Indigenous Dispossession and the Founding of Cornell: Part 2 with Michael Witgen

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Speakers 

Jon Parmenter, associate professor of history at Cornell University
Paul Fleming, Taylor Family Director of the Society for the Humanities and the L. Sanford and Jo Mills Reis Professor of Humanities
Michael Witgen, professor and former director of Native American Studies at the University of Michigan

Transcript

Paul (00:03):

Hello, and welcome to the Humanities Pod. I'm Paul Fleming, and today we're continuing our discussion of Indigenous dispossession, land-grant universities, and Cornell University. We have with us today Professor Michael Witgen, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, and past director of the program of Native American Studies at the University of Michigan where he was a professor in the departments of American Culture and History.

Michael (00:30):

Before we start talking about individual tribes, I think we need to have a national conversation that centers on the fact that the land-grant universities, that piece of the Republic, was directly taken from dispossessed stolen Indian land, that needs to be a conversation: what it means, what does the nation owe to Native people?

Paul (01:00):

We also welcome back John Parmenter, associate professor of history at Cornell, who will help lead the discussion today.

Jon (01:06):

Hi, Paul.

Paul (01:07):

Great to have you back, Jon.

Jon (01:08):

Thank you very much.

Paul (01:08):

So last time we talked with Jon about the dispossession of Indigenous land, especially in Wisconsin, that formed the overwhelming basis of Ezra Cornell's Morrill Act scrip purchases and thus the foundation of Cornell. With Michael Witgen, we have a double expert to further elaborate this crucial and rather unknown history. Michael has just finished a project on the 19th-century Ojibwe treaties, including the treaties between 1837 and 1847, whose land was purchased shortly thereafter by Ezra Cornell to help found the land-grant university in his namesake. Moreover, Michael is a direct lineal descendant, fifth-generation grandson of one of the key signatories of the 1842 treaty that created the Red Cliff Reservation in Wisconsin, which is his home community. So let's get right into it. The treaties with the Ojibwe were somewhat unique at the time insofar as they weren't removal treaties; that is, the Ojibwe were allowed to stay on their lands. Rather, these treaties focus on natural resources. It was about the rights to timber and mining. I wonder, Michael, if you could give us some more information about these treaties and their specifics since it's precisely the rights to the resources, especially timber, that was so important to Cornell.

Michael (02:29):

Sure. Also, another word for Ojibwe is Anishinaabe, which for Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi people would mean, ‘a real human being’. The Anishinaabe people are spread throughout the Great Lakes. Part of what happens is when the United States takes possession of what's come to be Northwest Territory – so the land between the Mississippi Valley and the Appalachian Mountains – and they create this Northwest Ordinance as a way to sort of take that land and turn it into public domain and then open that public domain for settlement. That process imagines a sort of an empty wilderness which in fact does not exist. The US runs into and actually suffers two devastating military defeats in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, where they come to grips with the fact that they need to deal with the treatment of Native people, that they haven't conquered them. The Treaty of Paris that ended the revolution and granted this territory to the US doesn't mean it's realizable as a public domain.

So, the US creates this Northwest Ordinance. In places where the Northwest Territory connects to the Mississippi and therefore to US markets – places like Ohio, Indiana, Illinois – they rapidly become States because they reached the 60,000 white settler population. There's a lot more pressure. Indian peoples do get removed from those territories. But the Michigan territory, which is north of the Ohio, doesn't naturally connect to – until the Erie Canal – doesn't really connect to US markets, so there's just much less pressure. Part of what happens with these treaties is that it's not until post-Erie Canal that there's a pressure to settle in Michigan, even less pressure to settle in Wisconsin. As you noted to the extent there is settlement, it tends to be in the Southern part of those territories or states. The northern parts of the territories are not particularly well-suited for farming, but they do realize at some point that they are excellent pineries, and the upper peninsula is a copper-rich area. But it's not until you have the infrastructure that will allow you to remove those resources that there's any pressure to do that. So, one of the things that happens is that Ojibwe are just not pressured to accept removal.

