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Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress Symposium

November 1, 2018 - 9:15am to 5:00pm

Cowles Auditorium
301 19th Ave S
Minneapolis MN 55455

The RIGS (Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) Initiative at the University of Minnesota, along with key partners, will host a two-day symposium on November 1-2, 2018 on “Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress.” This set of events will bring together multiple disciplines and colleges across the University of Minnesota and local communities to think through the challenges of and the possibilities for repair, atonement, return, and/or apology as potential ways to address some of the foundational wrongs of the US that have shaped longstanding institutional structures and inequalities. We will bring front and center a difficult and historically “nonstarter” topic to invite wide-ranging conversation around the politics, policies, and roadblocks around seeking atonement for historical and ongoing injustices. We will question the impoverishment of our imaginations when it comes to reparations for African Americans and land claims for native peoples in particular, as well as across multiple marginalized social groups.

In addition, we are interested in exploring whether and to what extent the rubric of “reparations” addresses the continuing inequalities experienced by indigenous communities and multiple communities of color. Using a critical and comparative approach to reparations, repatriation, and redress, and engaging with local communities, we hope to catalyze thought around potential strategies to address systemic racial inequality. We will have four innovative, interdisciplinary, and community-engaged panels on the following themes:

  1. Models for Restorative Action
  2. Universities and Historical Injustices
  3. Critical & Comparative Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress
  4. The Case for Reparations

We are bringing together leading scholars, thinkers, and advocates via panel to our University's first-ever interdisciplinary symposium on reparations, repatriation, and redress.

This event will build on critical momentum at universities nation-wide and from local communities, and we truly hope that you will be a central part of it. While a number of universities have recently begun to examine their imbrication with the brutal institution of slavery, few universities have concretely addressed the effects of foundational inequalities on the wider communities within which the universities exist. In this light, this event will work closely with advocates from grassroots organizations in Rondo (a historically black neighborhood in St. Paul, displaced by urban planning and highways) seeking place-based remedies, as well as with activists in the contemporary reclaiming of Native lands, such as the the restoration of the name Bde Maka Ska to the lake formerly known as Lake

This event is free and open to the public. Please follow this link to register for the symposium. We will have coffee, tea and snacks available all day; lunch is reserved for speakers and facilitators.

Thank you to our generous partners for their co-sponsorship of this symposium: The College of Liberal Arts, Office for Public Engagement, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, The Human Rights Program, The Institute for Advanced Study, Immigration History and Research Center, Institute for Global Studies, Historical Injustices Working Group. Center for Writing's Literacy and Rhetorical Studies (LRS) Speaker Series, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota Libraries and the following Departments: Philosophy, History, English, Geography, Political Science, Art History, Religious Studies, Sociology and African American and African Studies.


Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress Symposium TENTATIVE Schedule*

(Speakers and Panels SUBJECT TO CHANGE)


Thursday, November 1st


Symposium Opens


Opening Remarks


Opening Panel 1: Models for Restorative Action
Speakers: Joey Mogul (People’s Law Office, Director of DePaul University’s Civil Rights Clinic) “The Struggle for Reparations in the Burge Torture Cases,” Kate Beane (Program and Outreach Manager of Native American Initiatives, Minnesota Historical Society) and Carly Bad Heart Bull (Native Nations Activities Manager, Bush Foundation) “Journey Towards The Restoration of Bde Maka Ska, and Backlash,” Marvin Anderson (Project Director of the Rondo Commemorative Plaza, Founder of Rondo Days, Minnesota State Law Librarian), “Atonement, Reconciliation & Restoration: The Rondo Community - 50 Years and Counting,” Guy Emerson Mount (Assistant Professor, Department of History, Auburn University) “Reconceptualizing Reparations: International Models of Transformative Justice and the Black Radical Tradition.”

12:00-12:45PM: Facilitated Open Discussion, Humphrey Atrium

12:45-2:00PM: Afternoon Break (Lunch on your own)


Panel 2: Universities and Historical Injustices
Speakers: Patricia Loew (Professor in the Medill School of Journalism and Director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, Northwestern University) “Moving Forward, but Not Beyond: Northwestern University and the Legacy of the Sand Creek Massacre,” Rhondda Robbinson Thomas (Calhoun Lemon Professor of English and African American Literature, Clemson University) “Call My Name: African Americans in Early Clemson University History,” Becca Gercken (Horace T. Morse Distinguished Associate Professor of English and Native American and Indigenous Studies, University of Minnesota Morris) and Kevin Whalen (Assistant Professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies and History, University of Minnesota, Morris) “The Heart of Our Mission is a Drum: Curricular Social Justice at the University of Minnesota Morris,” Balraj Kaur Gill (Ph.D. Candidate, American Studies, Harvard University) “Reflections on Harvard and Slavery.”

4:00-4:45PM: Facilitated Open Discussion, Humphrey Atrium


Friday, November 2nd


Symposium Opens


Opening Remarks


Panel 3: Critical & Comparative Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress
Speakers: Gordon Nakagawa (Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies and Asian American Studies, California State University, Northridge) “Grassroots
Organizing and Praxis in the Struggle for Redress and Reparations: The National Coalition for Redress/Reparations as Exemplar in Prefiguring Change, Accompanying Others, and Deferring Reconciliation” Brenda Child (Northrop Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies, University of Minnesota) “Debating Repatriation at the National Museum of the American Indian,” Christopher Lehman (Chair of the Ethnic, Gender, & Women's Studies Department, St. Cloud State University) “Vigilante acts against African Americans in southern Minnesota,” Quynh Nhu Le (Assistant Professor of English, University of South Florida) “The Politics of Care in Canada’s Public Apologies to Nikkei and Aboriginal Communities” Balraj Kaur Gill (Ph.D. Candidate, American Studies, Harvard University) “Deep North & Deep South: Making Visible Indigenous and Black Racial Geographies.”

12:00-12:45PM: Facilitated Open Discussion, Humphrey Atrium

12:45-1:30PM: Afternoon Break (Lunch on your own)


Panel 4: The Case for Reparations
Ana Lucia Araujo (Professor of History, Howard University,) “The Struggle for Symbolic and Material Reparations for Slavery in the United States,” Roy Brooks (Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California at San Diego) “Reflections on Black Reparations and Racial Justice,” Michael Ralph (Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the School of Medicine, New York University) “Reparations for All,” and Nieeta Presley (Executive Director, Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation) “Alternative Redevelopment Visions and Injured Communities.”

3:30-4:00 PM: Facilitated Open Discussion, Humphrey Atrium


Closing Roundtable: Bringing the Threads Together and Next Steps

*Speakers and Titles Subject To Change