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Matthew Villeneuve To Deliver 2022 Wilbert H. Ahern Distinguished Lecture

Sue Dieter
Publication date: 
March 9, 2022

The University of Minnesota, Morris will welcome Matthew Villeneuve, Assistant  Professor  of  History and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the 2022 Wilbert H. Ahern Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, March 29, at 7:30 the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. 

Villeneuve’s talk, titled “The Seven Generations of Indigenous Education at Morris,” is free and open to the public. 

a smiling man with a beard

Villeneuve will present the Morris campus history as a story told in three acts defined by a set of educational “experiments” on its campus: the “Indian Boarding School” (1887-1909), the West-Central School of Agriculture, (1910-1963), followed by the University of Minnesota Morris (1960 to the present). While these are undoubtedly important chapters in the institutional history of this place, what happens when we center the uncommonly long and enduring presence of Native learners here? This talk reconceptualizes the history (and perhaps even the future) of the place called Morris into seven generations by highlighting the distinctive experience of Indigenous students here over the last 135 years. 

Villeneuve earned his PhD in history from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he studied in the fields of U.S. History since 1865, American Indian history, and environmental history. Currently, he is pursuing research on a number of projects at the intersection of progressive education and federal Indian boarding schools.  At UW-Madison, he teaches courses on American Indian history, Native studies, and Indigenous education.

The late Wilbert H. Ahern was a member of the Morris faculty from 1967 until he retired in 2010 as a Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of History. He began teaching American Indian history in 1975 and was a founding faculty member of the American Indian Studies program. His research and publications explored the shaping of United States policy toward American Indians in the assimilationist era, 1877 to 1933, and the strategies for survival that Native peoples developed. Especially notable was his analysis of American Indians In the Indian School Service and his history of the Morris Indian School, whose legacy helped shape the University of Minnesota, Morris. 

The Wilbert H. Ahern Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible, in part, by gifts and contributions to the Bert and Janet Ahern American Indian Studies Enhancement Fund, established in recognition of their retirements from the University of Minnesota Morris.