The University of Minnesota Face Backlash of Damning Report Regarding Treatment of Indigenous People


The University of Minnesota has come under intense scrutiny following the release of a report accusing the institution of committing genocide against Indigenous people. The report, which was published on April 11, 2023, documents a history of mistreatment and violence inflicted upon Indigenous communities in Minnesota by the university, dating back to the late 19th century.

The report, which was commissioned by the university itself, was conducted by a team of historians and Indigenous scholars who spent over a year examining archival records and conducting interviews with members of Indigenous communities impacted by the university’s actions. The report is a scathing indictment of the university’s treatment of Indigenous people, and has led to widespread condemnation and calls for accountability.

The report found that the university played a central role in the forced removal of Indigenous people from their land, the suppression of Indigenous culture and language, and the promotion of policies that sought to assimilate Indigenous people into white American culture. It also documents numerous instances of violence and abuse inflicted upon Indigenous people by university officials and staff.

Perhaps the most damning finding of the report is that the university’s actions amounted to genocide under the definition laid out in the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The report argues that the university’s policies and actions were designed to destroy Indigenous people as a distinct cultural and ethnic group, and that this constituted genocide.

The report has been met with shock and anger from Indigenous communities in Minnesota and beyond, who have long known about the university’s history of mistreatment but have struggled to get their stories heard. Many Indigenous leaders and activists are calling for the university to take immediate action to address the harm it has caused and to provide reparations to those impacted.

In response to the report, university officials have expressed remorse and acknowledged the harm caused by the institution’s past actions. University President Joan Gabel released a statement in which she said,

The report’s findings are deeply troubling and represent a painful reckoning with our past. We must acknowledge the harm that was done and work to make things right.

— Joan Gabel

However, many Indigenous leaders and activists are skeptical of the university’s response, arguing that words alone are not enough and that concrete action is needed to address the harm caused by the institution. Some have called for the university to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, similar to those established in South Africa and Canada, to facilitate a process of healing and reconciliation between Indigenous communities and the university.

The report has also sparked wider conversations about the history of genocide and colonization in the United States, and the ongoing legacy of these processes for Indigenous people today. Many scholars and activists argue that the United States as a nation has yet to come to terms with its own history of genocide against Indigenous people, and that efforts to address this history are essential for creating a more just and equitable future.

For Indigenous communities in Minnesota, the report is a painful reminder of the long history of harm inflicted upon them by institutions like the university. However, it is also a sign of hope, as it represents a step towards acknowledging and redressing this harm. As one Indigenous activist stated, “This report is a powerful testament to the resilience and strength of Indigenous people, who have survived despite everything that has been done to us. It is now up to the university and wider society to take responsibility for the harm that has been caused and to work towards healing and reconciliation.”

Overall, the report represents a watershed moment in the ongoing struggle for justice and equity for Indigenous people in the United States. It is a powerful reminder of the need to confront the legacy of genocide and colonization, and to work towards a future in which all people are treated with dignity and respect.