A Recent History of Native Americans at Dartmouth

Dartmouth College was founded by Eleazar Wheelock in 1769 with a mission to educate Indigenous people. Eleazar's first Indigenous student, Samson Occom of the Mohegan Tribe, spent three years traveling overseas and raised 12,000 pounds from European elite for the support and education of Native students. Some of the money Occom raised still makes up a portion of Dartmouth's endowment today. Less than one year after he opened his school, Eleazar wrote, "None know without experience the difficulty of educating an Indian. They would soon kill themselves with eating and sloth, if constant care were not exercised for them... " Over the next 200 years, only fifteen Indigenous students would graduate from Dartmouth. But in 1964, Dartmouth College admitted three Native students, and that number has been rising ever since. Indigenous people have played an integral role in shaping the college into what it is today. This is their story. This project was supported by the John L. Murphey Award of Dartmouth College.