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Environmental Science and Policy
The relationships between land grant universities in New England and nearby Indigenous tribes are rooted in cultural and physical genocide and as well as countless other atrocities that still manifest today. Universities have played a unique role in the theft of Indigenous land and have a long history of exploitative and harmful research practices. Some universities have more programs or infrastructure for Indigenous peoples, whereas others make Native issues less of a priority. While many individuals at the schools we studied are trying to improve their programs and relationships with Indigenous nations, there is a long way to go.
This paper will give a brief overview of each of the six schools we studied and their Native American programs. These schools are:
o University of Maine (UMaine)
o University of New Hampshire (UNH)
o University of Vermont (UVM)
o University of Rhode Island (URI)
o University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass)
o University of Connecticut (UConn)
We conducted this research for the organization Farm to Institution New England (FINE) and have provided a series of recommendations compiled from our interviews for them and others. Organizations such as FINE that want to be involved with these university and tribal programs and relationships must consider several principles when entering into this work, given this fraught history. While our initial inquiry was whether food could create a bridge between Indigenous communities and land grant universities as that is FINE's focus, we found that food was not often directly present in official Indigenous programs at land grant universities. One reason for this is because, as our interviewees identified, there are more pressing desires and needs for university Native American programs that have to be addressed first. However, we did come across food sovereignty projects in the Northeast that are not tied to higher education institutions.
© 2021 The authors
McCurdy, Maeve; Pelz-Sharpe, Fee; and Perrotto, Sofia, ""We need to focus on the damn land": Land Grant Universities and Indigenous Nations in the Northeast" (2021). Capstone, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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