Paul (04:39):

Oh, that's really interesting because I think, you know, the idea that it was dependent upon the Erie Canal and infrastructure being in place to first find what's ‘exploitable’, ‘settleable’, in a kind of contemporary, important context. What we'd like to learn more about is the importance of the natural resources. As you said, there was an invitation to remove, but not a demand or a forced removal. That interface between, on the one hand, this desire for natural resources, the Ojibwe having resources that are really important to them and wanting to stay in close proximity to them, for their traditions and for their economy and all sorts of things. Therefore, that kind of tension between the Ojibwe still being there and colonist settlers trying to get out the resources, and how that tension worked out. To think about that first in the 1840s, but then how that progressed in the 1860s and the 1880s. I'm sure there's a history to the unfolding of the effects of these treaties that would be really interesting to hear about.

Michael (05:45):

Sure. As I mentioned, places like Ohio sell super fast. Ohio is a state by 1803. It doesn’t even go through a territorial period because there's already 60,000 people. In Michigan, not only are there less settlers, but basically the economic engine for the Michigan territory after its creation 1805 is the fur trade. Fur trade only works if Indian people are still living like Indian people. So, there's no forced removal, there's no civilizing process.

Giving an example as late as 1820 – that's 15 years after Michigan's been created as a territory – the white population in Michigan territory is 9,000 people, 9,000 white people. That's Michigan territory, which would actually have been Michigan, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota. At that point you could imagine if you were 20 years old when the territory is formed in 1805, 15 years later when you're 35, if you're an Anishinaabe person, you're still in the demographic majority. If you go to Detroit, there’s white people, but anywhere else, you go – say St. Marie, Mackinaw – it’s still a Native space. Then between 1820, and then say 1840, that flips. And by 1840, I believe in the lower peninsula alone, the population is 85,000 in Michigan. Within your lifetime, you would see a radical shift.

As the shift happens after 1826, there's more pressure to cede territory, to cede title, and put it into circulation. In the 1830s, when they're making those treaties – in 1836 there is a big treaty in Michigan that proceeds the 1837 treaty in Wisconsin. They asked the people in Michigan to consider the idea that they'll remove west of the Mississippi. They also make that treaty with a sunset for reservations that will end in five years. But the treaty also contains a provision that on any land that's ceded, but not settled as private property, Native peoples retain the right to hunt, fish, and harvest resources. So that treaty is accepted in part because the Ojibwe are guaranteed that they’ll renegotiate the sunset and will make permanent reservations, which they do. The 1837 treaty, which is the first of the treaties in Wisconsin that Cornell benefits from, they don't even make an effort to ask for removal or ask them to consider  removal because there’s just too little pressure for settlement. What they want is access to the pine lands. The Ojibwe negotiating that treaty make the same provision; they basically say they want the right to harvest maple sugar, harvest wild rice, hunt, and fish. They make the deal that any land that is not private property, that's public land, they can retain those use rights to. That’s what happened in 1832. The other thing I would stop and say here: these treaties are really coercive.

Music (8:39)

Michael (08:44):

So one of the things that happens is, like the 1836 treaty that I mentioned in Michigan, one of the ways they affect that treaty is they remove the leadership and take them to Washington DC, so they can take them out of their home communities and put more pressure on them. They also use fur traders who are usually intermarried into the communities to put pressure on them to cede land. The fur traders are usually trying to induce them to sign these treaties because they can claim portions of the annuity to cover a so-called debt that has been unpaid. They're going to make cash money off these treaties. So, there's a lot of coercion that goes on.

