so much for being here.
[00:03:40.520]Thank you so much for making the space
[00:03:44.520]for us to be here today.
[00:03:47.130]I am going to start by talking a little bit
[00:03:49.360]about some of the context and questions
[00:03:51.520]and how I approach this question
[00:03:53.770]of what could Land Back look like at UNL.
[00:03:58.510]And then I will open it up for brief comments
[00:04:02.950]from my fellow panelists,
[00:04:04.630]just because I want to emphasize
[00:04:08.460]that I am just one perspective
[00:04:11.360]of many indigenous perspectives both on this campus
[00:04:14.690]and more broadly,
[00:04:16.080]and I don't want to speak for other indigenous people,
[00:04:21.430]but just want to share my perspectives
[00:04:25.330]and what I have learned through my experience here at UNL.
[00:04:29.890]So I wanna start here,
[00:04:33.680]which is where I start
[00:04:35.170]with my Native American studies classes
[00:04:38.240]when I take them on a walking tour of campus.
[00:04:41.640]We start here at this historical marker
[00:04:44.670]that describes the university's founding.
[00:04:47.760]And I'll take a second to just read through the text.
[00:04:52.730]So it reads, "Chartered as a Land-Grant institution
[00:04:55.440]by the first regular session of the state legislature
[00:04:58.340]on February 15th, 1869,
[00:05:01.100]the university opened its doors to 20 collegiate students
[00:05:04.760]and 110 preparatory school pupils on September 7th, 1871.
[00:05:09.850]Lincoln was then a raw prairie village
[00:05:12.230]of about 2,400 people.
[00:05:14.740]University Hall, the original four story building
[00:05:17.860]stood on this site.
[00:05:19.630]Its lumber was hauled by wagon from Nebraska city,
[00:05:22.500]its brick made locally.
[00:05:24.330]It was finally raised in October, 1948.
[00:05:28.300]Despite financial crises and ideological disputes,
[00:05:31.820]the university survived its early years
[00:05:34.920]and in 1886 inaugurated the first program
[00:05:37.770]of graduate instruction west of the Mississippi.
[00:05:40.690]Recognized for its high scholastic standards,
[00:05:43.010]the university was accorded membership
[00:05:45.010]in the Association of American Universities in 1908.
[00:05:49.040]As a major institution of higher education,
[00:05:51.400]the university performed a key role in the early development
[00:05:54.850]of the state and continues now as a prime source
[00:05:58.080]of further Nebraska progress."
[00:06:01.860]As my students quickly notice
[00:06:03.580]when I ask them what they think about this sign,
[00:06:06.970]the sign erases more about the university's history
[00:06:10.780]than it tells.
[00:06:12.030]The raw prairie was in fact home to thriving communities
[00:06:17.530]of indigenous families,
[00:06:19.190]Pawnee, Ponca, Omaha, Otto, Missouri, and others.
[00:06:23.650]This place where I'm speaking from today
[00:06:26.130]was an integral part of economic, political, social,
[00:06:30.380]and ceremonial networks that made
[00:06:33.160]what is currently Lincoln, Nebraska,
[00:06:35.300]a vibrant and decidedly not raw indigenous center
[00:06:40.010]on the Great Plains.
[00:06:41.740]And despite more than 150 years of efforts to dislodge them,
[00:06:46.080]indigenous people continue to thrive in this place today.
[00:06:52.270]But that despite is doing kind of a lot of work
[00:06:56.350]because the sign also erases the ways in which UNL
[00:06:59.880]is intimately and inextricably entangled
[00:07:03.350]in the ongoing dispossession, displacement,
[00:07:06.760]and ultimately intended destruction of indigenous peoples.
[00:07:11.590]In 1871, when the first cohort of non-native students
[00:07:17.370]sat down own for their classes,
[00:07:23.360]Nebraska, a name that itself comes from
[00:07:27.440]either Omaha or Otto language remained indigenous territory
[00:07:33.550]both practically and legally.
[00:07:36.330]The Otto, Missouri people had signed a treaty that included
[00:07:41.458]the lands for the UNL campus in 1854,
[00:07:45.370]but they were not the only nation who lived
[00:07:47.330]and gathered here.
[00:07:48.450]Before that first cohort would graduate in 1874,
[00:07:52.000]the Pawnee people began their coerced removal
[00:07:54.590]to the so-called Indian territory from the very lands
[00:07:58.320]that you can see here on map,
[00:08:01.974]that was created by the university,
[00:08:04.390]from the very lands that were later sold to fund this
[00:08:10.270]and other universities.
[00:08:12.900]In 1877, when UNL students sat for exams,
[00:08:17.110]formed social clubs, wrote letters home,
[00:08:21.680]the Ponca nation began their forced March
[00:08:24.740]with US military bandits at their backs,
[00:08:27.600]again from lands whose sales benefited
[00:08:30.110]not only individual settlers,
[00:08:32.710]but the university system as well.
[00:08:36.370]The sign that I showed you at the beginning
[00:08:39.060]speaks of development and progress,
[00:08:42.970]but it makes no mention of the price extracted
[00:08:46.260]from indigenous peoples
[00:08:48.060]or the role that the university played
[00:08:50.190]in furthering the ongoing project of settler colonialism.
[00:08:54.380]The fact is that the University of Nebraska,
[00:08:57.360]along with many other public and private institutions
[00:09:00.960]in the United States would not exist
[00:09:04.010]without the appropriation and outright theft
[00:09:06.700]of indigenous lands, resources and knowledge.
[00:09:10.995]UNL is a land-grant university,
[00:09:13.410]which on the one hand means that it is accessible education
[00:09:19.750]to all Nebraskans, supposed to be regardless
[00:09:23.900]of economic level and able to serve the interest
[00:09:27.340]of the people living in the state.
[00:09:29.600]But as many of you know,
[00:09:30.900]especially if you've been listening to the other panels
[00:09:33.630]that have been part of this symposium,
[00:09:39.000]the supposedly free lands that funded public education
[00:09:42.100]were taken sometimes by force,
[00:09:44.820]always through colonial exploitation
[00:09:47.690]from indigenous nations.
[00:09:49.900]And I argue reckoning with the land-grant legacy
[00:09:53.930]cannot be separated from the indigenous call for Land Back.
[00:10:00.790]A land-grant or Land-Grab University lays bare
[00:10:05.410]the really key role that land has played in US colonialism
[00:10:09.660]which as uncomfortable as it might be to acknowledge
[00:10:12.940]continues to this day.
[00:10:15.900]We owe our increased awareness of this ongoing history
[00:10:19.260]to the efforts of this morning speaker, Tristan Ahtone
[00:10:22.610]and the team behind high country uses
[00:10:24.810]Land-Grab University's database,
[00:10:26.970]as well as the outpouring of scholarship
[00:10:29.460]from individual scholars and universities.
[00:10:32.970]On the one hand, there are land acknowledgement statements
[00:10:35.940]that acknowledge this history and the survivance
[00:10:39.090]of indigenous nations,
[00:10:40.760]but settler colonialism has never been just about words
[00:10:44.390]and sentiments, it is deeply rooted in lands and resources.
[00:10:48.560]It's lived in people's bodies and experienced in the air,
[00:10:52.060]earth, and water.
[00:10:53.840]It's become a meme that if you ask an indigenous person
[00:10:56.900]if they want a land acknowledgement,
[00:10:58.690]they'll say, "How about we just get the land, right?"
[00:11:01.720]Or as Jessica Hernandez,
[00:11:03.900]a Salvadorian indigenous scholar joked,
[00:11:07.022]"If we got paid for every email we answer
[00:11:10.470]or every land acknowledgement we give,
[00:11:12.580]we would be able to buy back some of that land ourselves."
[00:11:17.450]But ultimately, this concept of Land Back is simple.
[00:11:26.540]It's not a metaphor.
[00:11:27.760]It literally means that indigenous people
[00:11:30.250]reclaim their homelands.
[00:11:32.320]To put it another way, it's restoring the land
[00:11:35.600]to indigenous care taking.
[00:11:38.100]What it's not is what Metis author, Chelsea Vowel
[00:11:41.380]calls the colonial property paradigm
[00:11:45.230]or the individualist capitalist striving to own,
[00:11:51.350]and profit from parcels of land as property.
[00:11:54.220]It's also not an eviction notice,
[00:11:57.430]but it does require a radical rethinking
[00:11:59.900]of the university itself and our obligations to one another
[00:12:03.900]and the land as human beings,
[00:12:06.150]living and working in a shared space.
[00:12:13.349]As we think about how to connect Land Back
[00:12:17.370]to a university, specifically here to UNL,
[00:12:20.890]I want to draw on a framework by Oglala Lakota scholar,
[00:12:25.520]Megan Red Shirt-Shaw.
[00:12:27.450]In a report for Hack the Gates,
[00:12:30.070]she presents two possible pathways for pursuing Land Back.
[00:12:34.170]The first one is simple, give the land back, right?
[00:12:36.960]Return institutional land back to native nations.
[00:12:40.230]I think we can all imagine
[00:12:41.500]what university's responses are to that,
[00:12:44.460]and so she comes up with a second pathway.
[00:12:46.710]If institutional land cannot be returned,
[00:12:49.300]then provide free higher education, right?
[00:12:52.730]Pay for native students to attend college.
[00:12:56.100]And I would argue that Land Back at an institution like UNL
[00:13:00.120]should go further and think beyond tuition.
[00:13:04.710]The university's goal, if its commitment
[00:13:07.130]is to building better, more equitable futures
[00:13:11.090]should be to restore relationships and resources.
[00:13:19.730]This of course means agreeing on the basic principle
[00:13:22.780]that UNL should care about equity, justice,
[00:13:28.290]I cannot make people care,
[00:13:30.230]but I can explain why I think we all should.
[00:13:33.840]And that is because UNL profited and continues to profit
[00:13:39.470]directly from the appropriation of indigenous lands
[00:13:42.820]and indigenous people have a fundamental right
[00:13:45.120]to share in that profit.
[00:13:49.010]So the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:13:52.230]received somewhere between 89,175 and 89,920 acres
[00:13:58.830]as part of the Morrill Act land grants,
[00:14:00.970]followed by an additional 45,441 acres
[00:14:05.260]that came as part of the Enabling Act
[00:14:07.780]which was the legislation that basically took steps
[00:14:10.050]to create the state of Nebraska.
[00:14:12.440]And a lot of this data here comes again
[00:14:14.460]from the Land-Grab University's database,
[00:14:17.480]as well as the University of Nebraska's
[00:14:19.920]own landgrant.unl.edu website.
[00:14:28.033]And for the lands that got caught up in the Morrill Act
[00:14:31.080]and just the Morrill Act,
[00:14:32.180]because I've had a harder time tracing
[00:14:33.940]the Enabling Act lands in the same way.
[00:14:36.980]The United States compensated indigenous nations,
[00:14:39.530]a total of $11,194, and that number comes
[00:14:44.670]from the Land-Grab University's database.
[00:14:49.880]While university land sales raised $568,879
[00:14:55.750]toward its endowment from selling off that land.
[00:14:59.210]As the Land-Grab University's database points out,
[00:15:01.960]that's 51 times more than what indigenous nations received
[00:15:06.330]for being forced off their homelands
[00:15:08.420]or confined to smaller and smaller reservations.
[00:15:11.680]The university continued to sell parcels of this land
[00:15:15.010]into the 20th century with each acre going for nearly $20
[00:15:19.660]in the 1910s.
[00:15:22.100]The university continues to profit from this land,
[00:15:25.840]UNL or the state of Nebraska seems to own
[00:15:28.470]somewhere between 3,000 and 6,000 acre of this land.
[00:15:33.190]The evidence here is conflicting
[00:15:35.160]and some university administrators have stated
[00:15:39.030]that the university does not in fact own
[00:15:43.020]any of its remaining
[00:15:44.570]or any of the original Morrill Act lands
[00:15:47.340]and does not agree with the $400,000 approximately
[00:15:52.180]in profit that the university continues to...
[00:15:58.960]Or that that land continues to generate for the university.
[00:16:03.030]I've been trying to disentangle paper trails
[00:16:05.370]for a couple of months now
[00:16:06.650]and I'm currently caught up in some confusion
[00:16:08.810]with the state's Board of Educational Lands
[00:16:10.930]and Funds records, but ultimately,
[00:16:13.770]regardless of how many of its original land grant acres
[00:16:17.820]the university controls,
[00:16:19.880]without it, the university's endowment
[00:16:22.170]may not have survived the financial crises
[00:16:25.440]described in the historical marker
[00:16:27.800]and the endowment has continued to build
[00:16:30.980]on the base of indigenous lands.
[00:16:34.110]And you can see here,
[00:16:35.110]this again is from the university's website
[00:16:37.140]where it tracks all of the parcels of land that it received
[00:16:42.560]through both the Morrill Act and the Enabling Act.
[00:16:45.730]And you can see it on a more micro level here.
[00:16:49.910]And I just wanna point out, right?
