Land-grant colleges were created in the mid-nineteenth century when the federal government sold off public lands and allowed states to use that money to create colleges. The land that was sold to support colleges was available because of a deliberate project to dispossess American Indians of land they inhabited. By encouraging westward migration, touting the “civilizing” influence of education, emphasizing agricultural and scientific education to establish international strength, and erasing Native rights and history, the land-grant colleges can be seen as an element of settler colonialism. Native American dispossession was not merely an unfortunate by-product of the establishment of land-grant colleges; rather, the colleges exist only because of a state-sponsored system of Native dispossession.
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