assimilation

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Robert Innes: Elder Brother and the Law of the People: Maintaining Sovereignty Through Identity and Culture

Robert Innes, a citizen of the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, discusses how traditional Cowessess kinship systems and practices continue to structure and inform the individual and collective identities of Cowessess people today, and how those traditional systems and practices are serving…

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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 Borrows and Stephen Cornell: Citizenship: Culture, Language and Law (Q&A)

Professors John Borrows and Stephen Cornell field questions from conference participants about a number of topics surrounding Indigenous notions of citizenship and membership. In addition, some participants provide brief commentaries about how their particular Native nations are wrestling with this…

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Bethany Berger: Citizenship: Culture, Language and Law

University of Connecticut Law Professor Bethany Berger provides a brief history of the federal policies that have negatively impacted the ways that Native nations define and enforce their criteria for citizenship historically through to the present day.  This video resource is featured on the…

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David Wilkins: Indigenous Governance Systems: Diversity, Colonization, Adaptation, and Resurgence

In this in-depth interview with NNI's Ian Record, federal Indian law and policy scholar David Wilkins discusses the incredible diversity and sophistication of traditional Indigenous governance systems, the profound impacts colonial policies had on those systems, and how Native nations are working…

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Brian Cladoosby: The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community's Approach to Governance and Intergovernmental Relations

In this wide-ranging interview with NNI's Ian Record, Chairman Brian Cladoosby of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community discusses Swinomish's unique governance system, its approach to building relationships with other governments to achieve its strategic priorities, and what he feels are the…

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Michael K. Mitchell: A History of the Akwesasne Mohawk

Grand Chief Michael Mitchell of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne offers students a broad overview of the governance history of the Akwesasne Mohawk and the efforts his people have made during his time in office to exercise true self-governance and rebuild their nation.

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Honoring Nations: Aaron Miles: Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery Program

Aaron Miles, Natural Resource Manager for the Nez Perce Tribe, shares the progress of the Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery Program and talks about how the program hopefully will begin to seed a change in the mindset among those human beings who share the wolves' environment.

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Suzan Shown Harjo: Nobody Gives Us Sovereignty: Busting Stereotypes and Walking the Walk

The first-ever speaker in the Vine Deloria, Jr. Distinguished Indigenous Scholars Series, Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee) shares her personal perspective on the life and legacy of the late Vine Deloria, Jr., and provides an overview of her work protecting sacred places and fighting…

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Regis Pecos: The Why of Making and Remaking Governing Systems

Former Cochiti Pueblo Governor Regis Pecos shares his thoughts about the ultimate purpose of constitutions, governments and governance from a Pueblo perspective, and argues that constitutional reform presents Native nations with a precious opportunity to reclaim and reinvigorate their cultures and…

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Disenrollment Is a Tool of the Colonizers

Disenrollment Is a Tool of the Colonizers

Our elders and spiritual leaders do not teach the practice of disenrollment. In fact, disenrollment is a wholly non-Indian construct. Indeed, when I recently asked Eric Bernando, a Grand Ronde descendant of his tribe’s Treaty Chief and fluent Chinook Wawa speaker, if there was a Chinook Wawa word…

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Ralph Lauren’s “Racist Ads”

Ralph Lauren’s “Racist Ads”

So Ralph Lauren, the serial cultural appropriator of all things Native American, is in trouble once again. Lauren has given offense to Native Americans before with his inappropriate uses of war bonnets and eagle feathers. There was also that time he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, showing off…

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'We are getting stronger'

'We are getting stronger'

An economic, political and cultural renaissance is underway throughout Indian Country in the United States. It’s been going on for nearly a quarter-century. Whereas in the 1980s, economic growth on Indian reservations lagged far behind the rate of the U.S. economy, through the booming 1990s and the…

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Indigenous languages crucial to cultural flourishing

Indigenous languages crucial to cultural flourishing

I believe our languages to be so central to who we are as Indigenous peoples, that I cannot discuss our present or our future without reference to languages. The oppression we have faced, and continue to face, does not define us in the way our languages do. Our resilience, and the fact that we have…

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Blood Quantum: A complicated system that determines tribal membership threatens the future of American Indians

Blood Quantum: A complicated system that determines tribal membership threatens the future of American Indians

Ryan Padraza Comes Last is a full-blooded Indian, Sioux and Cheyenne on his father's side and Assiniboine on his mother's. He will soon receive his Lakota name: "A Rope." (Comes Last raises rodeo horses and always has a rope in his right hand. He likes to call Ryan his "right-hand man.") But…

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Native nations and the rise of self-governance

Native nations and the rise of self-governance

The unmistakable resurgence of Native nations within the United States this past 40 years is often credited simply to self-governance. While certainly true as far as it goes, the progression from subjugation and the despair of a disenfranchised people to today’s Native governments, is one of the…

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Revival of nearly extinct Yurok language is a success story

Revival of nearly extinct Yurok language is a success story

Carole Lewis throws herself into her work as if something big is at stake. "Pa'-ah," she tells her Eureka High School class, gesturing at a bottle of water. She whips around and doodles a crooked little fish on the blackboard, hinting at the dip she's prepared with "ney-puy" – salmon, key to the…

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Indian Identity, Choice and Change: What Do You Choose?

Indian Identity, Choice and Change: What Do You Choose?

Indigenous individuals and nations are faced with choices about identity, change and cultural continuity. The choices are not just mere faddish expressions but are deep decisions about culture, community, philosophy and personal and national futures. Many indigenous communities are divided over…

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Tim Giago: Was the Indian Reorganization Act good or bad?

Tim Giago: Was the Indian Reorganization Act good or bad?

It was 75 years ago on June 18, 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act became the law of the land. On the 50th anniversary of the IRA, a conference was held at Sun Valley, Idaho to talk about the good and the bad of the Act. On the 75th birthday of the Act, there was nothing but silence. Has…

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Bringing Our Children Home: An Introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act

Bringing Our Children Home: An Introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act

This six-minute trailer introduces viewers to a documentary film (currently in development) that examines the impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The documentary is the product of an ongoing collaboration between the Mississippi Courts, Child Welfare Agency, the Mississippi Band of…