Nate Jackson / August 30, 2017

This Land Is Whose Land?

The Left’s politically correct chickens come home to roost in a land dispute at Brown University.

The only thing so far that’s made the whole controversy over names, flags and monuments amusing is when it pits one favored leftist constituency against another favored leftist constituency. The case at hand is a related issue. A group calling itself the Pokanoket Tribe claims that Brown University, a typical leftist bastion of academia, is illegally occupying the tribe’s lands. The group made a formal claim to the land in February and, having been largely ignored, has encamped on university grounds to make its protest known.

The Providence Journal relays the history:

> The property is part of about 375 acres donated to the university by the Haffenreffer family starting in the 1950s. The occupied site includes the grounds of the Haffenreffer collections center as well as one labeled the Center for Circumpolar Studies, a registration center for outings on the property and a large house.

> Before Europeans settled there, the Mount Hope area was the cultural and political center of the Pokanoket nation. It was there that Metacomet, known to the European colonists as King Philip, was captured and killed by colonial militia near the end of King Philip’s War in 1675-78.

The steering committee of Brown University’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative responded to the occupation with a letter saying, in part, that “while there is a long history of erasure and forced assimilation of Native peoples in the Northeast, meaning many tribal communities have been written out of history, the Pokanoket Tribe is not recognized by the federal government or the state, and more importantly is not recognized by the other federally recognized Wampanoag communities.”

In short, get off our lawn.

The occupiers and their allies then responded, “We are shocked and deeply disappointed that Brown University would openly attack our organization and attempt to discredit our work and sacrifice. We are even more disappointed that Brown University would publicly attack the Pokanoket Nation and challenge their legitimacy. This reckless behavior that upholds the legacy of white supremacy and colonization is unacceptable and must not be tolerated.”

The standoff is a minor blip in the grand scheme, but it’s always entertaining to see the Left’s politically correct chickens come home to roost.

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