Graduate Student Research & Travel Funding

Graduate Student Research & Travel Funding Award


Every year, the Native Nations Institute (NNI) provides up to $2500 (per person) to Indigenous graduate students working on Indigenous nation-building related research projects on Indigenous governance, health policy, economic development, or community development.

We are especially interested in research projects or work on contemporary Indigenous issues that have practical policy implications and the potential to be useful to Native leaders and decision-makers.

At the Native Nations Institute, we’re eager to support the development of scholars and researchers focused on Indigenous nation building. This fund is a way to learn even more about nation building from the latest research in a variety of fields.

–Miriam Jorgensen, Research Director, Native Nations Institute

Amount and Use of Funds:

Graduate students are eligible to receive up to $2,500 per student that can be used for research-related expenses such as conference registration and attendance, research participation honoraria, equipment, data, and travel to a research location.

  • Be a domestic U.S. citizen pursuing research in the U.S. Priority is given to University of Arizona graduate students and Indigenous students.
  • Be accepted for enrollment or currently enrolled as a graduate degree-seeking student in an accredited U.S. college or university.
  • Be enrolled full-time taking classes or part-time working towards completion of a thesis or dissertation.
  • Not be a prior recipient.

  • Funds should be used for domestic purchase from U.S.-based vendors.
  • Awardee must present their research to the NNI staff and others at an informal meeting.
  • Awardee must submit a 1 to 2-page report on how the funding has contributed to their research.

Prepare the following documents for upload (incomplete applications will not be considered):

  1. Letter/short essay (no more than two pages total) describing:
    (1) your academic interests (e.g., an abstract of your thesis or dissertation); (2) how your research work relates to indigenous nation building; and (3) a description of how NNI research funds will contribute to your scholarly/professional development.
  2. Statement (no more than two pages total) of previous research and scholarly productivity, including a list of publications and presentations (if applicable). 
  3. A minimum of one letter of recommendation from a faculty member who is familiar with your work, skills, and abilities.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

Carrie Nuva Graduate Funding

"The research funding provided by NNI has allowed me to continue the community-based work within my Hopi community regarding legacy waste from past uranium milling. Using tactical methods to address our long standing concerns regarding legacy waste gives me great satisfaction in knowing that we are all working together and laying the foundation to protect our future, our environment, and our life ways - this is nation building to me."

–Carrie Nuva Joseph, Ph.D. student in Soil, Water, Environmental Science, University of Arizona

Megan Baker Graduate Funding

"Nation building is at the core of my research on economic development and sovereignty in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. It puts community voices in conversation with theories of Indigenous resurgence using ethnographic methods. My research asks how we can maintain the most ethical relationships with each other and the land, given our unique history with Removal to Indian Territory."

–Megan Baker, M.A. student, American Indian Studies, UCLA

Jamie Yazzie Graduate Funding

"With this grant I was able to travel to a remote chapter house to listen to tribal members express concerns over their environment. I will continue to use the funds to further my research and plan to attend the Inter-tribal Timber Council Symposium. I hope to continue listening to tribal members voice their connection of the physical world to the cultural and spiritual world. I am honored to be selected and am thankful for the Native Nations Institute for providing support to native scholars pursuing their education and empowering tribal nations with research. "

–Jaime Yazzie, M.S. student in Forestry, Northern Arizona University

Introducing our first NNI Graduate Student Research and Travel Funds recipients

"Tribal data building is a critical aspect of tribal nation building. Indigenous nations and communities need relevant, timely, and accurate data on their people and resources to support their governance goals. The NNI Graduate Student Research and Travel Funding has advanced my data sovereignty doctoral research agenda by enabling my participation in an international Indigenous data sovereignty panel at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association annual conference."

–Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, Ph.D student in Sociology, University of Arizona

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