The Education Initiative

Education is your greatest weapon… Study, learn, help one another always.”

-- Chief Plenty Coups (Apsaalooké)

Working along two parallel paths, the Harvard Project promotes education on issues of Indigenous sovereignty and effective self-governance.

Educational Resources for Indigenous self-governance

Tribal governments are challenged to govern and govern well. Self-Governance is arguably the indispensable ingredient for improving economic and social conditions in Indian Country. At the same time, education relevant to meeting those challenges has been largely absent from Native-aimed curriculum. It is telling that, in Indian education today, no discipline of Native Civics, with recognized core curricula, shared professional standards of performance and pedagogy, and institutional commitment to the field, exists.

Toward addressing the needs for knowledge on Native governance and development, the Harvard Project and the Native Nations Institute:

  • Provide multi-media lectures and other online educational materials for use by educators teaching in the field and Indigenous organizations investing in the professional development of their leaders, managers, and staff. These are distributed through such venues as The State of the Native Nations, Rebuilding Native Nations and a forthcoming Cases in Indigenous Nation Building. Video, audio, and other web-based offerings are distributed via electronic platform in cooperation with the Native Nations Institute.
  • Deliver leadership and management programs for tribal leaders, managers and administrators. Executive education sessions include a review of research findings and discussions about the applicability of those findings to specific tribal development challenges. To date, thousands of individuals and hundreds of Native nations have participated in these programs. The programs stress strategic thinking, institutional development, and leadership skills over vocational training. Please visit the Native Nations Institute’s website for more information.

Education of the Public

For far too long, the general public has framed its understanding of Native Nations from a historical lens or from popular culture stereotypes. The reality, impact, and wisdom emanating from contemporary Native Nations’ strides in self-determination are much richer. From the United States to the United Nations, the future of Indigenous sovereignty is tied to the politics and policies of the nation-states in which Indigenous communities are often embedded. The Harvard Project stands as a leader in the effort to ensure that the policies of national governments worldwide are based on respect for and sound understandings of the needs, powers and goals of Indigenous communities and their governments. Key components of our work include:

  • Indian Renaissance – Partnering with world-class producers, the Harvard Project is developing a major documentary film and accompanying multi-media public education materials. Indian Renaissance will tell today’s real stories of Indian Country’s remarkable resurgence.
  • Speaker Services – The faculty and professional staff of the Harvard Project are prominent as speakers at national and international venues, ranging from national legislative hearings, to media briefings, to major gatherings of policymakers and scholars.
  • Field Reports & Publications – The written and electronic reports and studies of the Harvard Project represent the largest available collection of practical lessons in Indigenous community development. This knowledge is distributed to the widest extent possible to any and all interested parties.