[00:16:52.112]That is coming from this, the Ponca, Omaha,
[00:16:58.000]and Pawnee homelands.
[00:17:00.030]And then also down here in Pawnee
[00:17:05.404]and other nations homelands.
[00:17:11.310]It's more than just direct land sales
[00:17:13.720]that are part of how the university has profited
[00:17:17.340]from indigenous lands.
[00:17:19.940]University of Nebraska students,
[00:17:21.620]and you can see this here from the student newspaper,
[00:17:25.970]they participated in the surveys
[00:17:28.380]that divided up indigenous homelands,
[00:17:30.660]founding careers on indigenous dispossession.
[00:17:34.370]And then a scholar, such as Walter Echo-Hawk,
[00:17:36.970]and Orlan Svingen have documented,
[00:17:39.500]the removal of living indigenous people from Nebraska
[00:17:43.570]was accompanied by the forced removal
[00:17:45.700]of their ancestors' bones from the earth.
[00:17:48.280]Bones that became data for the state historical society
[00:17:51.860]and scholars on campus who built careers
[00:17:54.490]on stolen relatives.
[00:17:56.900]There is another perhaps subtler way
[00:18:00.870]that the university continues to drive profit
[00:18:04.250]from its Morrill Act lands and that is marketing.
[00:18:07.760]As part of its Nebraska 150 celebrations,
[00:18:10.730]marking 150 years since the university's founding,
[00:18:14.340]the university leaned in to the land-grant legacy.
[00:18:18.050]This comes from a website,
[00:18:19.390]this is the landgrant.unl.edu website,
[00:18:23.000]which claims to share the history
[00:18:25.080]and the impact of the land that funded the university.
[00:18:28.750]As I said, as you're right, the people, their land,
[00:18:33.770]Conspicuously absent from this website however
[00:18:37.390]are indigenous people.
[00:18:38.970]I looked everywhere I could and I could find no mention
[00:18:42.840]of indigenous people at all on this website.
[00:18:47.760]You can see here, this is timeline.
[00:18:50.530]There is no sense that indigenous people
[00:18:52.970]were being forcibly removed from the state
[00:18:55.160]during this time period.
[00:18:57.790]It is a narrative of erasure.
[00:19:01.010]And if you look at their description of the Morrill Act
[00:19:08.900]and Enabling Act,
[00:19:10.090]they repeat a pretty key phrase, right?
[00:19:13.150]Unclaimed Nebraska land.
[00:19:17.960]Even calling the land Nebraska is itself claiming the land
[00:19:22.250]for settler profit,
[00:19:24.110]but what they're really saying is that this land was empty.
[00:19:27.420]It is denying native claims to the land
[00:19:30.820]which were both legal and lived.
[00:19:33.840]And in the context of a website
[00:19:35.450]intended to market the university's brand,
[00:19:37.830]UNL continues to profit off of removing indigenous people
[00:19:42.060]from their lands.
[00:19:43.110]And this is true if you go to the Landowner Stories section
[00:19:47.050]of the website as well.
[00:19:48.860]There are five or six white families with these stories
[00:19:52.070]that like reinforce those family's connection to the land
[00:19:57.190]for 136 years and continue to erase
[00:20:00.270]indigenous people's connections to the land.
[00:20:04.270]Telling the truth, even a hard one,
[00:20:07.400]even one with potential financial consequences
[00:20:10.970]is I believe the least that the university can do.
[00:20:16.000]I think it's time for the university to acknowledge
[00:20:18.640]in meaningful ways,
[00:20:22.170]the numerous ways in which it has and continues to profit
[00:20:27.110]from a history of indigenous dispossession.
[00:20:30.060]And that acknowledgement should be accompanied
[00:20:32.080]with meaningful action,
[00:20:33.820]with a reorientation of lands and resources
[00:20:37.050]to serve indigenous communities
[00:20:39.610]and to reckon with the truth that needs to be told.
[00:20:44.740]Today, indigenous student enrollment
[00:20:48.092]at the University of Nebraska hovers around 50 students.
[00:20:51.110]It's less than what shows up
[00:20:52.900]in that Land-Grab University database.
[00:20:57.670]I am one of three Native American faculty on this campus.
[00:21:01.410]There is also one in extension
[00:21:03.730]and perhaps half a dozen to a dozen staff.
[00:21:07.510]Going just by the numbers,
[00:21:09.890]the university has a lot of work to do
[00:21:12.600]to serve its indigenous neighbors.
[00:21:22.334]To be clear, I don't mean this as a personal attack.
[00:21:25.150]I am not ascribing nefarious or conspiratorial motives
[00:21:29.260]to individual administrators or faculty
[00:21:32.210]and there is important work being done on campus,
[00:21:36.490]such as the formation of an indigenous advisory committee
[00:21:39.810]to the chancellor that convened for the first time
[00:21:42.660]last October and is starting to take up questions
[00:21:45.960]about how to redistribute resources
[00:21:49.200]to better serve indigenous communities.
[00:21:53.340]And listening to native leaders and communities,
[00:21:56.120]making space for their voices to shape the future
[00:21:59.460]of the land on which we live and work
[00:22:01.700]is an important first step to restoring the relationships
[00:22:04.540]I'm talking about.
[00:22:06.380]This conference that we're all a part of today
[00:22:08.760]is another example of work underway.
[00:22:11.040]And I, a not yet tenured junior faculty member
[00:22:15.470]do not feel like I am risking my job
[00:22:18.210]by raising these questions in a public forum.
[00:22:22.750]Critics will say things like, "It's not my fault.
[00:22:27.190]We settler society cannot be held responsible
[00:22:30.680]for the actions of previous generations.
[00:22:33.630]It's in the past, you can't take our land."
[00:22:37.440]But the land-grant legacies are not distanced by time.
[00:22:43.300]Those legacies are still very much ongoing to this day
[00:22:47.190]and part of the present.
[00:22:49.390]And I know it might seem radical and impossible now,
[00:22:52.750]but restoring resources and relationships
[00:22:55.230]is something that is in the university's power to do
[00:22:58.630]and with the very money that has already been accrued
[00:23:02.030]through 150 years of exploitation and dispossession.
[00:23:06.090]If the university is interested in disentangling itself
[00:23:09.690]from its colonial legacies,
[00:23:12.310]Land Back, I think can serve as a guiding principle
[00:23:16.050]to shape the university's relationships
[00:23:18.690]with its indigenous neighbors and build better futures
[00:23:21.790]for all of the people who share this place.
[00:23:25.110]And so with that, I will turn the question
[00:23:28.220]that I wanted to raise in this talk
[00:23:30.300]over to my fellow panelists with the question,
[00:23:34.650]what does Land Back mean to you?
