Land-grant universities were created in the 1800s to meet a growing demand for agricultural and technical education, but at a cruel cost. The U.S. took nearly 11 million acres of land from approximately 250 tribes, bands, and communities to create these institutions.
As a land-grant university, UC Davis faces the challenge of fully reckoning with and growing from our history to ensure we are advancing equity, creating opportunity for Native American students, and fulfilling the promise to have a profound positive public impact on our world through teaching, research, and service.
Grand Challenges will support the work of addressing the harmful origins and complex aims of our land-grant university while developing a model of positive public impact and equity for others to follow.
The work of reimagining our university begins internally by increasing university system efficiency, addressing continuing challenges, forging meaningful and collaborative relationships with community partners and Native nations, breaking down disciplinary silos, and building pathways for collaboration and innovation that result in exceptional public good.
The University of California Land Grab: A Legacy of Profit from Indigenous Land report contains key learnings and recommendations from a two-part forum held Sept. 25 and Oct. 30, 2020. The forum was organized by Berkeley staff, graduate students, and faculty, with key input from colleagues at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis, and UC Riverside.
Since January 2023, interviews have been conducted with faculty, staff, and students at 22 land-grant universities to document the actions (or lack thereof) that these institutions have taken to support Native students, engage with Tribes, and generally Indigenize their campuses. The purpose of this graduate student-generated report is to provide a benchmark and assessment of relevant efforts across the country. This initial report is a short summary of the contents, as well as the “better” practices being taken. This is the first iteration of the report and will be expanded upon with more universities and additional content.
How we are facing this challenge
We are building a campus-wide network of challengers, if you are interested in joining, please email us.