How universities benefitted from Indigenous dispossession: Editorial

In a recent article for The Conversation, Caitlin Harvey discusses how public universities founded in the 19th century in countries like Canada directly benefitted from the dispossession of Indigenous people. Harvey writes that public universities received large tracts of Indigenous territory for endowment capital, as land could be given as a substitute for money. In Canada, Harvey notes that the University of Toronto’s predecessor, King’s College, received 225,000 acres; the University of Manitoba received an endowment of 150,000 acres; and the University of British Columbia exchanged land that was originally reserved for higher learning in BC for 3,000 acres of more valuable but unceded territory. Harvey writes that the land has been reshaped by universities by research in agricultural science and inventions such as mining technology. This pattern should be further explored, she concludes, in order to better understand how empire, colonialism, and Indigenous dispossession operated.

The Conversation