constitutional amendments

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Wilson Justin: Leadership with cultural knowledge and perseverance

Wilson Justin is a cultural ambassador for Cheesh’na Tribal council and serves as a Vice Chair Board of Directors for Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium.  He relays his expertise and perspective on the intricacies of Indigenous governance in Alaska through adapting cultural traditions, creating a…

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Vanya Hogen: Redefining Citizenship Criteria Through Constitutional Reform and Other Means

Lawyer and tribal judge Vanya Hogen (Oglala Sioux) discusses the difficulties inherent in amending Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) constitutions to redefine tribal citizenship criteria, and shares the story of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community as an example of one Native nation with an IRA…

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Andrew Martinez: Constitutional Reform: The Secretarial Election Process

NNI intern Andrew Martinez (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community) gives participants a concise and informative overview of how the secretarial election process works when Native nations amend their constitutions, and what happens (and doesn't) when Native nations remove the Secretary of…

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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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Robert Hershey: Dispelling Stereotypes about the Federal Government's Role in Native Nation Constitutional Reform

Robert Hershey, Professor of Law and American Indian Studies at The University of Arizona, dispels some longstanding stereotypes about what the federal government can and will do should a Native nation decide to amend its constitution to remove the Secretary of Interior approval clause or else make…

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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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Jennifer Porter: The Kootenai Tribe: Strengthening the People's Voice in Government Through Constitutional Change

Jennifer Porter, former chairwoman and current vice-chairwoman of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, discusses how her nation moved to amend it constitution to change its basis of political representation, how the U.S. Secretary of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) tried to block the move,…

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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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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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Chris Hall: Cultivating Constitutional Change at Crow Creek

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Chris Hall, a citizen of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and a member of Cohort 4 of the Bush Foundation's Native Nation Rebuilders program, discusses Crow Creek's current effort to reform its constitution, and the importance of fully educating and…

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NNI Indigenous Leadership Fellow: Frank Ettawageshik (Part 2)

Frank Ettawageshik, former chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBBO), discusses the critical role that intergovernmental relationship building plays in the practical exercise of sovereignty and the rebuilding of Native nations. He shares several compelling examples of how…

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Robert Hershey: The Legal Process of Constitutional Reform

Robert Hershey, Professor of Law and American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, provides an overview of what Native nations need to consider when it comes to the legal process involved with reforming their constitutions, and dispels some of the misconceptions that people have about the…

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Anthony Hill: Constitutional Reform on the Gila River Indian Community

Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) Chief Judge Anthony Hill, who served as Chair of the Gila River Constitutional Reform Team, discusses the reform process that GRIC followed, the current state of GRIC's reform effort, and what he sees as lessons learned from Gila River's experience.

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Robert McGhee: What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office

Treasurer of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Robert McGhee shares some of the things that he wished he knew before he first took office. He also discusses how he and his elected leader colleagues have built a team approach to making informed decisions on behalf of their constituents.

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Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation: Constitutional Reform

Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation: Constitutional Reform

Days after certification of the Secretarial Election, positive comments were coming into the office of the Constitutional Revision committee. Donna Morgan and Ramona Two Shields began receiving flowers and calls from tribal members happy with the results. Both Two Shields and Morgan say it was the…

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Winnebago Tribe expands member definition

Winnebago Tribe expands member definition

Members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska have overwhelmingly voted to expand their definition of tribal membership. Previously, the tribe required at least one-quarter Winnebago blood relationship to qualify as an enrolled member. Now, those who have a parent or grandparent that belongs to the…

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Rethinking Rewriting: Tribal Constitutional Amendment and Reform

Rethinking Rewriting: Tribal Constitutional Amendment and Reform

This essay examines the recent wave of American Indian tribal constitutional change through the framework of subnational constitutional theory. When tribes rewrite their constitutions, they not only address internal tribal questions and communicate tribal values, but also engage with other…

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Developing a Community Constitution

Developing a Community Constitution

In this, the third part of the BCAFN Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building, we explore the complex and often controversial subject of governance reform in our communities and ways to approach community engagement. The Governance Toolkit is intended as a resource for First Nations…