traditional governance systems

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Angela Wesley: Huu-ay-aht First Nations' Forging of a New Governance System

Angela Wesley, Chair of Huu-ay-aht Constitution Committee, discusses the painstaking effort the Huu-ay-aht First Nations undertook to develop a new constitution and system of governance, and how they continue to work to turn the promise of self-governance embodied in their new constitution into…

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Luann Leonard, Stephen Roe Lewis and Walter Phelps: Bridging the Gap: How Native Culture Forges Native Leaders

Luann Leonard (Hopi), Stephen Roe Lewis (Gila River Indian Community), and Walter Phelps (Navajo) discuss how their personal approaches to leadership have been and continue to be informed by their Native nations' distinct cultures and core values and those keepers of the culture in their…

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Eldena Bear Don't Walk: So What's So Important about Tribal Courts?

Eldena Bear Don't Walk, Chief Justice of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, discusses some of the things that tribal justice systems need to have in place in order to be effective, and how important it is for Native nation governments and citizens to respect and support the decisions…

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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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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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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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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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Oren Lyons: Looking Toward the Seventh Generation

Onondaga Chief and Faithkeeper Oren Lyons discusses the increasingly urgent issues of global warming and climate change and points to Indigenous peoples, their core values, and their reciprocal relationships to the natural world as sources of instruction for human beings to heed in order to combat…

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Honoring Nation: Lance Morgan: Ho-Chunk, Inc. Economic Development Corporation

Ho-Chunk, Inc. CEO Lance Morgan share the lessons he and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska have learned about the keys to creating an economic development environment capable of fostering successful nation-owned enterprises. He stresses the need for some Native nations to engage in constitutional…

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Honoring Nations: The Politics of Change - Internal Barriers, Opportunities and Lessons for Improving Government Performance

Moderator JoAnn Chase facilitates a wide-ranging discussion by a panel of Native nation leaders and key decision-makers about internal barriers inhibiting good governance and opportunities and lessons for improving government performance in Native nations.

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Ben Nuvamsa: What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office

Former Chairman of the Hopi Tribe Ben Nuvamsa speaks about his tenure as the elected chief executive of his nation, and how the governance issues he and his nation have experienced in recent years offer important lessons to other Native nations.  

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Darrin Old Coyote: Reforming the Apsaalooke (Crow) Nation's Governing System: What Did We Do and Why Did We Do It?

Vice Secretary Darrin Old Coyote of the Crow Tribe's Executive Branch provides a brief history of the Crow Tribe's governance system, and explains the factors that prompted the Tribe to abandon its governance system in 2001 and replace it with a new constitution and system of government entirely of…

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Stephen Cornell: Getting Practical: Constitutional Issues Facing Native Nations

Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy Director Stephen Cornell provides a brief overview of what a constitution fundamentally is, and some of the emerging trends in innovation that Native nations are exhibiting when it comes to constitutional development and reform. This video resource is…

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David Wilkins: Patterns in American Indian Constitutions

University of Minnesota American Indian Studies Professor David Wilkins provides a comprehensive overview of the resiliency of traditional governance systems among Native nations in the period leading up to the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), and shares some data about the types of…

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Regis Pecos: The Role of Core Values in Cochiti Governance and Renewal

In this excerpted video, former Cochiti Governor Regis Pecos provides an overview of the core values that are integral to Cochiti's culture and way of life, and shows how his people relied on the application of those core values to overcome a catastrophe and rebuild its nation and community. This…

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Michael K. Mitchell: What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Grand Chief Michael K. Mitchell reflects on his role as a modern elected leader of his nation. Mitchell encourages small changes in terminology and ideology that in turn will change the community's mindset about nation rebuilding and what is possible.

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From the Rebuilding Native Nations Course Series: "Justice Systems and Cultural Match"

Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr. argues that Native nations can reintegrate their unique cultures and common law into their governance systems, specifically their systems for resolving disputes and providing justice to their citizens and others.

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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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Tribal Governments Come In Many Forms

Tribal Governments Come In Many Forms

When the U.S. and Canadian governments suggest and support Western-style governments for indigenous nations, they are trying to improve Native government and make it more compatible with national government. Indigenous nations have diverse political arrangements and forms of government. When…

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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…