In 2000, two Mississippi Choctaw citizens organized the Choctaw Community Injury Prevention Program to combat the reservation community's rising level of preventable injuries and accidental deaths. In hopes of significantly reducing emergency room visits, their efforts as well as the efforts of other volunteers inspired by their example have introduced thousands of Choctaw children and adults to safety education and resulted in the distribution of hundreds of child safety seats and bicycle helmets. The Choctaw Community Injury Prevention Program proves that the programmatic efforts of concerned individuals can make headway against one of Indian Country's most pervasive and daunting problems.
When the Chickasaw Nation's Division of Housing realized that nearly 60 percent of its citizens' home loan applications were being denied, it created the Chuka Chukmasi, or Beautiful Home, Home Loan Program to make safe and affordable housing a reality. Since 1998, Chuka Chukmasi has proven how powerful the combination of partnerships with innovative financial institutions and the education of its citizenry in the basics of loan applications and mortgage financing can be in securing home loans at competitive rates. Helping hundreds of Chickasaw citizens realize their dreams of homeownership, the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program is building Chickasaw Nation self-determination one home at a time.
Since contact, the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla have lost cultural objects and sacred sites to looting, development, and archaeological excavations. Over the years these three bands brought together in 1855 and united into a single tribal government in 1949 as the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation mourned the loss of irreplaceable cultural artifacts. Sadly, under federal management, these losses continued well into the late twentieth century. Convinced that they could do better, the Tribes began the development of their own Cultural Resources Protection Program in the late 1980s. Today, the Program is a recognized leader in enforcing cultural resource management laws, influencing public policy, and building support for tribal management of critical resources.
Responding to the alarming frequency of domestic abuse and sexual assault among the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the Tribe's Department of Family and Community Services created the Family Violence and Victim's Services Program (FVVS) in 1999. By coordinating various agencies including Choctaw Law & Order, Choctaw Social Services, Choctaw Behavioral Health, and the US Attorney's Office, FVVS ensures that victims receive comprehensive care and that perpetrators are dealt with appropriately. Just as essential as promoting the overall physical and emotional health of the Tribe, FVVS is changing the citizens' attitude about an important topic that often remains unaddressed.
In 1988, the Gila River Indian Community decided that it could no longer tolerate inadequate telecommunications services. Because the regional provider was unable to offer services at a reasonable cost or within an acceptable time frame, the Community developed and launched its own company, Gila River Telecommunications, Incorporated. Now a recognized leader in Indian Country telecommunications, this tribal company has more than doubled telephone access among Community residents and facilitated the Community's dramatic economic growth by providing state-of-the-art telecommunications services to businesses on reservation lands.
In 2000, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa righted half a century of ineffective management of the Chippewa Flowage by signing a Joint Agency Management Plan with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the United States Forest Service. This Plan identifies not only the common interests that direct the management of the Flowage, but also the grim legacy of loss resulting from the flooding of Lac Courte Oreilles's homelands and burial grounds. The Plan brings together three sovereign governments to preserve a valuable natural resource in a culturally appropriate manner.
In 1999, in an effort to curb youth alcohol abuse, tribal members of the Organized Village of Kake (federally recognized Tribe of Kake, Alaska) established the Healing Heart Council and Circle Peacemaking, a reconciliation and sentencing process embedded in Tlingit traditions. Working in seamless conjunction with Alaska’s state court system, Circle Peacemaking intervenes in the pernicious cycle by which underage drinking becomes an entrenched pattern of adult alcoholism. Today, the program not only enforces underage drinking sentences in an environment where such accountability had been rare, but also restores the Tlingit culture and heals the Kake community.
Over half of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin lives off-reservation. Regrettably, the ties between the Menominee's reservation and urban populations, like those between the split populations of so many Indian nations, have been tenuous for decades. In 1994, however, a group of Menominee Indians living in Chicago reached out to the Tribe and the Tribe reciprocated. Now, the Menominee Community Center of Chicago is an official community of the Menominee Nation and its members are active participants in tribal culture and governance, strengthening and being strengthened by this renewed connection. Together, reservation and urban Menominee are reinforcing their respective communities by reuniting their nation.
In collaboration with other concerned tribal and non-tribal governments, the Navajo Nation established the Na'Nizhoozhi Center, Inc. in 1992 to address the problem of public intoxication in Gallup, New Mexico. Remarkable not only for its success in dramatically reducing Gallup's alcohol-related ills, but also for serving a substantial off-reservation Native population, the Center demonstrates the power of an intergovernmental collaboration led by an Indian nation that looks beyond assigning fault for a social crisis in order to heal a shared community.
In 1983, the Navajo Nation Corrections Project emerged as the only tribally funded program in the country to provide American Indian inmates in tribal, state, and federal prisons access to traditional religious ceremonial practices. A pioneer in the realm of prisoner advocacy, the Navajo Nation Corrections Project not only promotes Native inmates' dignity and recovery through access to culturally appropriate religious rites, but also wages a passionate defense of a basic human and civil right already guaranteed to non-Native inmates: the free practice of their religions.
Courts are cornerstones of sovereign governments: they define and uphold the laws through which nations govern themselves. Too often, however, the absence or weakness of tribal courts means tribal citizens must rely on state courts that are ill-equipped to serve their needs. In 1979, a consortium of small tribes whose limited resources precluded the establishment of independent tribal courts formed the Northwest Intertribal Court System (NICS). NICS has demonstrated its commitment to protecting and advancing tribal sovereignty for over two decades by providing its member tribes with adjudication services and helping them to establish their own courts that promote fair, equitable, and uniform justice.
Launched in the early 1970s by a group of tribal leaders who recognized the value of intertribal coordination, the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) plays a critical role in improving the health status of Indian nations located in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Through a wide range of activities that include policy advocacy, health promotion and disease prevention, and data collection and management, NPAIHB empowers its forty-three member tribes to create and manage effective health care systems that are designed to meet community needs.
Although successful gaming enterprises enabled the Tulalip Tribes to begin their journey from entrenched poverty to economic stability, the tribal government realized that economic diversification was essential. In 1998, they created the institutional and physical blueprints for Quil Ceda Village, a uniquely structured tribal municipality that boasts a business park, several national retailers, a casino, and the infrastructure to sustain further expansion. Quil Ceda Village now attracts over eleven thousand visitors daily and offers the Tribes and surrounding communities a promise of economic growth on which their citizens can depend.
In the mid-1970s, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of western Montana decided to assume the management of their natural resources. Consciously avoiding haphazard takeovers of existing programs, the Tribes strategically built the necessary infrastructure and developed the necessary expertise to enact a gradual assertion of self-governance. Now, with the management of trust resources firmly under their control, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes understand that the ability to establish priorities, set goals, and address the economic and cultural needs of their citizens through effective and efficient management is indispensable to the fullest possible exercise of tribal sovereignty.
This report was created to assist the Penobscot Nation in their efforts to reunify the historic Muhheconnew National Confederacy. This document was intended to aid the promotion, understanding, and awareness of the historical origins and accounts of this northeastern coastal confederacy. In addition to providing a historical overview, this document presents contemporary activities and status of the confederacy since its restoration on February 29th, 1992.