Leading Native Nations

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Rudy Ortega, Jr.: Asserting Sovereignty and Self-Governance

Rudy Ortega, Jr., then Vice President and citizen of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, shares his experiences leading his community and engaging in Fernandeño Tataviam self-governance in spite of his nation not yet being a state or federally recognized tribal government.  Vice…

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Devon Lomayesva: Making Constitution Reform and Tribal Law Work

Devon Lomayesva, a citizen of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California, offers her perspectives on asserting tribal law in a P.L. 280 state. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel underwent a constitutional reform process, and Devon shares her experiences with and perspectives of that process. Her…

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Sophie Pierre: Governance the Ktunaxa Nation Way

Sophie Pierre is a respected native leader that has been at the forefront of building key components and infrastructure for modern self-governance in the Ktunaxa Nation. Her tenure as Chief Commission for the BC Treaty Commission appointed by governments of Canada and British Columbia and the First…

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Eileen Briggs: The Importance of Data and Community Engagement

Eileen Briggs is a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and is the Executive Director of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Ventures. She is also the Principal Investigator on "Cheyenne River Voices Research" — a reservation-wide research project including a household survey of over 800 families that…

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Terry Janis: The White Earth Nation Constitutional Reform Process

In this lively and far-reaching discussion with NNI's Ian Record, Terry Janis (Oglala Lakota), former project manager of the White Earth Nation Constitution Reform Project, provides an overview of the citizen education and engagement campaign that preceded White Earth's historic vote to ratify a…

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Brenda Child: The Red Lake Nation: Laying a Solid Foundation for Constitutional Reform

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Brenda Child, member of the Red Lake Constitution Reform Initiative Committee, discusses how the Committee has worked methodically to set in place a solid foundation upon which to engage Red Lake citizens about the Red Lake constitution and…

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Eva Petoskey: Empowering Good Leadership Through Capable Governance: What My Leadership Experience Taught Me

Eva Petoskey, citizen and former council member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB), discusses her experiences as an elected leader during a pivotal time in GTB's history. She also stress the importance of Native nations developing capable institutions of self-governance…

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John 'Rocky' Barrett: Blood Quantum's Impact on the Citizen Potawatomi Nation

In this short excerpt from his 2009 interview with NNI, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett discusses the devastating impacts that blood quantum exacted on the Citizen Potawatomi people before the nation did away with blood quantum as its main criteria for citizenship through…

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Jennifer Porter: Cultural Match Through Constitutional Reform at Kootenai

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Vice-Chairwoman Jennifer Porter of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho explains what prompted her nation to enact several amendments to its constitution in the mid-1990s, and how its ability to govern effectively has been greatly enhanced by its decision…

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Richard Luarkie: The Pueblo of Laguna: A Constitutional History

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Laguna Governor Richard Luarkie provides a detailed overview of what prompted the Pueblo of Laguna to first develop a written constitution in 1908, and what led it to amend the constitution on numerous occasions in the century since. He also…

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Floyd "Buck" Jourdain: Constitutional Reform and Leadership at the Red Lake Nation

Floyd "Buck" Jourdain, Chairman of the Red Lake Nation from 2004 to 2014, discusses his nation's constitutional reform effort and the supporting role he played in helping to get the effort off of the ground. He also talks about how comprehensive constitutional reform will empower his nation's…

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John Borrows: Revitalizing Indigenous Constitutionalism in the 21st Century

In this thoughtful conversation with NNI's Ian Record, scholar John Borrows (Anishinaabe) discusses Indigenous constitutionalism in its most fundamental sense, and provides some critical food for thought to Native nations who are wrestling with constitutional development and change in the 21st…

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Justin Beaulieu: The Red Lake Nation's Approach to Constitutional Reform

Justin Beaulieu (Red Lake Nation), coordinator of the Red lake Nation Constitution Reform Initiative, provides a detailed overview of how the Red Lake Nation's constitution reform committee has designed and is implementing a methodical, strategic, comprehensive approach to reviewing and reforming…

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Sophie Pierre: Enacting Self-Determination and Self-Governance at Ktunaxa

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Sophie Pierre, longtime chief of the Ktunaxa Nation, discusses Ktunaxa's ongoing effort to reclaim and redesign their system of governance through British Columbia's treaty process, specifically Ktunaxa's citizen-led process to develop a new…

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Diane Enos: Building a Sustainable Economy at Salt River

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Diane Enos, President of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, discusses some of the many significant steps that Salt River has taken over the past few decades to systematically build a self-sufficient, sustainable economy.

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Donald "Del" Laverdure: Nation Rebuilding through Constitutional Reform at Crow

In this in-depth interview with NNI's Ian Record, Donald “Del” Laverdure, citizen of the Apsáalooke Nation (Crow Tribe) and former Chief Justice of the Crow Tribe Court of Appeals, discusses his nation's monumental effort to discard a constitution and system of governance that were not working and…

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Suzan Shown Harjo: Five Decades of Fighting for Tribal Sovereignty and Self-Determination

In this wide-ranging interview, longtime Native American rights advocate Suzan Harjo discusses her involvement in the development and ratification of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the legislation creating the National…

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Leroy LaPlante, Jr.: Effective Bureaucracies and Independent Justice Systems: Key to Nation Building

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Leroy LaPlante, Jr., former chief administrative officer with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a former tribal judge, offers his thoughts on what Native nation bureaucracies and justice systems need to have and need to do in order to support…

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John "Rocky" Barrett: Constitutional Reform and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation's Path to Self-Determination

In this wide-ranging interview with NNI's Ian Record, longtime chairman John "Rocky" Barrett of the Citizen Potwatomi Nation provides a rich history of CPN's long, difficult governance odyssey, and the tremendous strides that the nation has made socially, economically, politically, and culturally…