The later treaties, 1842 and 1854 treaties in Wisconsin that my relative signed, he flat out says, “no, I won't sign it.” And he's essentially told by the treaty commissioner that, “look, we're going to take the land, whether you want it or not, but this way you could have compensation for it.” The deal that he makes is that, “okay, you have to put an article into the treaty that promises we won’t be removed from our homeland.” That's what they successfully sort of negotiated: both the use rights and that they don't want us to sell land, but if you're going to force me to do it, I'll only do so if you're going to guarantee that I won't be removed. That's the kind of backdrop to how these treaties get made.

Jon (10:03):

I was going to say, Michael, one of the most interesting things to me in your Infinity of Nations book is even though these treaties were not surrender treaties, or not removal treaties, I should say, and people were able to stay in place, you still talk a lot about how they did have a significant economic and political impact on the people in terms of how the means of providing a living for themselves and assembling political authority still underwent really drastic changes due to the changes that were brought about by the treaty. I wondered if you could elaborate a bit on that for us.

Michael (10:37):

Sure. A project section that I just finished, I touched on this in my first book, but in the second book that I just wrote, one of the things that's interesting about Michigan, Wisconsin—as opposed to say, think of other famous removal-era territory, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, those Native peoples occupied land that was valuable for land itself. It was being turned into cotton production. One of the things that happens with Ojibwe, like I said, there the land isn't [as] valuable, so there's less pressure on removal. But the other thing that begins to happen is what I mentioned before. This annuity process ends up being super lucrative for white people. In other words, with the 1836 treaty that I just mentioned, of the first payment of $40,000 annuities, less than $2,000 actually makes it to the tribe. Traders claim, literally claim, the other $38,000 as compensation for debt that they're owed. In addition to that, when they do the treaty payments, a portion of that is cash money. So those white people get that cash money claimed as debt. But they're also the same people that [trade goods]. A portion of the annuity is [for] provisions. So [there are] food supplies and also trade goods up to often $20, $30,000 worth of provisions in trade goods in a treaty. Well, the people who supply that to the federal government, same group of traders. So they're making money on both ends of this.

It's in my second book, what I call a “political economy of plunder.” Basically, it doesn't take long for state officials, territorial officials, fur traders to realize that Indians are far more valuable if we leave them in place and then keep it going as an ongoing colonial project. This is the same thing that happens in 1837 with that treaty: traders there [who] are intermarried with the tribes claim (I think) up to  $100,000 or more in cash payment as part of the treaty settlement. Then they claim additional money through the annuity process that they claim is debt. They also provide those provisions that are part of the treaty. So, essentially the thing that is fueling the economy in Michigan and Wisconsin is the presence of Indian people and the sort of adjudication of their treaties and the provision of their lot.

Jon (12:45):

So, in other words, the government machine that gets set up, the bureaucracy to kind of manage the Indian Affairs, as it was referred to in the 19th century, really does become, in your view, a pretty substantial and profitable bureaucracy.

Michael (12:56):

Oh yeah. There's far more money moving into Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota – there's more money that's put into those territories from this business of settling Indian treaties than has ever been put in, in terms of infrastructure, payments for the legislature. It's an annual thing. In fact, one of the biggest tragedies in Ojibwe history is the time Minnesota officials tried to draw Ojibwe from Lake Superior to collect their annuities in Minnesota – because they wanted them getting their annuities in Minnesota so that they could then spend it on trade goods and provisions there – but they didn't adequately provide provisions for those people who were stranded in Minnesota and tried to walk back to their homelands. Over a thousand people died because they were exposed to winter. So it was lucrative enough that people were trying to make their home territory the place where annuities would be dispensed.

Jon (13:47)

Is there a point in the 19th century where you would say then – we know the treaty period we're talking about happens largely between, [in] Wisconsin anyway, between 1837 and 1854 – at what point are you seeing people's traditional lifeways undergo a radical change? At what point would people have recognized that, “we're not able to live in the same way our parents, our grandparents on might have?” Is there a way to talk about when that happened?

