Margaret Jacobs, Director for the Center for Great Plains Studies

The Center is known for scholarly accomplishments, striking art exhibitions, and informative talks. But more than that, it is a place to learn from the past, confront issues shaping our region today, and look to what the future holds for the Great Plains. Our programs contribute to preserving and enriching life in the Great Plains.

Fellows of the Center work as faculty and staff on all four campuses of the University of Nebraska. We also have Affiliate Fellows who are faculty at many other universities across the U.S. and in other countries or are persons who have a professional interest in the Great Plains and the purposes and program of the Center. And our Great Plains Graduate Fellows are doctoral or master’s students in the process of completing their degrees in their own disciplines and departments.

The mission of the Center is to increase understanding of and appreciation for the people, cultures, and natural environment of the Great Plains. Increasing understanding requires research, so we foster studies of the region, in part by publishing scholarly journals and other outlets which report research results. Increasing appreciation implies engaging the public, so we organize public lectures and symposia, publish books and post on social media, and in other ways seek to stimulate conversations about the Great Plains. We want the Center to be a place of bold ideas and regional engagement. As we work to conserve our eco-system and help human communities thrive, we hope you'll take a look at what we offer.

Margaret Jacobs has been at UNL since 2004 and is the Chancellor’s Professor of History. She is the author of three books and over three dozen articles, most of which focus on the history of Indigenous child removal by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Australia, from the late nineteenth century up to the present.

Since 2015, Jacobs has been researching how these three nations and everyday citizens in them are reckoning with and making redress for human rights abuses against Indigenous peoples. She currently holds an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for her project, Does the United States Need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission? She is writing a book, After One Hundred Winters: Pursuing Truth and Reconciliation between Indigenous People and Settlers, and has co-founded a multimedia project with journalist Kevin Abourezk called Reconciliation Rising.

Jacobs also is co-director with Liz Lorang of the Libraries of the Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project at UNL. She was the 2015-16 Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University in England. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October 2019.

"I relish the interdisciplinary nature of the Center for Great Plains Studies and I'm eager to work with fellows and affiliates from all four NU campuses," Jacobs said. "I'm enthusiastic about continuing and expanding the Center’s long history of community engagement and outreach."

Margaret Jacobs