Settler Colonial Universities

Along with collaborators Meredith McCoy and Jennifer Guiliano, I am working on an article that examines the tensions between the corporatized “equity, diversity, and inclusion” (EDI) initiatives that are currently popular in U.S. higher education and the need for universities to address their historical and ongoing participation in Indigenous dispossession and genocide. At the heart of this article is our concern that discourses of “inclusion” are ill-equipped to encompass the need for sovereignty. Each employed at universities located in regions with distinct histories of Indigenous dispossession and genocide, we are further exploring the commonalities and regional differences that influence how universities might meaningfully conceptualize the work that needs to be done.

Indigenous Dispossession at Salem State

Related to my work with Meredith McCoy and Jennifer Guiliano, I have been laying the groundwork for the work that my university needs to do to reckon with and redress its role in Indigenous dispossession and genocide. My work includes supervising two graduate students, Jess Cook and Hannah Drew, who are undertaking research on Salem’s history, along with my colleague Keja Valens; working with colleagues in the School of Education and across the university to develop a shared understanding of what “decolonization” does (and does not) mean in the context of U.S. higher education; and collaborating with our Center for Civic Engagement to build stronger relationships with Massachusett Nation, the stewards of the Pawtucket and Naumkeag land on which the university sits, as well as Indigenous advocacy groups in the region.

Co-written with Meredith McCoy and Jennifer Guiliano, this article responds to the brilliant Land Grab Universities project, which quantifies the ways that the expropriation of Indigenous lands generated vast wealth for land-grant universities. The article discusses the significance of the project as well as ways the project might be used to address settler colonialism beyond land-grant universities and push institutions towards naming and remediating their complicity in both the history and present of Indigenous dispossession and genocide.