[00:23:36.280]Or what could or should Land Back look like at UNL?
[00:23:43.910]And we are going to hear from Samantha Byrd first.
[00:23:49.206](speaker speaks in foreign language)
[00:23:52.320]Hello, my name is Samantha Byrd
[00:23:53.910]and I'm an enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw nation.
[00:23:57.150]When thinking about reconciliation and Land Back
[00:23:59.420]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:24:01.200]the first thing that came to my mind
[00:24:03.280]besides returning land to native nations
[00:24:05.570]were land acknowledgements.
[00:24:06.830]Some university entities
[00:24:08.340]like the Center for Great Plains Studies
[00:24:10.190]already have land acknowledgements in place,
[00:24:12.260]but the university as a whole does not.
[00:24:14.820]We need to have a public campus-wide statement
[00:24:18.230]that recognizes the indigenous nations
[00:24:20.140]that the university occupies.
[00:24:22.350]And it should be a public statement
[00:24:24.170]that is held in say university's union
[00:24:27.310]or on the front page of the university's website.
[00:24:30.960]This would be a great step towards reconciliation
[00:24:33.100]on the campus.
[00:24:33.940]But as Dr. Huettl acknowledged,
[00:24:35.950]land acknowledgements without actions are just words.
[00:24:39.890]So there are two actions that I believe
[00:24:41.590]the university could take in order to back up
[00:24:44.200]their land acknowledgement.
[00:24:45.490]The first of which would be scholarships.
[00:24:48.030]When I applied to the University of Nebraska,
[00:24:50.570]the university only offered a handful of scholarships.
[00:24:53.470]And by a handful, I mean, one or two,
[00:24:56.410]and the scholarship that I was eligible for
[00:24:59.620]had certain requirements involved.
[00:25:02.330]So in applicants who applied to this scholarship
[00:25:06.300]had to be prepared to use their knowledge and experiences
[00:25:10.440]within indigenous communities
[00:25:11.921]to "contribute to the education of their fellow students."
[00:25:16.100]Because of this,
[00:25:16.933]I was actively discouraged from applying
[00:25:19.610]to this scholarship.
[00:25:20.620]My mentors were concerned that the university
[00:25:23.730]would use me and parade me around
[00:25:25.880]like some kind of poster child.
[00:25:27.860]We need scholarships that don't require us to be prepared
[00:25:30.726]to provide emotional labor or tokenize us
[00:25:33.880]as indigenous peoples.
[00:25:36.630]The second action I believe the university could take
[00:25:39.170]in order to justify or to back up their land acknowledgement
[00:25:42.280]would be examining our education and how we talk about
[00:25:46.130]and teach indigenous histories and issues.
[00:25:49.320]So I'm a history major with specific interests
[00:25:51.990]in Native American studies so naturally,
[00:25:54.050]I've taken several classes focusing on American history.
[00:25:58.130]And some of these courses,
[00:25:59.460]it is common that native American histories
[00:26:01.890]and voices are left out.
[00:26:03.310]And when they are included,
[00:26:04.800]they're often told from the perspective of Euro-Americans
[00:26:07.700]or are incomplete, sometimes even both.
[00:26:10.740]For example, I took a course dedicated
[00:26:12.640]to Great Plains history,
[00:26:14.160]and for the discussions on indigenous histories,
[00:26:16.630]the singular source used was written by a European,
[00:26:19.950]not an indigenous author.
[00:26:21.350]And the narrative left out important aspects
[00:26:23.300]of indigenous histories, such as boarding schools,
[00:26:26.010]which continued to have huge impact
[00:26:29.200]on indigenous communities today.
[00:26:31.210]Encouraging our professors to utilize indigenous narratives
[00:26:34.300]and perspectives, and even requiring them
[00:26:36.460]to have a comprehensive understanding of native history
[00:26:39.380]will enable our campus community to bridge the gaps
[00:26:41.930]created by the continued effects
[00:26:43.610]of conquest and colonialism.
[00:26:45.950]In doing so, UNL students and faculty
[00:26:48.530]will be able to be a driving force
[00:26:50.310]in a movement of reconciliation
[00:26:52.140]that will change the way our society
[00:26:53.970]views indigenous peoples.
[00:26:58.740]Thank you, Samantha.
[00:27:00.620]Nasia, do you want to jump in?
[00:27:03.640]Yes, I am in my fourth year here at the university
[00:27:07.890]as a Native American studies minor,
[00:27:09.770]but a criminal justice and child family studies major.
[00:27:13.040]I've also served as the UNITE president
[00:27:14.990]for the past three years.
[00:27:16.500]Two of my years being through the pandemic unfortunately,
[00:27:19.430]and during that time,
[00:27:21.490]I had really seen the lack of support
[00:27:24.350]to indigenous students during that time.
[00:27:28.850]Asking questions on like,
[00:27:30.440]I know there was a policy for freshman dorms
[00:27:32.680]where that if they moved out,
[00:27:34.410]they were not guaranteed their housing back
[00:27:36.290]when they came back to campus.
[00:27:37.890]And for a lot of indigenous students
[00:27:39.440]who are first generation low income,
[00:27:41.750]that was a big deal because where were they gonna the money
[00:27:45.020]to secure their room when they did come back on campus?
[00:27:48.910]I believe the fee was $600
[00:27:51.290]to be able to secure your room coming back.
[00:27:53.490]And $600 is a lot for a lot of these families,
[00:27:56.350]especially those in my club.
[00:27:59.420]I'm constantly trying to help these kids find resources
[00:28:02.460]and scholarships and things like that
[00:28:04.350]to try to help make their college experience
[00:28:06.840]a little less stressful as mine was.
[00:28:10.940]Touching based on the scholarships
[00:28:12.740]that Samantha mentioned,
[00:28:14.190]I was ineligible for the scholarships
[00:28:16.500]as I am not a registered member of my tribe
[00:28:19.200]due to blood quantum.
[00:28:21.120]I am wanting to see the university acknowledge
[00:28:25.170]that blood quantum is a colonized ideal.
[00:28:27.430]It was never something that historically indigenous tribes
[00:28:30.820]or groups implemented.
[00:28:32.990]The only other species that has blood quantum
[00:28:36.100]are horses and dogs next to indigenous peoples
[00:28:39.480]in Hawaiian natives.
[00:28:41.100]So kind of understanding that and acknowledging that
[00:28:45.230]would be something that be like,
[00:28:46.407]"Okay, you know, they hear me, they see me."
