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Like Open Rivers, I have long tried to answer the question of the value of river history and how can it be put to work to achieve environmental justice. While we each have a home or favorite river that captivates us, there is a broader, if unspoken, understanding of rivers and the role they play in shaping our history. Last fall I organized a conference that attempted to address this challenge. Called All Water Has a Memory: Rivers and American History, the conference featured presenters from academia, nature writing, and environmental and community activism who shared their history and experience of individual rivers in three sessions: Slavery and Freedom, Indigenous Resistance, and The Environmental Movement…
Mapping Indigenous lands in a way that changes, challenges, and improves the way people see history and contemporary conditions. It creates spaces where non-Indigenous people can learn more about the lands they inhabit, the history of those lands, and how to actively be part of a better future going forward together.
In spring 2020, two faculty members from the University of Minnesota Morris each incorporated a book called The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became U.S. Property by Martin Case into their course curricula. The book focuses on demystifying the stories and interconnectedness of the white, male treaty-signers responsible for dispossessing Indigenous peoples of their land. The following article shares their perspectives and reflections on teaching this text.
Land acknowledgement statements are increasingly common practice, but as they are developed, this article reminds us to ask “Are you doing it to make yourself feel better or to ease your guilt? Are you doing it because you agree that education is really important? Is there something that can come out of it?”