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Articles by Editor at Large Tristan Ahtone

Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe. He previously served as editor in chief at the Texas Observer and as the Indigenous affairs editor at High Country News. You can reach him at

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Featured Article

As America grew westward in the 19th and 20th centuries, the federal government took land from Indigenous peoples and gave it to states for the creation of public colleges known as land-grant universities. A new Grist investigation reveals how many of these institutions continue to profit from this stolen land, largely through extractive industries including oil and gas production, mining, and logging.

Using publicly available data, our investigation locates millions of acres taken from more than a hundred Indigenous nations to provide ongoing sources of revenue for educational institutions. Our reporting reveals how Indigenous lands and resources bankroll land-grant universities, historically and today, and provides insight into the relationship between colonialism, higher education, and climate change.

Here are five takeaways from our investigation: 

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