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The Indigenous Governance Program (IGP) at the University of Arizona recently concluded its fourth January in Tucson (JIT) event in record-setting fashion. This year’s JIT welcomed 90 students to Tucson for Indigenous governance-focused intensive, 3-day classes, providing over 300 university and continuing education credits to participants. The event is the largest of its kind in the United States.
Founded in 2012, January in Tucson is an annual effort to provide Indigenous leaders, students, tribal professionals, and others working with Indigenous nations around the world with access to cutting-edge research tools on Indigenous rights and governance.
During January in Tucson, courses such as Native Economic Development and Constitutions of Indigenous Nations challenge participants to re-envision the possibilities of Native nation building, while learning from renowned scholars in the field of Indigenous governance. The goal of the program is to enable participants to gain practical skills and knowledge that they can use in their home communities.
Participants gave glowing reviews to this year's program. Elva “Cookie” Allen, PhD candidate at the University of Idaho, described JIT as “a paradigm shift, which is an incredible thing to happen to somebody that’s been working for over twenty years in Indian Country.”
When asked what makes JIT unique, Native Governance Center senior advisor and Nez Perce Tribal citizen Jaime Pinkham attributed JIT’s success to the expertise of its faculty: "We bring in faculty, people who have a variety of experience, and depth, and in this nation-building revolution that has been going on, and many of the lessons that they share are . . . stories [that] already come from Indian Country."
The IGP is a joint program of the Native Nations Institute (NNI) and the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program (IPLP) at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. The IGP receives generous support from the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, and the efforts of NNI/IPLP team members who help to make JIT possible.
Plans are already underway for JIT 2018. Further details will be released soon on the Indigenous Governance Program.