[00:28:48.540]And see, my struggle is a little bit more,
[00:28:52.303]I don't wanna say more than others,
[00:28:53.860]but it's different than those who may not be
[00:28:55.990]in the indigenous community.
[00:28:58.340]Overall, I feel that the university can do a lot more
[00:29:01.920]with the land acknowledgement that it does have.
[00:29:04.310]Maybe implementing it as a requirement for all events
[00:29:08.020]and not just culturally based events.
[00:29:10.220]I see a lot of things happening around campus
[00:29:12.790]that like, they just go and do, like in the green space.
[00:29:16.370]Do you understand the history of the green space?
[00:29:18.730]Do you understand the history of this building
[00:29:21.030]and just wanting to see that people are acknowledging
[00:29:26.230]my ancestors and our previous people that were here
[00:29:29.230]at the school.
[00:29:31.060]Yeah, that's basically what I've seen in my time here
[00:29:34.130]at the university.
[00:29:34.990]I know there's a lot more work to be done and to be had,
[00:29:39.220]I am just one president of a small group,
[00:29:41.470]but seeing the work that my little group of five
[00:29:44.760]have been doing,
[00:29:46.666]with the power that was mentioned,
[00:29:48.530]that is also another thing that has been an issue
[00:29:50.730]with the university.
[00:29:52.410]We've had this power go on since the 80s.
[00:29:54.410]There's records that it's been ongoing on.
[00:29:57.290]I'm only 22 so it's been a long time
[00:29:59.540]since this power has been on
[00:30:00.870]and we still get the questions of like, what's the purpose?
[00:30:04.165]Why are you here?
[00:30:05.640]Why do you wanna have this event?
[00:30:07.330]And it's like almost tiring to a point
[00:30:10.260]because we're repeating ourselves with the same answers
[00:30:12.740]and it just seems like it's going in one ear
[00:30:14.510]and not the other.
[00:30:15.610]And now there's new rules and there's new hoops
[00:30:18.610]we have to jump through just to get this event
[00:30:22.850]off the ground.
[00:30:23.683]And there's new things they're finding us for
[00:30:25.710]and there's new contracts we have to sign.
[00:30:29.750]I was willing to put the work in,
[00:30:31.450]but I can't promise that it's gonna happen
[00:30:33.330]because the next person might just be trying to survive
[00:30:37.190]as an indigenous student on campus.
[00:30:39.860]So that's all I have to say.
[00:30:44.613]And I'm sure there will be more questions
[00:30:46.110]for both of you when we open it up,
[00:30:50.270]but thank you both for sharing your experiences
[00:30:52.380]and your perspectives.
[00:30:53.900]And then Luis, I will turn it over to you.
[00:30:58.440]It's such an honor to be here with all of you.
[00:30:59.463]And Nasia and Samantha, pleasure to meet you.
[00:31:02.300]It's an honor to share the screen with you
[00:31:03.810]while you prepare something very brief.
[00:31:06.100]After years of conversation with my colleague,
[00:31:08.831]Dr. Margaret Huettl, that is also my teacher on this.
[00:31:13.600]I embrace that role here as a student.
[00:31:16.340]Thank you Margaret, for being social leader on these issues.
[00:31:19.610]And I read real quick.
[00:31:22.090]When I envision what a true Land Back movement would mean
[00:31:25.100]at the University of Nebraska,
[00:31:26.620]I don't just see it as an act of historical justice
[00:31:30.580]and reparation, I also envision it as an act of knowledge.
[00:31:34.600]As a pedagogy we desperately need for the future.
[00:31:37.660]In my worst days, at my job in the university,
[00:31:41.250]I sometimes marvel at the fact
[00:31:42.830]that the University of Nebraska doesn't know Nebraska,
[00:31:46.960]that in our humanities departments,
[00:31:48.570]we can learn plenty about Europe,
[00:31:50.750]but we can hardly find professors like Margaret here
[00:31:53.450]that can teach the history of the land we are standing in
[00:31:56.150]and the cultures of the peoples that have worked
[00:31:58.480]and continued to work and protect.
[00:32:00.430]The stolen land is also stolen knowledge.
[00:32:03.890]This is how universities have historically assisted
[00:32:06.880]empire in our American continent.
[00:32:08.950]And I'm from Puerto Rico
[00:32:10.310]and that's where I study Latin America.
[00:32:12.360]Universities taught us that the true knowledge
[00:32:15.760]precise in Europe and thus we are to disdain
[00:32:18.390]the knowledge of our cultures in our blood,
[00:32:21.000]to disdain ourselves,
[00:32:22.450]to unknow the very land that feeds us.
[00:32:25.190]Because even if you are white in Nebraska, it is this land,
[00:32:29.130]this air, this hands, this water that has kept you
[00:32:32.520]and your family alive,
[00:32:34.240]and yet more often than not the university insists
[00:32:36.860]on teaching us that it is more important
[00:32:38.880]to understand the Ancient Greeks across the sea
[00:32:41.290]than the (indistinct) who invented the democratic principles
[00:32:44.190]that birth this nation.
[00:32:46.530]Universities in this continent have taught us
[00:32:48.850]that America is a land avoided of knowledge,
[00:32:51.470]raw like Margaret was saying, right?
[00:32:54.040]A land without culture,
[00:32:55.600]whose only purpose is to be exploited
[00:32:57.810]so the empires can keep expanding.
[00:32:59.480]How wrong is the university in this Western mission?
[00:33:02.310]Let's not fool ourselves.
[00:33:03.470]The universities keep reproducing in absolute complicity
[00:33:06.750]this imperial design.
[00:33:08.390]That is why there are so very few of us professors
[00:33:11.230]teaching the knowledge and the cultures
[00:33:12.870]of the colonized while the mass majority of professors
[00:33:15.760]in the humanities continue to teach
[00:33:18.060]the knowledge and cultures of the empires.
[00:33:20.580]What I'm saying here is a fact, this is a truth.
[00:33:24.520]And it pains me to say it
[00:33:26.120]because I am part of this university.
[00:33:28.297]And in that sense, I am also complicit.
[00:33:31.000]Every time I fly back to Nebraska, I choose a window seat.
[00:33:35.110]I want to witness again that this topic,
[00:33:37.390]rectangles and circles
[00:33:39.170]in which the big agricultural corporations
[00:33:41.250]have buried this landscape
[00:33:43.070]to make it seem that there was nothing there before.
[00:33:46.267]The University of Nebraska has been complicit
[00:33:48.750]and responsible for the creation of that,
[00:33:51.010]this topic and natural landscape.
