Celebrating 20 years!

Building Indigenous Governance Capacity
One Person at a Time

“One of the things that struck me as really valuable about this program is the way it brings together people from different nations. That exchange between Indigenous people has been really powerful for me. Thus, the course was incredibly relevant for the process my people are currently going through, and I was thoroughly enriched by the curriculum and discussions that were a part of the January in Tucson program.” ~ Dr. Noelani Goodyear-Ka'ōpua (Kanaka Maoli) Department of Political Science, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“The Making Change Happen course was very inspiring for me. Having the chance to see what other Tribal Nations have done to make positive change happen in their communities provided me with the tools, vision, and confidence that my community can do the same. We all have a purpose in our communities, and we all have the ability to come together, incite conversations, and make positive change for our future generations.” ~ Anna Hohag (Nuumu) J.D. candidate (2017), University of Arizona; Vice President, UA Native American Law Students Association

“I enjoyed once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet and learn from tribal citizens, educators, leaders, and activists across the United States, who graciously shared their insights and lived experiences of being a Native nation rebuilder, as we participated in classroom discussions facilitated by renowned faculty. I consider the IGP’s peer-led discussions to be one of the most valuable aspects of my learning process and am inspired by the diverse approaches to strengthening Indigenous governance that are being implemented worldwide.” ~ Verónica Hirsch (Chiricahua Apache) Digital Resources Coordinator, Native Nations Institute

As part of the 2016 January in Tucson, NNI selected four persons to become part of the first Tribal Professionals Cohort (TPC 2016).

Each TPC 2016 member received funding to attend several courses during January in Tucson (or subsequently), leading to a continuing-education certificate in Indigenous Governance. Also, TPC 2016 members will participate in ongoing group discussions with members of NNI’s staff and others.

Shown here are TPC 2016 members and NNI staff: (Back row) Miriam Jorgensen, NNI research director; Stephen Cornell, NNI faculty associate; Adrian Dotson (Navajo); Ryan Seelau, NNI Indigenous Governance Programs manager; (Front row) Joan Timeche (Hopi), NNI executive director; Eleanor YellowRobe (White Clay Gros Ventre); Rosa Long (Cocopah); and Wayne Martin (Tohono O'odham/Navajo).

“NNI assisted me in developing an expanded world view of the significance of capacity building in Indian country. My firm, Native Assets Accounting, has the mission to work in Indian country creating relationships that enhance the financial capacity of Native nations. The engaging education in the political and social science of the Indigenous Governance Program helped me create new and innovative ideas to market my accounting business in Indian country. NNI’s emphasis on strategic leadership and research reinvigorated and reinforced my commitment to chronicle tribally driven data of the economic contributions and the impact Native nations have on their local economy and the surrounding state economy.” ~ Eleanor YellowRobe (White Clay Gros Ventre), President, Native Assets Accounting & Consulting

“The courses gave me insight in different ways of how to govern. It’s given me a different view from different aspects of different Indigenous countries …but with one goal in mind. And that is to protect our land; protect our culture; and most of all, most importantly, to protect our people.” ~ Rosa Long (Cocopah), Councilwoman, Cocopah Indian Tribe

“I wanted to learn more to better my people and this program pretty much presented ideas and education that is giving back. That’s the path I’m working toward, the right path.” ~ Wayne Martin (Tohono O’odham/Navajo), Vice Chairman of the Pisinemo District, Tohono O’odham Nation

“We hope to utilize the knowledge and network of the Indigenous Governance Program to help us in our work with the Navajo Nation and its communities. We also hope to continue to attend the program in the coming years.” ~ Adrian Dotson (Navajo), Outreach Specialist, ETD, Inc.; Media Relations Officer, Rez Media

The Native Nations Institute (NNI) provides a range of research-based educational services to meet the needs of Native Nations, Indigenous leaders, policy-makers, and individuals interested in a better understanding of Indigenous governance and similar concepts. One way NNI delivers these services is through the Indigenous Governance Programs (IGP), a collaborative effort with the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law.

Each year, the IGP hosts a three-week session known as January in Tucson that consists of nine courses, including Native Economic Development, Evidence for Indigenous Governance Principles, Constitutions of Indigenous Nations, Comparative Indigenous Governance, and Making Change Happen. The program has two-tracks—one for individuals seeking UA graduate-level credit for courses taught on Indigenous governance; the other, largely the same curriculum, for individuals interested in personal or professional development without the need for a UA transcript.

Now in its fourth year, the 2016 January in Tucson program attracted nearly 50 participants representing 14 U.S. Native Nations as well as six other countries. Scroll through the slides above to meet some of the participants and see what they had to say about the program.

“The Native Nations Institute has long recognized that for Indigenous nations and communities to realize their political, economic, and community development objectives, they must have their ‘political house’ in order. The Indigenous Governance Programs, including our new Tribal Professionals Cohort, is designed to build Indigenous governance capacity one person at a time.”

~ Joan Timeche (Hopi)
Executive Director, NNI


For more information about NNI visit their website.

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