Indoor plumbing is a basic amenity that most Americans take for granted. In parts of rural Alaska, however, providing water and sewer service is not an easy task. The harsh climate requires special adaptations, costs are high, and many small communities lack the expertise needed to manage complex systems. To address these challenges, the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative facilitates cooperation among Alaska Native villages to assist them with the operations of their own water and sewer systems as effectively and inexpensively as possible.
Drug dealers and gang members threaten the well-being of communities throughout the United States. In Indian Country, jurisdictional issues and a lack of trust in law enforcement complicate the apprehension of drug- and gang-involved offenders. Tribal Police Departments in Wisconsin formed the Native American Drug and Gang Initiative Task Force to strengthen their ability to deal with these illegal activities with support from the tribal governments. The Task Force facilitates inter-agency cooperation and helps tribes take the lead in addressing public safety threats to their communities.
Tribal land is a scarce resource, and tribal leaders often face competing demands concerning land use. Especially pressing are the potential tradeoffs between development and environmental stewardship. The Lummi Nation was eager to develop housing and commercial properties but wanted to make sure that these projects would not damage ecologically sensitive areas on the reservation. To help manage development on its lands, the nation created the first tribally operated commercial wetland mitigation bank in the country. The Lummi Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank sells mitigation credits to both tribal and non-tribal projects, helping the nation balance its development and preservation goals.
Children are the future of any nation. In the US, a misguided and shameful history of removing Native children from their homes destroyed families and communities. Although the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 affirmed tribal nations’ role in child protection, assimilationist policies have an ongoing influence, and Native children taken into the homes of non-Native families typically grow up with no connection to their extended families and lose their cultural identity. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (PGST) resolved to create its own Child Welfare Program and recently took complete control over federal funds for child welfare, a first among tribes in the US. PGST provides services that are culturally sensitive and integrated with tribal programs to protect children and strengthen families.
In many parts of the United States, there is a long history of mistrust between Indian nations and neighboring municipalities. Officials lack an understanding of tribal sovereignty and treaty rights, leading to strained or even hostile relationships. In Scott County, tribal and nontribal government officials recognized that by working together they could stretch their scarce resources further, resulting in a win-win for all area communities. The Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency, known as SCALE, fosters intergovernmental cooperation and furthers the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s ability to improve its citizens’ quality of life.
In many parts of the United States, there is a long history of mistrust between Indian nations and neighboring municipalities. Officials lack an understanding of tribal sovereignty and treaty rights, leading to strained or even hostile relationships. In Scott County, tribal and nontribal government officials recognized that, by working together, they could stretch their scarce resources further, resulting in a win-win for all area communities. The Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency, known as SCALE, fosters intergovernmental cooperation and furthers the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s ability to improve its citizens’ quality of life.
The Coast Salish Gathering provides an environmental policy platform for the tribal and First Nations governments, state and provincial governments, and the US and Canadian federal governments—all of which have interests in the Salish Sea region—to discuss and determine effective environmental strategies and practices. Most important for the Coast Salish people, however, it amplifies their voice on the environmental issues that matter most to them: access to toxin-free traditional foods, adequate water quality and quantity, and collective climate change policies.
In 2006, Leech Lake set aside generations of racial tension that existed between the tribe and its non-Native neighbors in order to focus on community healing. As a result, a DWI Wellness Court was formed by the Leech Lake Tribal Court and Minnesota’s Ninth Judicial District’s Cass County District Court to adjudicate and rehabilitate substance abusers. One year later, Leech Lake established a second Wellness Court in collaboration Itasca County District Court. The Wellness Courts operate under a joint powers agreement and serve both Native and non-Native people. They function as multi-agency advocacy and enforcement. Since its inception, the Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction has grown in capacity, outreach, impact, and success and stands as an outstanding example of expanded self-governance.
Newtok is a traditional Yup'ik village located on the Ninglick River in far-western Alaska. Newtok is now in the process of relocating nine miles south to Nelson Island, the site of the community’s traditional summer camp. Newtok itself has taken the lead in working with dozens of state and federal agencies to piece together its relocation efforts. In 2006, the Newtok Planning Group formed as a centralized, community-specific strategy to relocate the village. The Newtok Planning Group is a one-of-a-kind partnership between Newtok, state and federal government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. As a result, these groups now gather together in the same room to strategize Newtok’s relocation.
Over the past few years, the citizens of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, located south of Phoenix, Arizona, have witnessed the land surrounding their reservation rapidly transform from fields into housing subdivisions. Worried about the impact on the reservation, the Ak-Chin Indian Community established its Community Council Task Force. The Task Force reviews all development plans for the lands surrounding the reservation to determine their resulting influence on the Community’s quality of life, and works with developers and neighboring governments to lessen any potential harm.