Michael (14:15):

As the state becomes more of a thing in the Northwest Territory, the kind of long seasonal rounds that you could have once practiced – where you would maybe leave Mackinaw and go out into the prairies and Minnesota, and then maybe even up into what now would be Manitoba, and then circle back through Hudson's Bay – you can't make those big, long arcs where you would be hunting over a period of year or two, because it's just increasingly difficult with state formation, increasingly making that kind of travel difficult. One of the ways that people adapt early on – fishing becomes a really important part of Ojibwe adaptation. There's commercial fishing. Maple syrup is a commodity that a lot of people are making and selling to settlers. They adapt these sorts of things. At some point, people also start including seasonal rounds in the timber industry. That, I know, goes up through the 20th century, where men will practice still some version of seasonal rounds – they’re hunting, they're fishing, they're running trap lines. And then, for part of the year, they're earning hard currency working in timber mills or fishing. That kind of adaptation allows people to subsist with a pretty traditional life for a long time.

Jon (15:26):

So, with a wage labor component to it then.

Michael (15:30):

One of the other big components, particularly for Native peoples in Wisconsin and Minnesota, is that wild rice is a mainstay for their food source. That sustains them through most of the 19th century. They're not utterly dependent on rations from the federal government because they have access to fishing and hunting, but also, most especially, wild rice. Where that gets damaged is in the latter part of the 19th century, as the timber loggers come in, they start storing logs in the water on lakes; that ends up destroying a lot of the wild rice properties. So, mid- to late 19th century, a lot of the wild rice beds get destroyed through the logging industry practices. That's when they really begin to suffer in terms of being less able to be independent and become more dependent on government subsidies.

Music (16:16)

Paul (16:25):

I was wondering now if we could pivot a little bit to the personal level, if you're okay with that, Michael? Since you are a member of the Red Cliff Reservation, I'm just wondering how much time did you spend growing up there? How much time do you spend now? What's your relationship?

Michael (16:39):

I'm mostly there in the summers, which is the more pleasant time to be there. Red Cliff is located on the water and the lakeshore, so it's a great place to visit in the summer. It's hard to be there in the winter. There's a lot of snow. It's really cold. I think [there are] a little under 6,000 people total in the community. I think less than 2,000 live on the reservation. It's really remote place. One of things that Red Cliff has done, that's been different than some other places is —it's a pretty seasonal traffic— but what they do is they brought in ecotourism. There's a part of the national park that they've incorporated as a tribal national park.

Paul (17:12):

We had talked about the trajectory from the mid-19th century up to the early 20th century, as far as the changing economic landscape and opportunities are changing or lack of opportunities. What would you say is the primary economic motor, if there is one, now in the 21st century for the Red Cliff?

Michael (17:29):

I think it totally depends. There's local service economy stuff. There's the tourism-related economy. There's actually still a fishery, so that's still part of people's economic life, but it would be hard to be a professor there, for example.

Paul (17:45):

So I'm wondering since we're talking about this in relationship to Cornell and the founding of Cornell and the things that the folks from High Country have dug up and Jon has dug up, as far as where you can trace a direct line between these treaties from the 1830s, 1840s, and then very shortly thereafter Ezra Cornell buying these lands, and there is therefore a direct relationship between these two histories, the land-grant university and the cessation of Native territory. I'm just wondering, if in on anecdotal basis, not speaking for the tribe and not as representative, but on an anecdotal basis, whether the treaties are part of the collective consciousness, if they're part of the conversation in the community, or is that just long forgotten history?

