Oregon Law professor and Philip H. Knight Chair Michael Moffitt recently delivered the Beecroft Lecture at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Boyd School of Law. In his talk, “Truth. Regardless of Reconciliation?,” Professor Moffitt discussed his research and teaching stemming from engagement with tribal descendants of five Cayuse Indians executed in Oregon in 1850. He was joined on stage by Roberta Conner, Director of Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, the tribally-owned museum on the Umatilla Reservation.
The Beecroft Lecture Series, hosted by UNLV’s Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution, is a prestigious annual talk featuring the nation’s foremost authorities on alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Each year, the Saltman Center invites renowned ADR scholars to present their research and share insights on a variety of topics related to conflict and conflict resolution.
For the past two years, Professor Moffitt and students from the University of Oregon Clark Honors College have been supporting the Cayuse in their search for the burial location of the “Cayuse Five.” This project implicates broader questions about the potential role and effectiveness of conflict resolution tools, such as repatriation and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, in addressing historical injustices. At the Beecroft Lecture, Professor Moffitt will explore the ways in which the truth-seeking process itself—when centering tribal members’ experiences, goals, and desired outcomes—can be a significant first step.
“The fact that we do not collectively know the burial sites of the Cayuse Five stands in the way of the prospect of repatriation, of justice, of reconciliation, or whatever else we who are living may decide is the wisest course of action," said Michael Moffitt. "The invitation to speak at the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution provided a wonderful opportunity to explore the boundaries of the work we categorize as conflict resolution. I was honored and thrilled to deliver this year's Beecroft Lecture.”
The Beecroft Lecture took place on February 21, 2023. To learn more about Professor Moffitt's important research, visit his faculty profile at https://law.uoregon.edu/directory/faculty-staff/all/mmoffitt.