Jack D. Forbes

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For the actor, see Jack Forbes (actor).

Jack D. Forbes (January 7, 1934, Long Beach, CA – February 23, 2011, Davis, CA) was a Native American writer, scholar and political activist. He is best known for his role in establishing one of the first Native American Studies programs (at UC Davis), and for founding D-Q University, the first Native American college located outside a reservation.

Life and career[edit]

Jack D. Forbes was born in Long Beach, California, of Powhatan-Renapé and Lenape descent. He was raised in neighboring El Monte and Eagle Rock, where he began his writing career at the high school newspaper. He received his Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from USC in 1953, going on to a Masters in 1955 and a Ph.D. in History and Anthropology (1959).[1]

In the early 1960s, he became one of the first participants and organizers in the Native American movement. He has been a visiting Fulbright Professor at the University of Warwick in England, where he also spent time at Oxford and the University of Essex. Additionally, he has held the Tinbergen Chair at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.[2]

He was professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, where he had formerly chaired the Native American studies program,[3] which he had helped to establish in the late sixties. He was also one of the founders of the now defunct Deganawidah-Quetzalcoatl University (commonly referred to as D-Q University) which was located near Davis, California.[4]

In the early 1990s, he was involved with David Risling and others in the making of A Free People, Free To Choose, a film by Jan Crull, Jr..[5] It was originally conceived as a feature-length documentary based on D-Q University's history and an alleged campaign by the federal government to destroy it. Crull was forced to abandon the project when Morrison & Foerster, a law firm closely linked to D-Q U's legal battles, withdrew from the project because the film's subjects became involved in lawsuits with one another. The hundred-plus hours of footage assembled includes a lengthy interview with Forbes.

Awards and Honors[edit]

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cunnane, Sarah (17 March 2011). "Jack Forbes, 1934-2011". The Times. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Biographical sketch on Jack Forbes' blog
  3. ^ Seven Stories Press
  4. ^ Bailey, Pat (February 25, 2011). "UC Davis scholar Jack Forbes advocated for indigenous peoples". Davis News. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  5. ^ W.G.A.W. Reg. No. 513853

External links[edit]