fbpx Land Loss, Reclamation, and Stewardship in Contemporary Native America | Harvard Kennedy School
Eric Henson Photo

Eric Henson

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy


This course will explore three critical dimensions in American Indian land issues: 1) historical land loss, 2) contemporary tribal governmental efforts at land reclamation, stewardship, and co-management, and 3) indigenous futurism. We will begin by tracking the history of land dispossession from colonial settlement to the present day. We will then move on to explore the reality of contemporary tribal governance and how that critical function turns on jurisdiction over traditional lands. Are these lands owned outright? Are they held in trust by the US government for the benefit of the tribal nations? Are they traditional territories technically outside the control of the tribes, but with day-to-day stewardship and oversight provided by tribes?  We will conclude the course with a speculative exercise that invites students to imagine future scenarios for land reclamation.

Also offered by the Graduate School of Design. Please note, this is a jointly offered course hosted by another Harvard school and, accordingly, students must adhere to the academic and attendance policies of that school. For students interested in additional courses on Native America please also see DEV-501M “Native Americans in the 21st Century: Nation Building I” (Joseph Kalt and Angela Riley) and DEV-502 “Native Americans in the 21st Century: Nation Building II” (Eric Henson).