[00:33:53.250]I know that underneath all of that,
[00:33:55.420]we can still find and feel the footprints of the buffalo
[00:33:59.980]but it is not just the past that I am talking about.
[00:34:03.620]It is not just about the past of the original nations
[00:34:06.590]that share this land,
[00:34:08.010]but about the fact that these nations are here and living,
[00:34:11.160]and that they have learned how to resist and survive
[00:34:13.950]the colonial dystopia imposed over their reality,
[00:34:17.400]cultures that have to survive the end of the world
[00:34:19.550]so many times perhaps should be the ones to lead us
[00:34:23.010]into the future of the ecological catastrophes,
[00:34:26.320]the empires ledos.
[00:34:28.540]What I mean here is that the past knowledge
[00:34:30.600]of the original caretakers of this land
[00:34:32.770]is as important as their present knowledge
[00:34:35.180]that have allowed us to survive, live, and dream
[00:34:38.220]through this seemingly endless colonial mother madness.
[00:34:42.770]The Pawnee, the Ponca, the Omaha, the Otto, Missouri,
[00:34:45.433]the Dakota, Lakota, (indistinct) Aparejo.
[00:34:48.960]And I'm also talking about the many indigenous people
[00:34:51.490]from other lands that were displaced
[00:34:53.470]and continue to be displaced and brought here
[00:34:55.820]and are still the ones working these lands,
[00:34:58.230]or have we forgotten who is working the fields today
[00:35:01.030]and who is working on meat back in industries?
[00:35:03.850]So many of them are indigenous people
[00:35:06.312]from Central America and Mexico.
[00:35:09.042](speaker speaks in foreign language)
[00:35:13.760]to mention just a few.
[00:35:14.780]Displaced from their originally lands
[00:35:16.940]by the same corporations employing them here
[00:35:20.320]as cheap and exploited labor.
[00:35:22.210]What if and I leave it here,
[00:35:23.470]what if giving the land back meant creating a natural space
[00:35:28.210]with ample land for the study and teaching
[00:35:30.990]of the indigenous knowledge by indigenous professors
[00:35:34.070]that the University of Nebraska has neglect us for so long
[00:35:37.560]so the next generations of Nebraskans can know their history
[00:35:41.240]and have pride in it.
[00:35:43.290]A true institute of indigenous knowledge
[00:35:45.900]led by indigenous scholars to teach everything
[00:35:48.610]from indigenous philosophy to agriculture,
[00:35:50.670]connecting the knowledge of the indigenous cultures
[00:35:53.237]of the Nebraska with those of the rest
[00:35:55.840]of the American continent beyond the US.
[00:35:59.210]Nations, who by the way,
[00:36:00.690]were demographically bigger than all of Europe.
[00:36:03.920]Let's ask ourself what is truly stopping us from doing this.
[00:36:15.570]I think this is a good point,
[00:36:18.590]really provocative point to open up to conversation.
[00:36:22.660]I think we lost Nasia,
[00:36:23.850]but hopefully she will be able to log back on.
[00:36:28.650]Campus internet, not always the most reliable.
[00:36:38.052]I see some questions in the chat already.
[00:36:40.900]One is what is the best way to close the information gap
[00:36:44.840]in our schools?
[00:36:45.840]How do you get the teacher's college involved at UNL?
[00:36:51.900]Before I answer, does anybody else want to jump in?
[00:37:02.280]Okay, well, I think there's a couple of ways
[00:37:06.170]to approach a question like this.
[00:37:08.930]And part of it is that there has to be a broader awareness,
[00:37:13.110]like a culture shift that indigenous people matter
[00:37:15.780]and indigenous knowledges matter.
[00:37:19.020]And that understanding has to be there,
[00:37:25.090]recognizing that indigenous issues are not niche,
[00:37:27.740]but are central.
[00:37:29.080]And there's ways to do it.
[00:37:31.360]And I know the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
[00:37:35.490]developed what's known as the First Nation's fusion model,
[00:37:39.280]which basically just kind of relies on volunteers
[00:37:42.170]and grassroots efforts to get to use the knowledge
[00:37:46.410]in experts, in indigenous studies to help train professors
[00:37:50.560]in other classes and get them to integrate
[00:37:52.690]indigenous knowledge into all of their classes
[00:37:55.440]and not just classes specifically on indigenous people.
[00:38:00.270]That's one model.
[00:38:05.793]I think the most fundamental change that needs to happen
[00:38:08.470]is hiring additional indigenous faculty.
[00:38:12.050]And that is where I think change needs to start.
[00:38:17.889]The importance in the hiring priorities
[00:38:20.207]are fundamental and for the entire state,
[00:38:23.090]for the school system, for everything.
[00:38:24.920]When UNL values and insist on our hiring priorities
[00:38:31.710]for hiring indigenous studies people,
[00:38:34.660]that changes and trickles down to everything else
[00:38:37.130]in the state.
[00:38:37.963]That's why some of our biggest battles
[00:38:40.090]have to be in their departmental hiring priorities.
[00:38:51.640]How can we as private citizens help advocate
[00:38:55.200]for greater support for an understanding
[00:38:58.550]of indigenous scholars?
[00:39:11.210]I think a really good way that you could provide support
[00:39:14.290]and advocate for supporting these scholars
[00:39:16.690]would be educating yourselves first.
[00:39:19.560]So read the books that native scholars put out
[00:39:21.970]or not even native scholars, just native authors in general.
[00:39:24.830]So that way you have an understanding of what positions
[00:39:27.249]they are in and what they're looking for
[00:39:30.600]from the public as a whole.
[00:39:35.190]Yeah. And I think being aware and involved.
[00:39:39.390]So education has become so politicized recently, right?
[00:39:43.010]I think we're all aware of that
[00:39:45.350]and to continue to push for this space
[00:39:49.200]and to push back against people who would prefer
[00:39:52.560]that this history not be told or be told in a gentler form.
[00:40:03.170]are you all leading the way with this work
[00:40:05.820]at University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
[00:40:07.330]Are other universities in the country
[00:40:09.540]also addressing these issues?
[00:40:15.840]I mean, this is a kind of I think difficult question, right?
[00:40:20.010]Because if I'm answering it honestly,
[00:40:22.310]I would say the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:40:24.170]is well behind a lot of other peer universities
[00:40:26.980]in the Big Ten.
[00:40:27.940]I mean, our university, although we have been working
[00:40:31.430]on a land acknowledgement proposal
[00:40:33.350]that includes action items for the past two or three years,
[00:40:38.570]we do not yet even have an official land acknowledgement,
[00:40:41.900]whereas that has become pretty standard in the Big Ten.
