Faculty Letter at Brown University Intensifies Standoff Over Tribe’s Claim to Land

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tags: Native Americans, Brown University



Agroup that identifies as Native American wants Brown University to cede 375 acres of land that the tribe says belongs to it by ancestral right. About 40 to 50 members and supporters of the Pokanoket tribe have set up camp on the property, in Bristol, R.I., and say they aren’t leaving until the university yields.

They are at odds not only with Brown’s administration but also with faculty members who study indigenous culture. Late in August, a committee in the program of Native American and indigenous studies at Brown issued a statement that, among other things, attempted to define the difference between being a federally recognized tribe and having an indigenous background.

The goal, some writers told The Chronicle, was not to challenge the legitimacy of the Pokanokets’ tribal standing, but to provide context for a controversy that includes questions of tribal identity and legal wrangling.




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