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Indigenous Governance Database




The Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy (NNI), housed at The University of Arizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, serves as a self-determination, governance, and development resource for Indigenous nations in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.

NNI was founded in 2001 by the Morris K. Udall Foundation (now Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation) and The University of Arizona.



Bush Foundation, in partnership with the Native Nations Institute, convened in Walker, Minnesota for the fourth session with Cohort Five of the Native Nations Rebuilders Program

Native Nations Rebuilders Program
July 9-11, 2014
Walker, Minnesota

On July 9-11, the Bush Foundation, in partnership with the Native Nations Institute, convened in Walker, Minnesota for the fourth session with Cohort Five of the Native Nations Rebuilders Program. Rebuilders spent the time reconnecting with each other by sharing stories of what's happening in their nations; working on developing and finalizing nation-building action plans; and strengthening their skills in community mobilization. They returned to their nations re-energized and ready for the first five months of action plan implementation!
The Native Nation Rebuilders Program helps train community leaders in the region of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota by providing access to ideas and information, expanded networks, leadership training and other resources for nation building. NNI staff, Herminia Frias, Joan Timeche, and Ian Record attended the event.

For more information on the Native Nation Rebuilders Program, please contact Herminia Frias, Partnership Manager.


npr InterviewSchultz, Rainie, and Trujillo interviewed on AZPM

NNI senior researchers, Jennifer Schultz and Stephanie Carroll Rainie, and graduate research assistant, Aurora Trujillo, were interviewed by Arizona Public Media on a pilot study on young adult tribal citizens living off the reservation. The interview aired July 16, 2014.

“Over the past several decades, Native nations have made a lot of great strides culturally, economically, and in other respects. One of the questions we still don’t know a lot about is the experience of tribal citizens [living away from the reservation], especially young people, and it continues to be a population of great interest to tribes.” – Jenn Schultz on AZPM

Listen here >

Participate in the survey >

Native Girl

LIVE SURVEY: Off-Reservation Tribal Citizens

Are you a citizen of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska Native village, age 18-29 who is living outside the boundaries of his or her Native nation? The Native Nations Institute would like to help tribes to strengthen ties with off-reservation citizens. We invite you to take a short survey about your experiences and add your perspective to the conversation.

Native Nations Institute research team is investigating young adult (ages 18-29) tribal citizens' experiences of living away from tribal homelands, whether they have moved away from the Native nation, or never lived on tribal lands in the first place.

A new project, "Residence, Connectedness, and Citizenship for Young Adult American Indians," seeks to explore the following questions: Are there meaningful ways for such young people to participate in the community as citizens, even while living "off-reservation"? How can tribe facilitate enduring connections and engagement with their young adult, off-reservation populations?

For more information, please contact Jennifer Lee Schultz or Stephanie Carroll Rainie.

Click here for live survey >


NNI Research Staff to Present at NCAI Mid-year Event
June 8-10, 2014
Anchorage, Alaska

NNI researchers Stephanie Rainie and Jennifer Schultz will presented at the NCAI (National Congress of American Indians) mid-year meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. Their talk, "The Strategic Power of Data: A Key Aspect of Sovereignty," was part of the Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum session on "Data Advocacy" on Sunday, June 8th.

Jennifer Schultz and Stephanie Rainie

Abstract: The Strategic Power of Data: A Key Aspect of Sovereignty here>

Presentation: The Strategic Power of Data: A Key Aspect of Sovereignty here>

Indian Country Today Article: The Strategic Power of Data: A Key Aspect of Sovereignty here >

Read more about NNI's policy analysis and research program here>


Sovereignty Book

New Book on Tribal Constitutions
Co-authored by NNI’s Miriam Jorgensen

Melissa L. Tatum, Miriam Jorgensen, Mary E. Guss, and Sarah Deer. (2014). Structuring Sovereignty: Constitutions of Native Nations. UCLA American Indian Studies Center Publications.  

Drafting and adopting a constitution is a collective journey of self-discovery and reflection for any nation, Indigenous or non-Indigenous. This book is a guide for communities engaged in the process of drafting a constitution and for students who are studying that process. It draws on research, firsthand experience with constitution writing and constitutional change, and numerous examples from actual governing documents to demonstrate the many ways that Indigenous nations can structure their sovereignty.

"incredibly timely . . . a most valuable companion . . . and a resource of the highest order."

Purchase from publisher's site> 


NNI Holds Forum on Community, Governance, and Culture
in the Health of Native Nations

April 14-15, 2014
Tucson, Arizona

In April, the Native Nations Institute convened a policy forum with 25 tribal leaders and managers, academics, and others to address "Community, Governance, and Culture in the Health of Native Nations."

The purpose of the event, initiated and led by Stephanie Rainie (NNI tribal health program manager and senior researcher), was to explore the social determinants of health that tribal communities can influence and to suggest steps tribes can take – outside the health care system – to improve community health. NNI's work on these topics is supported in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Udall Foundation.


Joan Timeche

NNI's Timeche Quoted in Washington Post
April 1, 2014

NNI executive director Joan Timeche was quoted in a recent Washington Post blog article by Mary Hudetz, “Why Native American women have been leaders in the fight against team mascots.”

Hudetz wrote: “Just as more women across the United States have stepped into leadership roles, it’s become clear, at least anecdotally, that during the past 30 years more Native American women also have assumed positions on tribal councils and taken on decision-making roles in their communities, said Joan Timeche, executive director at the Native Nations Institute at University of Arizona.”

Visit Washington Post site for full article>


NNI Researshers

Mikisew Case Study Released

"Forwarding First Nation Goals through Enterprise Ownership: The Mikisew Group Of Companies" by Miriam Jorgensen and Rachel Starks (both NNI researchers), was prepared for the Best Practices in Rural Alberta Project. The Project, developed and administered by the Indigenous Leadership and Management program at The Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, was made possible by contributions from The Banff Centre, Rural Alberta Development Fund, and Nexen, Inc.

Read case study here> PDF

Contact: Rachel Starks

Photo by Gavin Young at the Calgary Herald


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