Michael (18:28):

It's kind of yes and no. People are conscious of treaty rights and people were super conscious of those usufruct rights, which was in fact, the basis for a series of court cases that go from, I think, 1983 to 1991, where Anishinaabe people, Ojibwe people sort of re-litigated and got permission to continue with their usufruct rights that have been awarded to them in these 19th century treaties. People are hyper-conscious of those treaty rights, hyper-conscious of the government-to-government relationship between tribal communities and the federal government, and went to court basically to insist, because the pushback on the treaty rights – exercising them, spear fishing, and that kind of thing – was from local communities who were really… actually, it was what prompted me to go to grad school. Because a lot of people in the beginning of the 1980s began spear fishing off-reservation on these territories that we're talking about and they met with a lot of protests. A lot of northern Wisconsin, you asked what the political economy is for northern Wisconsin, for Native and non-native people, a lot of it’s linked to the seasonal sport fishing and stuff like that. There was a lot of resistance to Indians exercising that. A lot of, at times, violent resistance. To me it was shocking because it’s the place that I always thought was the most Native place in the world. I wasn't there year-round, so to go there was to really experience going into the heart of Ojibwe country. I was always dumbfounded that there were these people who had grown up alongside Native peoples on reservations and could not understand that there was a difference in terms of the rights and privileges they had as Indigenous people that the settler population didn't have. I thought it was dumbfounding. I remember at one of the protests – there's a lot of kind of crazy racist signage when people would show up to protest – and there was a “Custer should have finished the job.” Well, what threatened me is that not the racism of it, which is expected, but it was that, for me, it was that this person in Wisconsin who thought that's what Indians were to him. It was people who existed in the Great Plains who look like Crazy Horse, who fought Custer, not people who are living on the Great Lakes and harvesting wild rice and fishing. And I was like, it's amazing that you could grow up here, and that history, that Indigenous history – I mean, at a time when James Fenimore Cooper's writing in the early republic, everyone thought of the Great Lakes as an Indigenous place. It's the backdrop for his book. About the time you get to the 20th century, now suddenly it's not. It really prompted me to want to go back to get a PhD in this whole experience.

Paul (21:08):

You know, actually I remember those battles. I grew up in Wisconsin. I remember all the big newspaper coverage of that, and it was very heated. And as you say, there was complete non-understanding on the white settler side. Nobody got it.  

Michael (21:23):

Yeah. I don't know if you remember. I used a bunch of stuff that was circling at the time from the advertisements or the flyers that were like, “save a walleye, spear an Ojibwe or a Chippewa.” I have a bunch of that kind of stuff that was circulating that I have digitized and use when I teach my class. Well, I was going to say these days, such overt racism would seem surprising, but then again, that's just not true. Overt racism has made a comeback. So, I'm surprised, but I'm also not surprised.

Paul (21:55):

Right. So that means Cornell's relationship to the Ojibwe, to the Red Cliff, to northern Wisconsin – was that ever really a topic amongst the community? Or is that not?

Michael (22:07):

No, like I said the treaty rights, people are hyper-aware of the treaty rights and the rights that are here in the treaties. They're also hyper-aware of the dispossession that the treaties facilitated. But they're not really aware of the sort of afterlife of that land, other than knowing that logging was a big deal. And I got to say, I was shocked – I didn't know that. I have to admit I don't know about you guys, but my understanding, until I had dug into this research, my understanding of land-grant colleges was kind of poor.

Jon (22:36):

A lot of ours were. I really think the article has just ripped it open. And I think we're just beginning to appreciate how complicated and how deeply fraught this history is, in so many ways, in so many places. Cornell is just one of, as you know, many of these that has its own particular historical trajectory with regard to this. I'm actually right now going through the records of the Western Land Committee and it's really quite something to see the machine, the bureaucratic machine that was created here, just going to town, extracting revenue from this. It was just seen as a resource. There was very little reflection on what was happening. It was just, “Hey, how much money are we making here? How much can we get in?” I've still got a lot to go, but just the part that I've been able to get to so far is really just amazing. The scale of the operation, the intensity with which it was pursued was really quite something.

