The Program

Strengthening Native American communities and enhancing tribal governance are important goals for the Udall Foundation. Our ten-week summer internship, funded by the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, provides 12 Native American or Alaska Native students with the opportunity to gain real-world experience in policy-making. Interns participate in the daily workings of the federal government and the legislative process, and learn about ways in which the government fulfills its trust responsibilities with tribal nations.

The Foundation arranges placement with a Congressional office, committee or federal agency in Washington D.C. We make every effort to place interns in offices where they will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the laws and policies that affect tribal communities. Depending on their office placement, interns will help draft legislation; research congressional acts and proposed legislation; attend hearings and briefings; and write memos, white papers, constituent letters and talking points for the Congressman or Senator.

Interns have opportunities to research issues affecting individual tribes, the federal trust responsibility, tribal sovereignty, or a topic that has broad implications for tribal public policy. Examples of previous research topics include the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 and its effect on federal recognition of tribes, a history of tribal economic development legislation, analyses of proposed legislation such as the Native American Sacred Lands Act, the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act, Endangered Species Act, and policy issues such as Cobell v. Norton. Interns present their research to their peers and invited guests.


The Udall Internship enabled me to form incredible friendships that I will benefit from for years to come. It was a privilege to meet and work with senators, congressmen, my fellow interns, and Native American organizations that are passionate about bettering Indian Country. What a great community to be a part of!

- Prestene Garnenez, Navajo Nation, 2009 Intern