[00:40:45.490]And then when it comes to things like providing resources
[00:40:48.780]for students, I mean,
[00:40:49.760]I think that the low native student enrollment numbers
[00:40:53.030]just reemphasize how there need to be more resources
[00:40:58.810]for native students.
[00:41:01.410]And I think that there are universities
[00:41:03.680]that are trying to do this work.
[00:41:05.270]The University of Minnesota announced this year
[00:41:10.360]that they're increasing tuition remittance
[00:41:13.440]for native students, although there's complicated issues
[00:41:16.150]about which native students qualify for that support there.
[00:41:20.830]And there's so many different programs that are springing up
[00:41:25.560]at so many different universities,
[00:41:27.510]usually through the hard work of indigenous scholars
[00:41:31.447]and indigenous communities
[00:41:32.610]that I think there's so many possibilities.
[00:41:35.520]We're in a moment of really great possibility
[00:41:37.430]if we can just take action.
[00:41:39.880]There are several areas in our country
[00:41:42.160]which have incorporated free tuition for tribal members
[00:41:44.240]in their area.
[00:41:45.073]How can we begin this in Nebraska?
[00:41:46.430]Not just at UNL, but all public colleges and universities
[00:41:49.610]since models already exist?
[00:41:51.510]Which is a great follow up to what I was just talking about.
[00:41:56.600]Are you okay if I take this one again?
[00:41:58.670]Sorry, I don't wanna keep talking.
[00:42:01.530]You're good? Okay.
[00:42:03.190]So I think that this has to come
[00:42:06.870]from university administration, right?
[00:42:09.290]And Chancellor Green has spoken about trying to find ways
[00:42:13.590]to make the tuition more accessible
[00:42:19.262]and deal with some of these issues.
[00:42:21.270]I think the thing that's important to keep in mind
[00:42:23.660]is that there are, I think, six native nations
[00:42:26.960]with headquarters currently in Nebraska.
[00:42:31.170]But there are like a dozen more native nations
[00:42:34.950]who have been displaced from Nebraska, right?
[00:42:37.050]And so we should be also be making sure
[00:42:39.890]to not replicate colonial boundaries
[00:42:42.640]when we're advocating for student resources
[00:42:47.960]and make sure that all of the people
[00:42:49.860]who have ties to this land are included.
[00:42:56.850]Are you working with the truth and reconciliation folks
[00:42:59.730]preparing the bibliography of Nebraska minority writings,
[00:43:02.950]potentially a good source for K12
[00:43:05.410]and also university students?
[00:43:12.540]The short answer to that is no,
[00:43:16.550]but the longer answer is only because
[00:43:19.830]there's just not enough native faculty on campus
[00:43:22.520]to be doing that work, right?
[00:43:27.318]They are working with indigenous people in Nebraska,
[00:43:29.730]just not, I don't think any of us specifically,
[00:43:34.340]but yeah, I agree that will be a great resource.
[00:43:40.800]How can alumni help push the university
[00:43:43.080]to hire more indigenous professors?
[00:43:47.310]I'm gonna not answer this one.
[00:43:49.870]That's a wonderful question there
[00:43:53.400]because the administration will listen to alumni, right?
[00:43:57.910]So I think a way of also supporting this kind of work
[00:44:01.730]is exactly what some of alumni are doing right here today.
[00:44:06.810]We, in this part of their university,
[00:44:09.560]we are doing events all the time,
[00:44:12.060]all the time events for the public.
[00:44:13.770]We suspend our research and our research responsibilities
[00:44:17.692]to do events for the public,
[00:44:18.750]because we know that this is more important than us.
[00:44:22.070]Come to our events, voice your opinions.
[00:44:25.620]Your voice is very much listened to by our administration.
[00:44:34.250]Samantha, I'm gonna direct this question at you.
[00:44:38.410]Can you imagine how we could build
[00:44:41.890]broader community participation
[00:44:43.960]in thinking about these questions of Land Back at UNL?
[00:44:50.320]Well, I think the convention like this
[00:44:52.830]is a really great start.
[00:44:54.280]Getting the information out there
[00:44:56.000]so people can start forming their own opinions on it
[00:44:58.240]based off of indigenous perspectives.
[00:45:01.100]On the university level itself,
[00:45:02.810]I think a really great way
[00:45:04.790]besides incorporating it into our classrooms
[00:45:07.280]would be requiring students to come to these conversations,
[00:45:12.210]not necessarily this one specifically,
[00:45:13.820]but I know when I was a freshman, I was required to come,
[00:45:16.910]I don't even remember what it's called
[00:45:18.260]but they had an event where you could come in
[00:45:23.420]and talk about your experiences.
[00:45:25.100]But because there's only 50 indigenous students,
[00:45:27.840]it's really difficult for us to share our opinions,
[00:45:31.460]to build this community that we need to have.
[00:45:33.690]And so having a specific in indigenous-centered event
[00:45:38.000]like that, preferably not on Zoom because, you know.
[00:45:41.780]But it would be really beneficial for us
[00:45:45.080]to have our voices heard and then talk about
[00:45:47.750]what the community could do to build a better place for us
[00:45:52.290]and for the community as a whole.
[00:45:55.170]Thank you. Someone pointed out that UNL already has
[00:45:58.670]the free tuition to all students under 60,000,
[00:46:01.130]which is of course, accessible to indigenous students
[00:46:05.040]and adding free tuition to all native students
[00:46:06.980]might be an easy add on that is a really great point.
[00:46:09.470]And I think something that university administration
[00:46:11.860]is considering and taking seriously.
[00:46:14.260]I think another part of that conversation is that living
[00:46:19.360]as a college student is also expensive. Right?
[00:46:21.860]And so making additional resources available to students,
[00:46:26.260]I know was talking about some of the unexpected costs
[00:46:30.600]that come up that can be a barrier for all first generation,
[00:46:34.930]but you know sometimes in particular indigenous students
[00:46:38.600]and other students of color.
[00:46:40.340]And so those are things
[00:46:43.330]I think that should be considered as well.
[00:46:50.740]Other thoughts or questions
[00:46:52.370]or anything you want to say to each other?
[00:46:58.860]Just real quick, Margaret.
[00:46:59.900]You mentioned that we must go beyond tuition
[00:47:02.161]and I am of the thinking that a public university
[00:47:05.060]should for it to be public, should be tuition free.
[00:47:08.400]If it's not tuition free, it's not public.
[00:47:10.930]So, and there I'm with you, but even if we had tuition free,
[00:47:16.560]a lot of our problems will still be there.
[00:47:20.410]Because this idea that is the university is education
[00:47:24.270]that is gonna save us.
