We announced last January that UNC Press was one of four university presses awarded a Mellon grant for a collaborative project to publish books in indigenous studies. As part of the joint project, some of our colleagues have set up a blog for the First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies series. You can get to know more about the project there, and as books are published in the series by all the cooperating publishers, you can get info on the books there as well.

When we heard the news about the settlement in the Cobell v. Salazar case last week, we got in touch with our Mellon partners to discuss initial reactions. The First Peoples blog has posted a response from Kristin Ruppel, author of Unearthing Indian Land: Living with the Legacies of Allotment (University of Arizona Press, 2008) and assistant professor of Native American Studies at Montana State University. Writes blog contributor Natasha Varner:

The recent settlement of the Cobell v. Salazar case has garnered significant media attention and mixed responses from Native communities. Many see the settlement as a victory and recognition of more than a century of questionable land grabs and allotment on behalf of the U.S. Government and the Department of the Interior. Others question whether or not this settlement goes far enough to acknowledge the centuries of hardship that resulted from allotment and seizure of Indian land.

Ruppel’s comments begin:

A first take on the Cobell Settlement, with due and sincere deference to Ms. Cobell especially, but also to the legal team who worked so diligently and for so long on this case: The government got a heck of a deal; Indian landowners (and the Cobell team) will find some closure, but it’s obviously not a fair settlement for the Class.

Visit the First Peoples blog for the full commentary.