(USNewsMag.com) – Over 150 years ago, more than 94,000 acres of land were sold by 11 Native American tribes to what is now the University of Minnesota. Now those tribes are seeking reparations from the University of Minnesota.
The Red Lake Nation as well as the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are among the tribes’ seeking reparations from the university, though a specific amount has not been stated.
On July 9, a descendant of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, An Garagiola, spoke out, saying funds from the university are not being used to improve the lives of Native Americans despite only being “there today because of everything that was taken.”
As a way to make up for past “mistreatment” of area tribes, an April report conducted by the University of Minnesota found the school should add more Native Americans to the faculty, offer Native American students more financial help, and return the land.
In 2021, officials at the University of Minnesota created a program that allows members of the 11 tribes to receive free or reduced tuition.
The University of Minnesota is not the only school to investigate the land taken from Native Americans. Cornell University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the University of California system, have all sought ways to acknowledge the land taken from Native American tribes.
The Morrill Act, which was signed on July 2, 1862, by former President Abraham Lincoln, allowed for over 10 million acres to be taken from 250 tribes. The Morrill Act allowed the states to use the land taken to create land-grant institutions of higher learning.
In 1980, the Sioux Nation was offered $105 million by the Supreme Court for the illegal government taking of their land. The money, currently estimated at $1 billion, is still unclaimed, as the Native American leaders called for returning the land instead of financial compensation.
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