Actions for Land-Grant Institutions

In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and in light of reconciliation and redress for illegal land grabs that universities participated in, the Indigenous Data Lab strongly recommends that land-grant universities–and others—do the following to strengthen their relationship with Indigenous Peoples:

Understand tribal sovereignty and contemporary Native nations. 

Universities must commit funding for year round Indigenous-led, tribal sovereignty training for all faculty, staff, and students, including new hires; training could be offered during dates significant to the traditional stewards of the area in which universities are situated.

Incorporate capacity sharing initiatives. 

Capacity sharing is multidirectional and can be shared and built between both universities and Indigenous Peoples. Capacity sharing should take several forms; one example is ensuring that the course curriculum within every discipline is co-developed by Indigenous Peoples.

Create a space that celebrates, welcomes, and supports Indigenous Peoples all year round. 
  • Understand that Indigenous students, faculty, and staff often feel unwelcome even when universities are situated on traditional homelands. 
  • Acknowledge past harms, especially those committed by the university.
  • Address power imbalances. Examples include: 
    • Evaluating the authors represented on faculty bookshelves,
    • Highlighting Indigenous scholars in academic disciplines, or
    • Engaging in research that is beneficial, relevant, and inclusive to surrounding Indigenous communities. 
Compensate Indigenous Peoples for the land grabs that have occurred. 
  • Universities will never be able to compensate for the land that was taken. However, universities can adopt tuition-free, scholarships, endowments, or tuition differential policies to ensure that Indigenous students have access to education and resources. Other examples include:
    • Offering job preference or employment opportunities to local tribal people, 
    • Funding travel and conference fees for Indigenous faculty and staff, or 
    • Investing in Native-offered and designed curriculum resources.
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