Impacted nations

& Communities.


Acres of stolen Land.*

*Note: Our intentional use of the phrase “Stolen Land” seeks to emphasize the often misleading and deceptive practices of colonial agents and the duress under which Indigenous actors signed treaties and agreements. However, we recognize and do not seek to diminish the agency of Indigenous participants in these agreements and ways in which Indigenous sovereignties were asserted and have been protected through treaties.


This site was initiated as part of the response of Cornell University’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) to a March 2020 High Country News investigative report by Tristan Ahtone and Robert Lee titled “Land-Grab Universities.” This report tied the history of those educational institutions founded through the Land Grant College Act of 1862 (also known as the Morrill Act) to the forceful dispossession of Indigenous peoples, in some cases immediately prior to those lands’ disposition to universities. Essentially, the original funding for these land-grant universities is derived from land taken through a systematic and genocidal campaign of violence, fraud, forced treaties (some never ratified), dislocation, and death. Cornell received the most land through the provisions of the Morrill Act, almost 1 million acres in total.

To better understand this history and the specific impacts Cornell has had on Indigenous communities, AIISP formed a faculty committee to examine the issue in June 2020, the Cornell University and Indigenous Dispossession (CU&ID) Committee. The CU&ID committee’s task has been to present information and opinion about the implications of Indigenous dispossession for Cornell, and to advocate for redress to mend that history (Read more on the Activity Timeline). This site presents the ongoing results of our research. (Read more in Introduction).

Check out the List of Impacted Nations & Communities and our Goals & Methods for making it!

Recent Blog Posts

​​Land Acknowledgement

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State, and the United States of America.  We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hónǫ’ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ leadership.

In addition to the Gayogo̱hónǫ’ land acknowledgment but separate from it, the CU&ID project would like to emphasize: Cornell’s founding was enabled in the course of a national genocide by the sale of almost one million acres of stolen Indian land under the Morrill Act of 1862. To date the university has neither officially acknowledged its complicity in this theft nor has it offered any form of restitution to the hundreds of Native communities impacted.