NNI Celebrates 15 Years

05/13/16 09:55:am

The Native Nations Institute (NNI), a unit of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, celebrated it’s 15th anniversary with a reception and networking event on April 7, 2016. The event took place in the courtyard of the Udall Center. About 80 attendees enjoyed the networking experience with a distinguished guest list that included:

  • Austin Nuñez, Chairman, San Xavier District, Tohono O’odham Nation
  • Kimberly Espy, Senior Vice President for Research, University of Arizona
  • Phil Lemanski, Executive Director, Udall Foundation
  • Eric Eberhard, Chairman, Udall Foundation Board of Trustees
  • NNI’s International Advisory Council members

Since it’s establishment in 2001, NNI has worked with 145 tribal nations, or 43%, in 23 of 33 of the continental U.S. states. NNI is the leading research, service, and outreach organization supporting the nation-rebuilding efforts of Indigenous peoples in North America and, increasingly, around the world. NNI works with Native nations and organizations to support Indigenous self-determination, strengthen Indigenous governance capacities, and achieve Indigenous community and economic development objectives. It does this through hands-on collaboration, practical research, and educational programs and outreach services designed to assist Indigenous peoples in rebuilding their nations according to their own designs. NNI was founded by the University of Arizona and the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation and works in full collaboration with its sister organization, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

Among its services, NNI’s research provides information critical to Native nations’ sovereignty and community development.NNI offers non-credit and for-credit education and professional development options for Indigenous leaders, tribal government employees, scholars, and those with Indigenous peoples via the Indigenous Governance Programs’ (IGP) January in Tucson and the Rebuilding Native Nations Distance Learning Course Series on topics such as: Native Nation Building, Governance, Constitutions, Justice Systems, Administration, Nation & Citizen Enterprises, Intergovernmental & Tribal Relations, and Leadership. NNI also hosts an online Indigenous Governance Database with over 1,295 audio, video, and text files for those interested in researching more about Nation (Re)building in Indian Country. NNI is considered a research and policy institute with numerous collaborations with outside partners such as the Bush Foundation, National Indian Child and Welfare Association, Native Governance Center, and has received grants from Ford Foundation, Udall Foundation, Bush Foundation, WK Kellogg Foundation, the Native Governance Center and many other organizations and tribes.

NNI launched its inaugural Tribal Professionals Cohort during IGP’s 4th January in Tucson (JIT) held in 2016 with four individuals from the Cocopah Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation, Navajo Nation and Fort Belknap Indian Community (see January News from NNI). A new development slated for an October 2016 release is NNI’s Constitutions Resource Center, an online clearinghouse for anything Constitutions-related. The public launch will be celebrated in conjunction with NCAI’s 73rd Annual Convention and Marketplace in downtown Phoenix, AZ.

“We’re determining our future. We’re determining who we are going to be. We’re not going to rely on anybody that’s outside.” - Justin Beaulieu, CEO of Red Lake Inc.

“Nation Building is as much about rebuilding the spirit [of] our communities as its about building our professional capacity. So that we may begin again; be self-governed. Through their hard work, research strategy, and innovation, NNI has built a foundation for us to follow.” - Patricia Riggs

NNI plans to continue its effort to expand it reach and impact in assisting Indigenous nations strengthen their governments. We look forward to sharing many more years with you, so stay up to date with News from NNI and check out all that NNI has to offer by signing up for our newsletter.

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