2005. The Cherokee Language Revitalization Project | Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. View Report (PDF)Abstract

In 2002, the Cherokee Nation carried out a survey of its population and found no fluent Cherokee speakers under the age of 40. The Cherokee Principal Chief declared a state of emergency, and the Nation acted accordingly. With great focus and determination, it launched a multi-faceted initiative designed to revitalize the Cherokee language. Using state- of-the-art knowledge and techniques of language acquisition, the Project includes a language immersion program for pre-school children, a university partnership degree program for certifying Cherokee language teachers, and a set of community language activities. The Project brings together elders, young adults, and children in an effort to preserve not just a language but a people who see in their language the foundation of their own survival.

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2005. Choctaw Tribal Court System | Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. View Report (PDF)Abstract

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has created a vibrant economy, and one of the underpinnings of its success is its court system. Organized independently of elected leadership, the court provides an arena for the fair, reliable resolution of disputes. Intent on not becoming just another adversarial court of law, the Choctaw Tribal Court strives to incorporate traditional Choctaw values into its law and practices, to help both victims and offenders, and to pay particular attention to tribal youth. In so doing, the Mississippi Choctaw have developed a comprehensive judicial system that responds to the needs of all its citizens.

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2005. Excellence in Tribal Governance: An Honoring Nations Case Study - The Ya Ne Dah Ah School | Chickaloon Village. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Dedicated to giving community youth the skills necessary for functioning in a modern world while retaining and facilitating traditional knowledge and practices, the Ya Ne Dah Ah is Alaska’s only tribally owned and operated full-time primary school and day care facility. Located in a one-room schoolhouse that receives no federal or state funding, the School’s 20 students – whose CAT scores are higher than their national counterparts – learn Ahtna Athabascan history, language, music, and art from elders, and science and math from tribal foresters, environmentalists, and computer technicians. The School’s board also encourages intensive parental involvement and aggressively monitors student progress.

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2005. Flandreau Police Department | Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. View Report (PDF)Abstract

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.

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2005. The Hopi Tribe Land Team | Hopi Tribe. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Reclaiming traditional lands has been a primary concern of the Hopi Tribe for the last century. In 1996, significant land purchases became possible under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. government, but the tribal government then faced the problem of developing a plan for land reacquisition. In 1998, responding to this challenge, the Hopi Tribe created the Hopi Land Team. With the goal of striking a balance between preservation and the future, the Team works to identify potential purchases, evaluate their cultural and economic significance and potential, and recommend purchases. The work of the Team has led not only to new development initiatives that have increased tribal revenues, but it also brought back to the nation critical cultural resources and sacred sites that play a major role in the life of the Hopi people.

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2005. Miccosukee Tribe Section 404 Permitting Program | Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

The reservation lands of the Miccosukee Tribe lie largely within the Everglades National Park. Development on these lands is subject to elaborate regulations by a host of federal agencies. This hindered economic development and other uses of their lands by the Miccosukee people, including the building of traditional dwellings and family gardening. Tribal citizens had to negotiate a time-consuming, regulatory maze almost every time they engaged in land-use activities. With the Section 404 Permitting Program, the Tribe set out to streamline the regulatory process and, more importantly, to win for itself a stronger role in regulatory activity. By contracting on-reservation authority from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers to issue land permits, enforce environmental codes, and manage permit violations, the Miccosukee Tribe is not only enabling its citizens to improve their own homes and engage in traditional cultural activities, but it is also expanding the reach of the Tribe's own governmental powers by managing and enforcing permitting through national channels. 

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2005. Migizi Business Camp | Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

In 1994, after 120 years of struggle, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians finally re-obtained federal recognition. Ever since, tribal priorities included strengthening self-governance and the tribal economy. Their economic strategy followed two paths: the development of tribal enterprises and the encouragement of citizen-owned, small businesses. In tribal discussions, many citizens indicated an interest in starting business of their own and the Band responded by implementing a work readiness and job training for teenagers and young adults. Five years ago, the Band's planning and education departments joined forces to create the Migizi Business Camp for tribal youth. For six days, students are taken off the reservation to learn business development concepts and build entrepreneurial skills. They complete business plans and present their ideas to a panel of judges. The Camp represents a conscious effort by the tribal government to involve its younger citizens in the effort to build an economic future for the Nation. 

