Call for Participation: Landback Universities Project

Jennifer Guiliano's picture

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April 17, 2023 to April 18, 2023
Oklahoma, United States
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Native American History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies

Eligibility: Faculty, administrators, staff, and students at public or private universities, colleges, tribal colleges, and community colleges in the U.S. or U.S. territories 

Deadline: February 15, 2023

Notification Date: March 1, 2023 (Convening 1)


The Landback Universities project, a Mellon Foundation-funded initiative, is convening a group of leading scholars, administrators, staff members, and students for a two-day, in-person meeting to explore what Landback, a movement that locates liberation for Indigenous people and people of color in “putting Indigenous Lands back into Indigenous hands,” looks like at colleges and universities. Landback Universities thus aims to shift colleges and universities beyond performative moves towards decolonization to identify and operationalize practices for decolonizing higher education. Recognizing that there are myriad ways that colonialism operates through our institutions, we focus on humanities-based approaches to land relations because rematriation of land lies at the heart of decolonization. 

Attendees will share their experiences developing policies, practices, and programming to promote return and/or shared stewardship of campus lands with local Native communities. Based on the work during the events and asynchronous writing following them, we will collectively develop, disseminate, and solicit feedback on a set of recommendations that colleges and universities can use to put Landback into practice. This will be a collaboratively-authored open access publication. Our goal is to promote Indigenous sovereignty throughout the diverse range of offices, operations, and units that comprise universities. Our work is rooted in the belief that decolonizing higher education is a critical goal to work towards, if we can bring stakeholders together to share strategies about moving their institutions forwards towards Indigenous goals.

Project Team

Jennifer Guiliano is Associate Professor of History, Native American, and Indigenous Studies and American Studies at IUPUI and the principal investigator of Landback Universities.

Megan Red Shirt-Shaw (Oglala Lakota) is Director of Native Student Services at the University of South Dakota and a doctoral student in organizational leadership at the University of Minnesota and a co-principal investigator for Landback Universities. 

Roopika Risam is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies and of Comparative Literature and member of the Digital Humanities and Social Engagement cluster at Dartmouth College and is a co-principal investigator for Landback Universities. 

Elizabeth Rule (enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation) is Assistant Professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies at American University in Washington, DC and is a co-principal investigator for Landback Universities.

Where and When?

We will be holding two convenings, each with a different set of participants. 

Convening 1

April 17-18, 2023: Native Nations Center at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Convening 2

Early Fall 2023: Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

What will we be doing?

The two-day long convenings will address the concept of Landback in the university and facilitate conversation and generative idea-development. Each event will be guided by a core set of readings on Indigenous higher education that will serve as a scholarly backbone for our conversations and encourage recognition of existing expertise from scholars, administrators, Native community members, students, and staff.

Convening attendees will have the option to contribute to a series of digital materials developed in partnership with the Native Nations series at the University of Oklahoma, edited by Amanda Cobb-Greetham.

Prior to Convening

In advance of the convening, we request that participants read selected texts and prepare their initial presentation on their Landback-related work. 

Convening Day One

The morning and afternoon of day one will focus on brief presentations by attendees that highlight their local Landback-related efforts. These initial presentations of no more than 10 minutes each will allow attendees to learn of existing efforts and identify commonalities and differences that will then inform the rest of the first working day. The afternoon will synthesize the issues raised by the individual presentations which will then allow us to organize thematic discussions for Day Two. 

Convening Day Two

The second day will be organized around thematic issues identified the day before. Led by our convening facilitators, small group discussions based on the themes will open our second morning. The bulk of the day will focus on shared writing to articulate a vision for Landback at colleges and universities. 

After the Convening

After the in-person meeting, attendees will be required to asynchronously continue writing, building on the initial in-person work (~2,500 words of prose, though creative and alternative forms of submission are welcome).  

Who should apply?

  • Scholars working on Landback-related issues
  • Administrators developing  policies or leading campus efforts related to Landback
  • Staff members working with Indigenous Students and Tribal Communities on Landback
  • Students who contribute to Landback-related efforts at their institutions

Please note that multiple applications from the same institution or Landback initiative are welcome.

What support can attendees expect?

  • Roundtrip economy airfare
  • Three nights of hotel accommodations
  • Ground transportation
  • Meals
  • $750 stipend

For more information, please visit: 

Questions? contact us via email at:

Contact Info: 

Jennifer Guiliano, IUPUII

Contact Email: