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Native Governance Center

Strengthening Native nations through leadership development and governance resources

Help us launch Youth Rebuilders!

We are excited to announce the launch of a brand-new initiative--Native Nation Rebuilders: Youth Edition! Youth Rebuilders grew directly out of the Native Nation Rebuilders Program. When asked what additional programming they'd like to see, our Rebuilders have overwhelmingly told us that they'd like us to create a youth component of the program to train the next generation of leaders in nation building principles. Based on their feedback, we've developed Native Nation Rebuilders: Youth Edition. Youth Rebuilders is a summer experience that equips Native youth with nation building skills and inspires them to make their voices heard in their communities. We plan to engage a team of Native Nation Rebuilders, in addition to members of Tribal youth councils, to help us design the curriculum and provide input on the program's overall structure. 

For summer 2018, we'll select one youth Tribal council from our region to participate in the first cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders: Youth Edition. We'll meet the Youth Rebuilders in their community and provide them with three days of fun, interactive nation building training. (Think skits, role-playing exercises, icebreakers, and games: it's summer, after all!) In addition to providing this educational content, we'll also guide the participating youth through the process of designing nation building-related projects to carry out in their own communities. The first cohort will serve as a pilot for Youth Rebuilders; we'll gather feedback from participants to help shape future years of the program.                

We can't do this without your support! Help us make Native Nation Rebuilders: Youth Edition a reality! We need funding for the following program-related expenses: 

  • Food (breakfast and lunch)
  • Printed materials
  • Backpacks for all participants filled with books and other nation building resources
  • Supplies for games and icebreakers
  • Honorariums for Native Nation Rebuilders selected to provide program design expertise
  • Honorariums and travel costs for Native Nation Rebuilders: Youth Edition speakers
About Native Governance Center

Native Governance Center is a Native American-led nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting Tribal Nations in strengthening their governance systems. The organization was created in response to a need identified by Tribal leaders representing the 23 Native nations in our region. These leaders expressed the need for an organization that would meet the expanding demand for Tribal governance-related resources and sustain this work into the long-term future. Native Governance Center works as the intersection of leadership development and Tribal governance support.

We provide leadership development opportunities for Native Americans through the Native Nation Rebuilders Program. The Rebuilders Program is a two-year, cohort-based leadership program that helps participants develop the knowledge, skills, and connections they need to effectively lead nation building efforts. When we say nation building, we mean the processes by which a Native nation enhances its own capacity for effective self-governance. Native Governance Center helps Tribes improve their governance systems because well-governed Tribes have more successful economies and communities.

Why is there a need for nation building in the first place? The reason largely boils down to the negative impacts that colonization, and more specifically, the Indian Reorganization Act, had on Native nations. In the 1930s, after decades of promoting harmful assimilation policies, the United States government decided to take steps toward restoring Native self-governance and passed the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) in 1934. While on its face, the IRA sounds like a positive change for Indian Country, it actually resulted in the development of constitutions based on non-Native models and the continuing promotion of assimilation. In fact, many of the governments created during this period directly conflicted with the political traditions of the Native nations they were supposed to govern. The IRA ignored the fact that many Tribes still had elders who remembered the traditional forms of government in place before the federal government attempted to erase them. Instead of creating constitutions based on the cultures and traditions of Native people, the IRA imposed foreign systems modeled after colonial governmental structures. Many Native nations are now turning to nation building in order to correct these unworkable systems and create governments with a true cultural match.
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