Michael (23:32):

I would imagine lots of people who hear the land-grant university idea and know that land-grants were what founded these universities and founded endowments, probably thought like, I think even as a historian, I thought, okay, this means you were literally transferred land, we built the university on that land. You don't realize that actually, no – it's land that's been dispossessed, moved to the public domain. Then you're buying scrips that have been turned into a financial instrument, essentially. On a smaller scale, the same thing happened in Michigan. In Michigan, the initial land-grant that funded the university was part of an 1817 treaty. I think for a long time, people presumed that was an actual grant of land, but it was a grant of land, not where they built the university, but rather a scrip that was given to them for a section that was then sold, and the profits of that were used to finance the university. It’s what happened with Cornell, but on a smaller scale. It's impressive, the extent to which this land was monetized, turned into financial instruments, then circulated. I don't think Native people are aware of that shelf life. I think people are learning just as the scholarly community is learning about it in the wake of this research.

Jon (24:44):

Yeah, that raises a really interesting question for us, because we as an institution, and those within the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program here, have been trying to think about ways in which we could reach out to the communities that have been affected by this. This is obviously, as it is for everybody, this is new territory. We have no experience with this. And we wondered if you had any insights as to what some productive strategies might be for us to approach, in a formal way, the communities that have been affected by the treaties and the dispossession, and begin a conversation about how we might move forward from this.

Michael (25:23):

First off, the personal connection has been mind-blowing to me as well. I mean, that my direct relative signed the treaty that created these land scrips, that my son goes to this college, all of these things – the level of personal connection is stunning.

Jon (25:36):

Yeah. I can imagine.

Michael (25:38):

In terms of the larger conversation, what I would like to see as somebody who is, I'm not directly at Cornell, but my wife and son are a part of the Cornell community – since this was pivotal or foundational to Cornell establishing itself – the thing that I would want to see would be Cornell taking a leading role in starting a national conversation, because this needs to be part of a national conversation. Before we start talking about individual tribes, I think we need to have a national conversation that centers on the land-grant universities, which are considered foundational to a republic. This was the idea: that we had to have public education, and here's the resource by which we're going to create this thing that makes the republic work as a republic. The fact that that piece of the republic was directly taken from dispossessed, stolen Indian land, that needs to be a conversation: what it means, what does the nation owe to Native people? I know Michigan, like I mentioned, as a result of that relationship, Michigan has a tuition waiver program for any person who is in part of a federally recognized enrolled member of a tribe. They get a tuition waiver. But before we even get to that point, I would think we're at such a beginning stage to understanding this, as Jon was saying, I would like to see Cornell take a lead, have the national conversation about what this means. There are places there are other western land-grant universities that also similarly profited.

Jon (27:09):

Yeah, I think Berkeley has set up a pretty interesting, they've gotten a few things off the ground out there with their particular conversations with regard to California. But I do find that very interesting because land-grant colleges are a national phenomenon. And it would be, I think, a great idea to, for us to think about how we could go about that. But I can see your point that because this is just so new, and  it's just such uncharted territory, that it would be better to get people together and to begin talking about it on a national level and find out ideas from other places and go that way.

Michael (27:47):

I think we have to have a national conversation in part for the things that, Paul, you and I were talking about before, about Wisconsin and that ugly history. If you don't educate people, they they're going to think, “What, why are we giving Indians… this was so long ago.” So, I think you've got to start having a national conversation about, “What does this mean?” The other thing that's linked, but similar, is the western expansion is also very much linked to, say, the Free Soil movement, right? So in the non-slave states, there's the idea that the way republic works is you need to have land available so that everyday citizens have the possibility of acquiring land. This is what you need in a republic, you need independent citizens who own their own land, who aren’t controlled by the corporations or labor bosses.