The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) is nearly silent regarding its potential application in Indian Country. But by the mid-1990s, the ESA had proven to be a source of serious concern for Indian tribes. In 1997, as the culmination of months of negotiations between agency officials and tribal representatives, the Secretaries of the Interior and of Commerce jointly issued Secretarial Order 3206 (SO 3206), entitled “American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act.” The order sought to harmonize the federal trust responsibility to tribes and the statutory missions of the Departments of the Interior and Commerce in implementing the ESA. This paper considers whether the order has lived up to its promise of true bilateralism between the United States and sovereign tribal governments regarding their rights vís-a-vís the ESA process. It reviews the key requirements of the ESA, pertinent executive orders, and SO 3206 itself. It analyzes government-to-government relations in several cases of “final rule” critical habitat designation and through a review of scholarly literature. Further, it discusses the difference tribes can make by creating and implementing their own habitat management plans, as alternatives to designation of critical habitat on Indian lands, and by actively partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Conservation Service. The author concludes that while SO 3206 has not yet lived up to its full promise, it is making a difference by assisting federal land managers and sovereign tribal governments in building stronger working relationships while protecting the environment.
A revolution is underway among the Indigenous nations of North America. It is a quiet revolution, largely unnoticed in society at large. But it is profoundly important. From High Plains states and Prairie Provinces to southwestern deserts, from Mississippi and Oklahoma to the northwest coast of the continent, Native peoples are reclaiming their right to govern themselves and to shape their future in their own ways. Challenging more than a century of colonial controls, they are addressing severe social problems, building sustainable economies, and reinvigorating Indigenous cultures. In effect, they are rebuilding their nations according to their own diverse and often innovative designs. Produced by the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy at the University of Arizona and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, this book traces the contours of that revolution as Native nations turn the dream of self-determination into a practical reality. Part report, part analysis, part how-to manual for Native leaders, it discusses strategies for governance and community and economic development being employed by American Indian nations and First Nations in Canada as they move to assert greater control over their own affairs. Rebuilding Native Nations provides guidelines for creating new governance structures, rewriting constitutions, building justice systems, launching nation-owned enterprises, encouraging citizen entrepreneurs, developing new relationships with non-Native governments, and confronting the crippling legacies of colonialism. For nations that wish to join that revolution or for those who simply want to understand the transformation now underway across Indigenous North America, this book is a critical resource.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians have long depended on the fish that live in Red Lake, the sixth largest body of freshwater in the United States. Both the waters and walleye of the lake are central to the Red Lake Band people, its history, economy, and culture. But by the mid-1990s, the walleye population had collapsed from over-fishing. Taking drastic but necessary action, the Band negotiated a consensus arrangement with local fishermen and state and federal officials to ban fishing in the lake. Over a ten-year period the fish recovered at an astonishing rate. The tribally led Red Lake Recovery Project now determines when, how, and who can fish the historic waters from which the Band claims its name.
Recognizing and acting upon the belief that safety for Native women is among their highest priorities, leadership from Native nations joined with Native and non-Native grassroots coalitions and organizations over 500 entities in total to create an ongoing national movement educating Congress on the need for enhancing the safety of Native women. Formalizing their affiliation through the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the coordinated efforts led to the 2005 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Act includes financial resources and protection for Native women, a first in the history of the VAWA. Now, tribal governments are better situated to combat the scourge of domestic violence present in Indian Country and mark a return to more traditional modes of honoring family and community.
In response to the challenges of meeting the public safety needs of their citizens across multiple jurisdictions, all with limited human and financial resources, and increased problems of drug and alcohol related crime, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the City of Flandreau joined legal and financial resources in a working partnership to establish the Flandreau Police Department. Operating under a jointly run, independent Public Safety Commission, the Flandreau Police Department strengthens the ability of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe to exercise its right to protect and serve its citizens while demonstrating its commitment to safety for an entire community. In the process, all citizens Native and non-Native realize improved community safety.
The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council stands as a collective initiative of 63 rural, indigenous communities across Alaska and the Yukon Territory with a mission to monitor, advocate, and advise in order to improve the well-being of the watershed and the people who live within it. The Council has set preservation priorities, increased its own capacity to measure water quality, and successfully advocated to remedy and prevent further environmental degradation of the Yukon River watershed.
This study explores legal and economic dimensions of current perceptions of (and debates over) the nature and extent of tribal self-rule in the United States, with the objective of distinguishing between myth and reality. The authors address key threads of thought and assumptions that pervade, accurately or inaccurately, discussions in the public policy arena. What emerges is a picture in which tribes do exercise substantial, albeit limited, sovereignty. This sovereignty is not a set of special rights. Rather, its roots lie in the fact that Indian nations predate the United States. While their sovereignty has been diminished, it has not been terminated. Tribal sovereignty is recognized and protected by the U.S. Constitution, legal precedent, and treaties, as well as applicable principles of human rights.
This report seeks to equip Principal Investigators considering research in Indian Country and any associated researchers, sample collectors, repository technicians, and other associated members of the research team to make clear, comprehensive, and balanced presentations regarding the Haplotype Mapping Project to potential partners in Indian Country. In addition, it seeks to present a culturally aware and constructive framework through which such partnerships might be formed if and when a small-scale Haplotype Mapping Project is undertaken in Indian Country.