Tracking the History of Land-Grant Enrichment at the University of Arizona
Native nations have occupied Arizona since time immemorial. Long before Spanish missionaries and soldiers ventured into the Sonoran desert, the Hohokam, Navajo, Tohono O’odham, Apache, and numerous other Tribes called the area now known as Arizona home. Tucson, where the University of Arizona’s main campus sits, is recognized as “being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui” as the university acknowledges on its homepage.
Through the federal government’s land-grant programs, which began in the mid-19th century and continue today, Arizona has accumulated hundreds of thousands of acres of land around the state on behalf of the University of Arizona. This includes lands that were previously occupied by each of Arizona’s 22 federally-recognized Tribes, one Tribe that is not yet federally recognized, and two Tribes that were removed to Utah and New Mexico.
With this understanding, the University of Arizona Land-Grant Project Team began to explore the University of Arizona's history as a land-grant university, and how this designation directly impacted Arizona's Native nations in the late 19th century.
Thus, the goal of the University of Arizona Land-Grant Project is two-fold:
(1) to research, share, and begin to understand how the University of Arizona has been enriched from the 19th century dispossession of Native nations' land in Arizona; and,
(2) to provide students, faculty, researchers, and Arizona residents with an authoritative source of information and documentation about our history which will serve as a launching pad for further investigation, ground-breaking research, and original scholarship.
The University of Arizona Land-Grant Project website brings together the early history of Arizona Territory including Native land cessions, the founding of the University of Arizona, and the Morrill land-grant acts and related legislation. The Project website also illustrates through interactive maps some 775,012 acres of land that have been positively identified as having been transferred to the Arizona State Land Trust since statehood for the benefit and enrichment of the University of Arizona, to the detriment of Arizona's Native nations. The team continues to track down and locate land records that are associated with our land-grant status.
There is still much to learn. This resource is a work-in-progress which will be updated with new information frequently. For example, the team is just beginning to understand and document the financial rewards and distributions resulting from land-grant entitlements. We welcome feedback and suggestions as we continue to research and add to our knowledge and our history.
James E. Rogers College of Law Land-Grant Project Team
Robert A. Williams, Jr. (Lumbee), Regents Professor, E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program, James E. Rogers College of Law.
Teresa Miguel-Stearns, Associate Dean, Professor of Law, and Director, Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, James E. Rogers College of Law.
Cas Laskowski, Associate Librarian, Head of Research, Data & Instruction, and Technology & Empirical Law Librarian, Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, James E. Rogers College of Law.
Kristen Keck, Library Services Associate, Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, James E. Rogers College of Law.
Samantha Ginsburg, Law Library Fellow & Graduate Assistant, Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, James E. Rogers College of Law.