So, this idea of the Free Soil Party is premised on the idea that there is free soil, free labor, and the whole ‘free soil’ is a synonym for Indian land that's been converted. It's not just at the level of land-grant, but this is a national phenomenon. As America expands west, in American expansion, Americans understood the republic as something that needed to expand, that as the population group would require new territory, and that people believed they'd been given this God-given space that was “unsettled,” and that the republic then was bringing modernity to an unsettled continent, and this was part of the mission. I think having that national conversation, realizing the extent to which the republic at its foundation depended on dispossessing Native people and its primary institutions, or primary parts of this republican experiment, like the land-grant college, were utterly dependent on dispossessing Indian people. Having the national conversation – I would think something that would be ideal to me would be something along the lines of The 1619 Project that looks at both a combination of scholarly work talking about this phenomenon and popular journalism. There’re some really excellent Native journalists out there working now: Rebecca Nagle, Julian Brave NoiseCat, there are a bunch of Native journalists who are working. So some sort of combination that has a national focus would be helpful.

Paul (29:59):

Yeah, that sounds fantastic and really interesting because one of the things that hit me as you were talking, Michael, is that it's not just that the land-grant is a public good. It's a democratic good, and this “free” land available was part of a democratic experiment – and needing to think together the growth and the foundation of democracy, together with the dispossession of Native Americans, I just think is absolutely essential that these things be brought together. Because as you were saying, just with the anecdote from Wisconsin, growing up from the white settler side, it was like, “Why do they have rights that we don't have?” It was considered this outrage that the Natives could do spear fishing and fish at times that we can't fish at. And just the lack of consciousness there is so huge, to bring it to a wider perspective, I think it would be just essential.

Michael (30:46):

Yeah, I think for sure, one thing that's funny about that – so you remember how angry people were, how there was a lot of violence – the funny thing now is if you go to Red Cliff, like I mentioned, they have a summer industry on tourism, so you would have people, on the one road on the reservation, you'd have people protesting or out on the lakes. Now, if you go to the reservation in summer, there's white families walking around. They're just around the reservation because they’re visiting the national park. People have gotten to a place now where they are past that. Somebody who would have been really angry in 1988, now they're taking their family to vacation there in the 2020s. So yeah, that definitely requires some education.

Paul (31:32):

Yeah. Fantastic. Jon, anything you want to add?

Jon (31:34):

No, I think that's a really great idea. The thought that occurred to me was some kind of national conference might also be something that would be productive. Once we're able to have people come to campus, to get people here from land-grant institutions, from affected communities, and begin having this kind of conversation at a level. I think because, as you know, the evidence establishes that Cornell is the leading figure here, that it is incumbent upon us to sort of take a leadership role there. And I think that's right. Yeah. So that's a great thought and I really appreciate that. And I appreciate your time today. Wonderful to have you on here with us and to learn from you. I'm really looking forward to the new book. Can we plug it for you?

Michael (32:16):

Yeah. It's called Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, Western Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder.

Paul (32:21):

When is Seeing Red going to appear, Michael?

Michael (32:23):

I’m doing copy edits right now, so I'm almost done. So I probably will have it in production into the fall and probably a year from there.

Paul (32:31):

It takes a while.

Michael (32:32):

I've got an article called “Seeing Red” in the Journal of the Early Republic that’s out right now that actually covers the 1837 treaty, and looks at that one treaty. But that's a micro example of the entire treaty process, all the treaties that Cornell benefits from.

Paul (32:46):

Great, well, thank you for the conversation, Michael.

Michael (32:48):

Thanks for having me.

Paul (32:49):

And thanks for joining me again in the pod, Jon.

Jon (32:51):

Thank you very much

Paul (32:52):

Great having you both.

The Humanities Pod is a production of Cornell’s Society for the Humanities, introducing you to some of the new work, the current conversations, and the latest ideas of the humanists here and around Cornell. The Pod is produced by Tyler Lurie-Spicer. Our music is from the Continuing Story of Counterpoint by David Borden, performed and recorded by Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company. Our thanks go to the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Cayuga Nation.

Cornell is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' i.e. the Cayuga Nation. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' dispossession and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' past and present to these lands and waters.