Tribal Professionals Cohort

Each year, full funding for three January In Tucson courses is offered to a small group of tribal professionals (10 or fewer) living and working in the U.S. This carefully selected Tribal Professionals Cohort is interested in educating themselves on how to strengthen tribal governance. Completing these courses will earn the individual cohort members credit towards a Continuing Education Certificate in Indigenous Governance. Additionally, the cohort will receive supplemental educational materials as well as the opportunity to meet and debrief what they’ve learned with one another throughout the year.

What are the benefits of participating in the Tribal Professionals Cohort?

  • Free registration for three continuing education courses on Indigenous governance;
  • A travel stipend to help defray the costs associated with attending the courses at the University of Arizona in Tucson;
  • A first-rate educational experience, which includes instruction on a number of Indigenous governance topics taught by world-renowned professors; and
  • The ability to connect with other Arizona tribal practitioners who are trying to strengthen sovereignty in their own communities.

Who can apply to be a member of the Tribal Professionals Cohort?

Citizens of any U.S. tribe who are interested in learning more about Indigenous governance may apply to participate in the Tribal Professionals Cohort. Individuals who are current tribal government practitioners and individuals who can demonstrate the ability to take the information they learn back to their own tribal communities are especially encouraged to apply.



  • Leonard Bruce (Gila River Indian Community), Program Evaluator, Gila River Indian Community
  • Shelly Diaz (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), Commissioner of Administration, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • Bradley Harrington (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), Commissioner of Natural Resources, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • Bridget Valenzuela (Pasqua Yaqui Tribe), MSPI Coordinator, Pascua Yaqui Tribe / Centered Spirit
  • Desirie Wilson (Red Lake Nation), Administrative Officer, Red Lake Nation


  • Valerie Melendez (Northern Paiute, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony), Tribal Economic Development Director, Northern Nevada Development Authority
  • Nicole Charley (Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs), Admin. Assistant, Fish Management, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
  • Carmenlita Chief (Navajo Nation), Research Specialist, University of Arizona
  • Mikhail Sundust (Akimel O’otham, Pee Posh), Reporter, Gila River Indian Community
  • Juanita Francis (Navajo Nation), Faculty Member, Dine College
  • Rachel Hood (Yavapai-Apache Nation), Councilwoman, Yavapai-Apache Nation


  • Eleanor YellowRobe (White Clay Gros Ventre), President, Native Assets Accounting
  • Wayne Martin (Tohono O'odham/Navajo), Vice Chairman for Pisinemo District, Tohono O'odham Nation
  • Rosa Long (Cocopah Indian Tribe), Councilwoman, Cocopah Indian Tribe
  • Adrian Dotson (Navajo) Outreach Specialist for ETD, Inc., and Media Relations Partner for Rez Media
    Read an article about Adrian at JIT 2016

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