[00:47:25.403]It's the university that is gonna save us.
[00:47:28.519]And I'm part of a university,
[00:47:29.517]I'm not so sure about that
[00:47:30.870]because the university for too long
[00:47:32.540]has been part of the problem.
[00:47:34.500]So that's why when I envision Land Back,
[00:47:36.800]I imagine just another system of university, right?
[00:47:40.200]Based on indigenous knowledge,
[00:47:41.960]based on Latin-American knowledge, right.
[00:47:45.310]Based on African-American knowledge.
[00:47:47.520]That is not that European university that reproduce
[00:47:50.480]a lot of the things that devalue our cultures
[00:47:53.012]and our knowledge, right?
[00:47:55.670]So that Land Back should be literal,
[00:47:57.490]should not be the university being more generous.
[00:48:00.743]Give that back so that can be turned
[00:48:03.640]into a different kind of university.
[00:48:09.950]Yeah, so there's another question about how advocates
[00:48:13.970]and tribes can assist in the effort for Land Back at UNL.
[00:48:19.920]And I mean, I think a lot of what we have said already,
[00:48:27.260]and again, I think that there's also opportunity
[00:48:31.950]so one of the things with the way that the land
[00:48:35.020]and private property system works in the United States
[00:48:37.620]is that like the Morrill Act lands
[00:48:40.420]are sold to individuals, right?
[00:48:42.150]Or sometimes corporations and they've passed out,
[00:48:45.580]like they've been passed two different property owners
[00:48:50.000]along the way.
[00:48:50.970]And so I think that there are are ways to also think about
[00:48:55.120]the other forms of reconciliation
[00:48:58.300]and Land Back that individuals have done
[00:49:00.370]which include returning literal pieces of land
[00:49:04.210]as educational spaces as shared spaces
[00:49:09.830]to plant corn and share stories and build relationships.
[00:49:15.070]And I think that looking beyond the university
[00:49:18.110]to create indigenous centered opportunities
[00:49:24.030]is another way to approach this question,
[00:49:26.810]because like the point you made Luis,
[00:49:31.330]there's times where you question
[00:49:33.800]how much do you want to change the system
[00:49:35.863]or reform the system
[00:49:37.490]and how much do you want something completely different.
[00:49:43.400]Or the question about can we at least change
[00:49:45.030]the name of Morrill Hall.
[00:49:47.580]And I mean, I think that gets at an important part, right?
[00:49:50.370]About some of these and the point I was trying to raise
[00:49:54.700]by talking about that sign at the beginning, right?
[00:49:58.080]There are so many ways that this history
[00:50:02.200]of land taking, indigenous erasure et cetera,
[00:50:04.790]are reproduced physically in the space on campus.
[00:50:09.010]And it would be nice.
[00:50:10.340]It would be nice to reimagine the physical space of campus
[00:50:13.920]in a way that includes indigenous people.
[00:50:16.900]Because when I do my walking tour with my classes,
[00:50:19.960]most of what I spend my time pointing out is absence.
[00:50:22.870]I mean, it would be great to rethink
[00:50:25.310]what presence could look like.
[00:50:29.840]A question about tribal colleges,
[00:50:32.800]and a way that the states can support tribal colleges
[00:50:37.000]and expand the few that exist.
[00:50:41.330]I mean, I think again, that has a lot to do
[00:50:43.240]with resources and funding.
[00:50:48.360]And also, I mean, it's hard, right?
[00:50:55.470]Those should be tribally run and controlled, right?
[00:50:59.270]Not by the state.
[00:51:01.020]And so I don't know if this is really answering
[00:51:02.960]the question, but I think the best way the state
[00:51:05.290]can support tribal colleges
[00:51:06.590]is by letting them run themselves with adequate funding.
[00:51:12.660]Any other final thoughts from Luis or Samantha?
[00:51:19.689]You know, I think an important take away from this
[00:51:21.730]is that we are still here
[00:51:23.537]and that we are in the education system
[00:51:27.130]and that we are trying very hard to create better futures
[00:51:30.403]for ourselves and for our communities
[00:51:32.860]and we really appreciate all the support
[00:51:35.670]that the university gives us already
[00:51:37.250]and we hope that they will take
[00:51:38.937]our suggestions into consideration.
[00:51:46.580]I am gonna add something to what Samantha just said there,
[00:51:48.900]because she's so right in that,
[00:51:51.560]I mean, sometimes when we talk about these topics,
[00:51:54.360]we're very passionate about them.
[00:51:55.960]This is what we study too.
[00:51:57.960]And sometimes it sounds very hard what we are proposing,
[00:52:03.662]but just our mere presence, like Samantha says here,
[00:52:06.730]the presence of you listening to us right now
[00:52:09.450]and these conversations,
[00:52:11.640]big changes happen little by little like that, right?
[00:52:16.153]Our infiltration into these systems of knowledge has...
[00:52:21.480]Maybe we don't see the...
[00:52:24.140]Maybe we lose our little battles, right?
[00:52:26.210]But the next generations keep on going.
[00:52:28.650]So I think part of being young, I think is that,
[00:52:33.880]and part of students being young
[00:52:35.260]is the horizon of possibilities also is always open.
[00:52:40.030]So thank you, Samantha.
[00:52:41.740]You inspire us to, and Nasia too,
[00:52:44.013]that was not able to return.
[00:52:48.120]Right. Well, I think those are two very strong sentiments
[00:52:51.860]to end on and good, good thoughts to leave with.
[00:52:57.060]So thank you to Luis and Samantha, and Nasia
[00:53:01.790]for taking the time to talk with us today.
[00:53:03.700]Thank you to Margaret and everybody else
[00:53:06.090]at the center for making this space for us.
[00:53:08.730]And thank you to all of you in the audience
[00:53:10.713]for coming in, listening, and thinking through
[00:53:14.380]this question with us.
[00:53:20.140]I'll just end by encouraging everyone
[00:53:22.060]to stay for the next set of sessions that begin at one.
[00:53:25.310]And you can find information on the topics
[00:53:30.020]and the Zoom links on our website,
[00:53:32.080]and just wanna thank our amazing panel, Luis, Margaret,
[00:53:36.890]Samantha, Nasia, thank you so much.
[00:53:39.060]It was so stimulating and thank you to all who attended
[00:53:41.550]and participated in the virtual chat.
[00:53:44.530]And we sure wish we could be meeting in person,
[00:53:48.660]but maybe we can have some follow up conversations
[00:53:52.120]in the fall to think about where to go from here.
[00:53:55.620]And again, thank you so much for all your work.
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