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2005. Navajo Nation Sales Tax | Navajo Nation. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

The Navajo Nation is the largest coal-producing tribe in the U.S. and, historically, its government has relied on tax and royalty revenue associated with coal production as a primary source of revenue. Today, however, both depletion and a desire to lessen the Nation's dependence on income from non-renewable resources have led the Navajo Nation to consider new ways to generate revenue for governmental operations. In 2002, it began levying the first comprehensive Native nation sales tax on goods and services sold within reservation boundaries. By law, revenue from the tax is earmarked for the Nation's Permanent Trust Fund, land acquisition, and local government, among other uses, before the remainder flows to the nation's General Fund. 

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2005. Oneida Farms/Agriculture Center (ONFAC) | Oneida Nation WI. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

In the 18th century, when the Oneida Nation was located in what is now New York State, the Nation's fields and orchards were vast and productive, reflecting its core cultural tradition of sustainable agriculture. A long history of land loss and forced migration diminished the Nation's ability to maintain its agricultural traditions resulting in the disconnection of tribal citizens to their customary practices and the land. More than two hundred years later, the Nation is recovering land and finding ways to restore its agricultural heritage through the Oneida Nation Farms and related programs. By reacquiring land, the Nations is returning to cultural roots in a modern, sustainable way, while also addressing important health concerns, and economic development needs. 

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2005. Professional Empowerment Program | Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

After realizing that plentiful jobs did not always translate into employed citizens, representatives from a group of tribal services and businesses came together to address the underlying causes of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation's high employee turnover rate. The Professional Empowerment Program is helping create healthy citizens and better employees while improving its community through collaborative efforts, self-esteem building curriculum, and services designed to address the well-being of the whole person. 

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2005. Siyeh Corporation | Blackfeet Nation. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

For years the Blackfeet Nation struggled to create sustainable tribal enterprises that could produce revenue for the Nation and meet the needs of its citizens for jobs and services. Many of these efforts did not succeed because of conflicts within the tribal government. In 1999, the Nation tried a new strategy. It established a federally chartered, tribally owned corporation designed to manage businesses on behalf of the government and protect those businesses from inappropriate political influence. Named after a great Blackfeet warrior known for his fearless leadership, the Siyeh Corporation today runs multiple businesses and promotes economic growth and stability while preserving Blackfeet cultural and traditional values. Siyeh is changing the economic landscape of an impoverished reservation, increasing the Blackfeet Nation's revenues and enhancing Blackfeet self-government. 

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2005. Tribal Monitors Program | Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Land steward holding shards of pottery in hands.Facing widespread looting on and desecration of tribal lands and cultural sites, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has developed an initiative to protect and uphold the significance of these sites by training tribal citizens to preserve the land. With a team of 16 volunteers, including two elder spiritual experts, the Tribe monitors its traditional homeland, provides services to other Indian nations in five states, partners with outside agencies in preservation and enforcement efforts, and assists in creating tribal legislation by developing a Cultural Resource Code.

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2005. Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council | Intertribal. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Open-air wooden structure covered in a blue tarp with container and tables for harvesting fish.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.

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Janine Ja no's Bowen. 12/2004. “Excellence in Tribal Governance: An Honoring Nations Case Study - The Ojibwe Language Program | Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe”. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Created in 1995, this Tribally funded program serves 350 students (from toddlers to teenagers) and uses elder-youth interaction, song books, and comic books to teach the Ojibwe language. In addition, the Program broadcasts language classes to local public schools in an effort to teach the Ojibwe language, history, and culture to non-Indian children. Teaching the Band's children their traditional language has allowed Mille Lacs Band members to pass on Tribal values more effectively. At the same time, it has served as an important tool in both preserving the Band's culture and strengthening bonds between Band members.

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Leigh Fitzgerald and Katie Milligan. 5/24/2004. Upper Sioux Language Preservation Program Models, Projects & Plans for Success | Upper Sioux Community. View Report (PDF)Abstract

This report was commissioned by Helen Blue, Upper Sioux Tribal Chairman, to explore ways to sustain existing language programs and expand programming options to increase participation among Upper Sioux tribal members in language preservation efforts. The authors of this report are graduate students at Harvard University enrolled in Nation Building II, part of the Harvard University Native American Project (HUNAP). This report has several objectives:

  • To examine the “state of language acquisition” among the Upper Sioux, including past and present programs;
  • To perform a “feasibility study” of restarting a comprehensive language program, analyzing the tribe’s strengths and weaknesses; &
  • To provide several recommendations and concrete steps for moving forward.

