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Land Grab U:

Colonial Debts of the Settler University

How is public higher education implicated with settler colonial dispossession and genocide? What are methods to visualize, teach, and encourage continual investigation and intervention into these continually unfolding histories? Project team leaders behind Polk Prize-winning Land Grab University research project and database join us to talk these questions and more in our November 2021 episode.

about our guest/s

Tristan Ahtone

Tristan is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and is incoming editor-at-large at Grist. He previously served as editor-in-chief at the Texas Observer and Indigenous Affairs editor at High Country News. He has reported for Al Jazeera America, PBS NewsHour, National Native News, NPR and National Geographic. Ahtone’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from the Gannett Foundation and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. He additionally led the High Country News team that received a George Polk Award, an IRE Award, a Sigma Award, a Society of News Design Award and a National Magazine Award nomination. A past president of the Native American Journalists Association, Ahtone is a 2017 Nieman Fellow and a director of the Muckrock Foundation

Dive into Tristan’s amazing journalistic portfolio at his website here.

Margaret Pearce

Margaret is a cartographer and writer, and enrolled Citizen Band Potawatomi. The founder and owner of Studio 1:1 , located on Penobscot traditional territory, she has worked on a wide range of cartographic projects and public art installations, and she has won numerous honors and fellowships recognizing her many gifts. In addition to being a leader on the graphics, maps, and research for Land Grab U, some highlights of her recent work include Mississippi Dialogues (work in progress) and “Coming Home to Indigenous Place Names in Canada.” She holds a PhD in Geography from Clark University and a BA from Hampshire College.

Learn more about Margaret and marvel at her vast catalog of research, writing, art, and cartography here.


Bobby is a historian of the United States, whose work focuses on Indigenous dispossession and US state formation in the nineteenth century American West. He was one of the lead researchers on the Land Grab U project, and he currently holds a faculty position at the University of Cambridge. He recently wrote a multi-award-winning article, entitled  “Accounting for Conquest: The Price of the Louisiana Purchase of Indian Country,”  entitled which was published in the Journal of American History.  Before coming to Cambridge, Bobby was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He has a PhD in History from UC Berkeley and a BA from Columbia University.

Read more about Bobby’s research at his faculty webpage here.


Music by Akrasis (Max Bowen on raps; Mark McKee on beats). Find them here.
Audio editing by Aliyah Boston