The University of Minnesota recently released a report that acknowledges its historical involvement in the genocide of Native Americans. The 185-page report is the outcome of a two-year investigation, which found that the university played an active role in the displacement, assimilation, and extermination of Native American communities in Minnesota during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The comprehensive report, prepared by a committee of 17 university faculty, staff, and students, was initiated as part of the university’s ongoing efforts to confront its past and foster a more inclusive environment for Indigenous people. University President Joan Gabel acknowledged the findings in a statement, expressing deep regret and a commitment to take action to address the institution’s role in the genocide.
According to the report, the University of Minnesota’s historical role in the Native American genocide was multifaceted. The institution played a direct part in the displacement of the Dakota and Ojibwe people from their ancestral lands by facilitating land cessions through treaties.
The university also contributed to the cultural genocide by supporting boarding schools that sought to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-American culture, stripping them of their native identities and languages.
The report further notes that the university’s Medical School conducted research on Native American communities without their consent, which resulted in the exploitation and mistreatment of these populations. This includes the improper handling and storage of Native American remains and burial objects, which were used for teaching and research purposes without the permission of the affected communities.
In response to the report, the University of Minnesota has committed to taking action to address its historical wrongs. These actions include repatriating Native American remains and burial objects, funding scholarships and support services for Indigenous students, and incorporating Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum.
Furthermore, the university is committed to establishing partnerships with Native American communities to work on initiatives addressing historical trauma and creating a more inclusive environment for Indigenous people on campus.
The University of Minnesota’s acknowledgment of its role in the genocide of Native Americans is a significant step toward reconciliation and healing. By addressing the past, the university aims to create a more inclusive and diverse environment for all members of its community, fostering understanding and respect for the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples.