This course will explore critical dimensions in American Indian land issues: historical land loss, contemporary tribal governmental efforts at land reclamation, stewardship, and co-management. We will begin by tracking the history of land dispossession from colonial settlement to the present day. We will then move on to explore the reality of contemporary tribal governance and how that critical function turns on jurisdiction over traditional lands. Are these lands owned outright? Are they held in trust by the US government for the benefit of the tribal nations? Are they traditional territories technically outside the control of the tribes, but with day-to-day stewardship and oversight provided by tribes? Finally, we will conclude the course with a speculative exercise that invites students to imagine an alternative future in which a specific factor in history played out differently.
This course is cross listed with Harvard Kennedy School as SUP 625.