custom and tradition

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Vernon Masayesva: Self-Governance and Protecting Water

Former Tribal Chairman of the Hopi Nation and Executive Director of Black Mesa Trust, Vernon Masayesva relays his thoughts about advocating for self-governance and protection of water rights for Indigenous people. His pursuits in holding accountability of mining in Hopi territory has made Vernon…

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Vernon Masayesva Keynote: Water Ethics Symposium

Vernon Masayesva (Hopi) is the Executive Director of Black Mesa Trust and leading advocate for protecting water resources for the Hopi Nation. He's a Hopi Leader of the Coyote Clan and former Chairman of the Hopi Tribal Council from the village of Hotevilla who has worked for decades on bringing…

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Theresa Arevgaq John: Alaska indigenous governance through traditions and cultural values

Theresa Arevgaq John is a well known Y’upik cultural advocate and Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies and the Department of Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has intimate knowledge about cultural practices within Indigenous governance.  She advocates for balance…

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Leroy Shingoitewa: Self-Governance with Hopi Values

Leroy Shingoitewa, member of the bear clan, and served as chairman of the Hopi tribe and since January 2016, has served as a councilman representing the village of Upper Moenkopi.  He recalls the intricacies of governing while maintiang Hopi values and traditions.

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It's Hard to See the Future with Tears in Your Eyes

It's Hard to See the Future with Tears in Your Eyes

To commemorate its 20th anniversary, the American Indian Studies Programs (AISP) at the University of Arizona staged a speakers series entitled "Poetics and Politics." Launching the series was Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee), a nationally renowned Native leader, author, and community development…

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Joseph Flies-Away: Knowing, Living and Defending the Rule of Law

Joseph Flies-Away (Hualapai), Associate Justice of the Hualapai Nation Court of Appeals, discusses the importance of Native nations building and living a sound, culturally sensible rule of law -- through constitutions, codes, common law and in other ways -- that everyone in those nations knows,…

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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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Rebuilding the Tigua Nation

The Tigua Indians of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in Ysleta, Texas produced this 16-minute film in 2013 to demonstrate how a Native American tribe can work hard with business skills and tribal customs to shape a prosperous future through education for all levels of the Tigua Nation.

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Patricia Riggs: The Role of Citizen Engagement in Nation Building: The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Story

Patricia Riggs, Director of Economic Development for Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (YDSP), discusses how YDSP has spent the past decade developing and fine-tuning its comprehensive approach to engaging its citizens in order to identify and then achieve its nation-building priorities. This video resource is…

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Robert Yazzie: Traditional Principles of Leadership

Former Chief Justice Robert Yazzie of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court provides an overview of the traditional Diné governance system and specifically the leadership principles that Diné leaders relied upon to make sound, informed, strategic decisions in consultation with and on behalf of their…

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From the Rebuilding Native Nations Course Series: "Justice Systems: Key Assets for Nation Building"

Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr. discusses how an effective, independent justice system can play a pivotal role in a Native nation's efforts to exercise its sovereignty and strengthen its communities.

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A Fearless Fight Against Historical Trauma, the Yup’ik Way

A Fearless Fight Against Historical Trauma, the Yup'ik Way

They were building the young man’s coffin in the front yard when we arrived. Portable construction lights harshly illuminated the scene as men worked in the shadowy dawn that lasts almost until noon out here on the tundra. The men worked steadily and quietly in a manner that suggested front-yard…

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Red Lake Constitutional Reform Wraps up Informational Meetings

Red Lake Constitutional Reform Informational Meetings Held

The meeting at Bemidji was one leg of the second round of informational meetings conducted by the Red Lake Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) in order to seek input and feedback from the membership regarding Constitutional Reform. Meetings are held in Duluth and the Twin Cites in addition to the…

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Indigenous and 21st Century Nationalisms

Indigenous and 21st Century Nationalisms

Indigenous Peoples live within the boundaries of nation-states but usually do not conform to the cultural, political, economic institutions and identities of their host states. Most contemporary democratic nation states are created by agreement through adoption of a constitution, which spells out…

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Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times: The Seven Teachings

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times: The Seven Teachings

"We are invited once again to revisit the time honored Teachings, and to embrace the old ways in order to renew our connection to the Sacred Teachings. We need this old knowledge in our lives to live in these modern times of technology." So began a PowerPoint presentation by Chi-Ma'iingan/Great…

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A Lifetime Journey: Alabama-Coushatta Name New Chiefs

A Lifetime Journey: Alabama-Coushatta Name New Chiefs

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas is welcoming a new principal and second chief. The 1,200-member tribe, located on 4,500 acres of land north of Houston, elects its chiefs to life terms. An inauguration ceremony held January 1 was the first such event…

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Cherokee seed project sows respect for the past, hope for the future

Cherokee seed project sows respect for the past, hope for the future

The Cherokee Indians are preserving the roots of their heritage with a program that allows officially recognized members of the tribe to access seeds that are unique to the Cherokee Nation. Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker explained the seeds' lineage to CNN. "This strain of…

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Stirring the Ashes

Stirring the Ashes

One of the biggest challenges for any people is broad participation in the issues that affect everyone. And when you stop and think about it, there is very little from the smallest ripples in a family to major calamities in a community that occurs without impacting others. The notion of “mind your…

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A Solution: Sowing the future for tribal youth

A Solution: Sowing the future for tribal youth

For aspiring farmer Vernal Sam, 24, the physical labor came easily. Like many Tohono O'odham, he'd helped out on his uncle's cattle ranch as a kid, bringing in cash when his family needed it, and he'd helped his grandfather bury traditional tepary beans and squash seeds in the brown clay soil. What…

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Languages help save tribal cultures

Languages help save tribal cultures

It’s been said that the traditions of Indian culture are embedded within our tribal languages. But for several generations, the majority of people who spoke their tribal language have passed on without new speakers taking their place. This has caused widespread concern among tribal communities and…