Indigenous land

 

Some Indigenous histories are preserved in stories, songs, ceremonies and elder testimony that are passed down orally - rather than with written records. These histories can constitute important evidence of past events. But they're sometimes ruled inadmissible as evidence in the American justice system.

Map of cultural resources, historic trails, and Native American concerns in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project
Bureau of Land Management

Several tribes have filed letters of protest against the recently approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project. The U.S. Interior Department signed off on the project at the end of last year; it allows for the drilling of 5,000 wells over the next decade by five operators.

Old Main, University of Wyoming. Photo: Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

If you've spent time on a college campus lately, you may have encountered a land acknowledgment - recognition of the tribes whose ancestral land the institution is built on. But land-grant universities, originally created to educate America's working class, also owe their founding to the seizure and sale of Indigenous land. The 1862 Morrill Act granted over 17 million acres for states to sell and raise endowment principal for the institutions.