“Which said piece of land contains about four acres, and became the property of us, said Moses and John Brown, by a deed of bargain and sale from …the present grantor’s great-grandfather, who received it by descent from his father Chad Brown, who was one of the original proprietors after the native Indians of whom it was purchased….”
-The Charter of Brown University, 1765
At the moment of Brown’s founding, the history of colonial violence and forced displacement of the Narragansett Native Americans was forgotten by the University. Brutal wars against Narragansett peoples, aggressive conversions of Narragansett people to Christianity, and devastating relocation were left behind.
This original land deed of Brown mentions acquisition of land from “native Indians” but does not mention names or tribal affiliations of its original proprietors. Instead, it reads as a last afterthought of the deed. The authors meticulously trace the history of the land back to its earliest white owner—yet they are unable, or perhaps unwilling, to trace it back farther, to discuss the violence that sprung from colonial settlement in New England.