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Wenona Benally and Justin Martin. 5/2004. Navajo Nation Intergovernmental Affairs. View Report (PDF)Abstract
5/2004. Paving the Way for Telemedicine in Indian Country- The Hopi Tribe and Harvard Univ. View Report (PDF)Abstract
Andrew Rabens and Natalie Palugyai. 5/2004. Rosebud Sioux Sicangu Lakota Tetunwan Oyate Constitutional Reform. View Report (PDF)Abstract

The work, which is currently being done within the Rosebud Sioux community to amend the current 1935 IRA Constitution is both timely and extremely commendable. Reforming the constitution so that it better fits the present day lives and culture of the Rosebud Sioux community is an ambitious act, currently being tackled by the Rosebud Community at-large and through the hard work of the Constitutional Task Force. A constitution should serve as the essence of the community, which embodies the spirit, political structure, culture, and way of life in which a society has chosen to live. Potential investors will look at the safeguards in place within the constitution to see how their potential investments will be protected. Foreign peoples will look at the Constitution and develop an image of what the Rosebud Sioux stand for. While a constitution must be legitimate in the eyes of its people, it must also evoke a proud and deep personal sense of connection. There seems to be broad consensus that the current constitution comes up short in these respects. Therefore it is extremely advantageous that the Rosebud Community and the Constitutional Task Force have been working to address some of the current Constitution’s shortcomings. The amending process of the Constitution, which is currently taking place, is a tremendous step in the direction of exerting sovereignty and developing a precious document, which can accurately embody the unique Rosebud culture and establish a culturally practical political structure.

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Leigh Fitzgerald and Katie Milligan. 5/2004. Upper Sioux Language Preservation Program Models, Projects & Plans for Success. View Report (PDF)Abstract
  • This report was commissioned by Helen Blue, Upper Sioux Tribal Chairman, to explore ways to sustain existing language programs and expand programming options to increase participation among Upper Sioux tribal members in language preservation efforts. The authors of this report are graduate students at Harvard University enrolled in Nation Building II, part of the Harvard University Native American Project (HUNAP). This report has several objectives:
  • To examine the “state of language acquisition” among the Upper Sioux, including past and present programs;
  • To perform a “feasibility study” of restarting a comprehensive language program, analyzing the tribe’s strengths and weaknesses; &
  •  To provide several recommendations and concrete steps for moving forward.
Jody Rave and Jesse Hardman. 5/2004. Freedom of the Press in Indian Country. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Freedom of the press is an inalienable right most U.S. citizens take for granted. To ensure
the right to express thoughts and opinions, free press and free speech clauses were
cemented into a legal framework becoming the First Amendment to the U.S. constitution.
Press freedoms have helped the United States become one of the most influential
democracies in world history. The media’s allure lies within its power to provide people
with information so they can be free and self-governing. In journalism, the overriding
obligation is to tell the truth, and to present those truths to citizens.

Equally, they long to hear news from engaging and accurate storytellers. This is a basic
human instinct shared the world over from the most technologically advanced nations to
the isolated and impoverished. Some might question whether a free press is an
appropriate cultural match in Indian Country. Yet nothing overrides people’s need to
know information.

Among the Lakota, storytellers were highly respected individuals within tribal societies.
Those that relayed information to the villages were called eyapahes. It is common even
today to see the thriving nature of storytelling among tribes such as the Crow in Montana.
At traditional community gatherings, it is customary for Crow “camp criers” to typically
ride horse back through the camp in the morning. And in the Crow language he
encourages the camp to wake up and greet the morning sun. He also announces the day’s
upcoming events. Like the Lakota, these are highly respected positions, and one must be
given the ceremonial rite to fulfill the camp crier role.

Today the dilemma in Indian Country is that news dissemination has changed. Tribal
news sources often exist not for the people, but as propaganda tools of the tribal council.
For more than a decade, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) has been
and advocate for securing press freedoms at tribal newspapers. NAJA dedicated 1998, as
the “The Year of Promoting Free Expression in Native America.” It was an effort to bring
greater awareness to press censorship where tribal leaders can hire and fire reporters at
will, where tribal journalists typically don’t have access to tribal government documents,
where tribal councils often review news before it’s published.

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