The Humanities Pod

Indigenous Dispossession and the Founding of Cornell: Part 2 with Michael Witgen

January 21, 2021

In this follow up episode on Indigenous dispossession and land-grant universities, Paul Fleming and Jon Parmenter sit down with Professor Michael Witgen, professor of History and American Culture and twice former director of Native American Studies at the University of Michigan. In this segment, Michael provides insight into how non-removal treaties incrementally restricted traditional lands and life-ways for Anishinaabe while benefiting white settlers throughout the 19th century. Beyond his academic work, Michael also shares personal insights on generations of Native resilience in the Great Lakes from his position as a direct lineal descendant of a key Ojibwe signatory to the 1842 treaty that soon became one of the financial engines for establishing Cornell University. In light of this, he discusses how land-grant universities might begin to address this history.

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