Tribal Professionals Cohort

Tribal Professionals Cohort

A year-long professional development program designed to equip Native leaders with knowledge and tools for Native Nation Building


With a focus on Nation Building principles - sovereignty, capable governing institutions, cultural match, strategic orientation, and public-spirited leadership – members of NNI’s Tribal Professional Cohort will explore how to strengthen these critical elements of their nation as they work to lead change in their communities.

The NNI TPC program was created in 2016 to respond to the realities, challenges, and opportunities of Tribal Professionals serving Native communities. It aims to deepen participants' commitment to growth, innovation, and networking. Participants will strengthen their leadership skills, build their advocacy skills, cultivate a network of Tribal professionals who support each other's career growth - all while advancing their own professional, personal, and political capacity to tackle community challenges.

The NNI TPC program is a year-long experience, starting in December every year and culminating the following November.

Over the course of the year, cohort members will participate in interactive cohort events that include an orientation, January In Tucson (JIT) courses, seminars with NNI professionals, and networking opportunities throughout the year. Except for JIT, these events are largely virtual. They will: 

-Attend a virtual orientation designed to review the program, expectations and commitments, and a sneak peek at Native Nation Building. 

-Benefit from a first-rate education on several Indigenous governance topics with world-renowned professors during JIT.

  • JIT courses are accelerated three-day, 4.5 hour courses held in Tucson, AZ. 
  • JIT utilizes the UArizona’s Desire to Learn (D2L) platform for reading assignments, classroom assignments, and the final course assignment. Additionally, for the quarterly virtual seminars, Cohort members are required to have reliable access to the Internet and a computer/laptop/tablet to complete assignments and attend virtual sessions. 
  • All TPC members are required to complete three (3) JIT courses including the Rebuilding Native Nations: An Introduction course as a pre-requisite. 
  • Completion of 3 courses earns 3 credits towards a Continuing Education Certificate in Indigenous Governance from the Native Nations Institute. 

-Develop a network of relationships with a small group of cross-sector tribal professionals (10 or less) from across U.S. Indian Country who all have a career commitment to serving Native communities, and an interest in finding creative solutions to the most pressing issues in Indigenous governance. 

-Deepen their knowledge and skills in Native Nation Building through free quarterly seminars throughout the year (virtual via Zoom, 2.5 hours each). 

-Have the opportunity to learn from and connect with guest speakers that include experts, leaders, and practitioners in tribal governance. 

-Receive support from NNI staff/faculty via weekly check-ins during JIT and monthly thereafter (virtual via Zoom, 1 hour each). 

-Enjoy the flexibility of learning from the comfort of your chosen location (applies to virtual seminars/events). 

-Receive discounts on CEU registration rates at future JIT sessions. 

  1. Be versed in the Native Nation Building approach and principles. 
  2. Enhanced ability to effect positive change at work and in your community. 
  3. Enhanced leadership abilities and leadership tools. 
  4. Expanded professional networks. 

  • U.S. citizens of any U.S. Native nation (Federal or State Recognized) who are interested in learning more about Indigenous governance. 
  • Individuals who are current tribal government practitioners, community leaders, and individuals who can demonstrate the ability to take the information they learn back to their own tribal communities are especially encouraged to apply. 
  • Only individuals who are able to commit to attending the orientation/pre-session, three JIT courses and four quarterly seminars should apply. Attendance at all sessions is required for successful completion of the program. 

TPC 2024 Schedule:

  • Orientation and pre-JIT Native Nation Building Session on December 14, 2023, from 3-5:30pm AZ/MST
  • JIT Welcome Reception on January 12, 2024 (Tucson, AZ) at a venue in Main Gate Square.
  • JIT Courses including required 'Rebuilding Native Nations: An Introduction' (in-person, January 8 - 10, 2024, 8:00 - 12:20 PM AZ/MST)
  • Quarterly Native Nation Building (NNB) seminars held virtually from 3:30 - 5:30 pm on:
    • #1 - March 5, 2024, AZ/Mountain Standard Time
    • #2 - May 14, 2024, AZ/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
    • #3 - July 30, 2024, AZ/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
    • #4 - October 15, 2024, AZ/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
  • Monthly one-hour virtual check-ins throughout the program – date and time to be scheduled. 

Course fees waived!

Registration fees of $2,250 for three JIT Continuing Education 1-credit courses and 4 quarterly seminars is covered for TPC members. At a minimum, Cohort members will be responsible for books (although most courses provide online resources), travel to Tucson, per diem, local transportation, incidentals, etc. 

A limited number of "Supplemental Travel Scholarships" are available (typically includes lodging in Tucson, AZ, and as funds are available, partial support for transportation to/from Tucson). We encourage cost-sharing with your employer and you to maximize our limited budget. Please inquire and/or include in your application if interested.



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