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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

University of Minnesota Duluth History

Land Acknowledgement

We collectively acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Duluth is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. The University resides on land that was cared for and called home by the Ojibwe people, before them the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne people, and other Native peoples from time immemorial. Ceded by the Ojibwe in an 1854 treaty, this land holds great historical, spiritual, and personal significance for its original stewards, the Native nations and peoples of this region. We recognize and continually support and advocate for the sovereignty of the Native nations in this territory and beyond. By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and will work to hold the University of Minnesota Duluth accountable to American Indian peoples and nations.

Find out more about UMD's Land Acknowledgement.

Campus History

Formerly the Duluth State Normal School and the Duluth State Teachers College, this institution became part of the University of Minnesota in 1947. One of the stipulations was that land be acquired for a larger campus. To this end, Regent Richard L. Griggs and other prominent Duluthians acquired the Nortondale Tract. The Nortondale Tract was nearly 140 acres of land from what was called the “Nortondale Development,” conceived by Norton brothers of Paducah, Kentucky in 1871. The Nortondale Tract now comprises a majority of the area of the main campus of UMD. 

Included on this page are resources available for researching the history of the current UMD campus, including the Nortondale Tract and the Bagley Nature Area.

Sources on UMD Land History (Available online)

The University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy (UDC) also contains records and publications related to the land on which UMD sits. The UDC includes documents that can be downloaded and viewed online.

Archival Sources on UMD Land History (Available in hard copy)

The UMD Archives includes other resources on the history of the UMD campus. To find these, search the ArchivesSpace database and contact the archives staff.

Land-grant and Sea-grant Status

As part of the University of Minnesota, UMD shares in the land-grant university mission of the University of Minnesota System. As such, UMD has benefited from the grant of ceded Indigenous land to the University, provided via the Morrill Act and earlier federal land grants, and the profits of land sales and resource leases gained from those lands.

Additionally, under the National Sea Grant Program, UMD is a sea-grant institution.

External Resources