February 25, 2011

Jack Forbes dies

UC Davis scholar Jack Forbes advocated for indigenous peoplesIn 1966, Forbes wrote an article titled “An American Indian University: A Proposal for Survival,” published in the Journal of American Indian Education. Colleagues recall that the article, which set forth a proposal for an indigenous peoples university, helped ignite the tribal college movement.

From Forbes’ vision, Degoniwida-Quetzalcoatl University was founded in 1971, several miles west of UC Davis. The school, better known as D-Q University, was the first all-Native American college in California and the second tribal college in the United States. Today there are 35 tribal colleges that enroll approximately 33 percent of the nation’s Native American postsecondary population, according to Crum. D-Q University offered a two-year program until it closed in 2005. Forbes served on the board of D-Q University and taught there on a volunteer basis for more than 25 years.

In addition to his teaching, research and advocacy work, Forbes was a prolific writer. His numerous books, monographs and articles represented his path-finding scholarship and reflected the events and issues of the times in which they were written.

His book, “Columbus and Other Cannibals” (1992) was one of several books that focused on the Christopher Columbus quincentenary. Crum noted that the book marked the 500-year anniversary of “the supposed discovery of America or 500 years of survival, post-invasion.”
Comment:  Forbes probably was one of the top five or 10 intellectuals in Indian country.

For more on Forbes, see Columbus the Cannibal and Did Natives Discover Europe First?

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