M104 | Breaking the Common Pot: Dispossession of Land, Community and Culture


2:30 – 4:00 pm

Hybrid - Online and In-person at Berkshire Community College

1350 West Street

Pittsfield, MA 01201

Room H-402

3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/25 & 5/2 (no class 4/18) 

Six Sessions 

This course is offered both online via the easy-to-use Zoom program and in-person at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA.  When registering, please check if you prefer to attend online, in-person or select both.  Please note that all in-person attendees are required to be masked at all times and provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19, or a negative test within the past 48-72 hours.

Senator Henry Dawes, a native and long-time resident of the Berkshires, was the author of the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887.  Dawes saw himself, and was seen by others, as a friend of Native Americans.  Yet this Act resulted in one of the most extensive land dispossessions of Native Americans in US history.  How could the positive intentions of Dawes be so disconnected from the outcome for Native Americans?  In this class we will examine issues of land ownership and Indigenous dispossession, how Dawes and others thought they were benefiting Native Americans, subsequent federal policies that claimed Native land, and how Native American communities have resisted these policies.  The course will end with current work being done by Native Americans, and others, to restore historic lands to Native American communities.

 Recommended Reading:

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory, Claudio Saunt.  [W.W. Norton & Company, 2022].

Although it focuses on “Indian Removal” in the 1830s, many of the issues raised by Saunt are central to this course.

Katherine Kidd earned her PhD in international relations at the University of Pennsylvania.  She directed the programs and taught in international studies at Sacred Heart and Fairfield Universities.  Katherine chairs the OLLI University Day Committee that is creating new opportunities for OLLI members to deepen their knowledge of Native American history and culture.  This course will cover some of the key interactions between Native Americans and the federal government in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | olli@berkshirecc.edu

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