Freshmen congressmen go to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to learn the ropes. Now, tribal leaders have a comparable resource.
This winter, the University
of Arizona and the Morris K. Udall Foundation, in conjunction with
the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development,
established what could become the premier training center for
Indian leaders - the Native Nations Institute for Leadership,
Management and Policy. The NNI will provide practical, specialized
instruction in real-world challenges like negotiating gaming pacts
with state governments, running reservation health agencies,
setting up environmental departments and undertaking constitutional
"Senior tribal leaders are basically
running multimillion-dollar organizations and building nations,
just like Nelson Mandela was (in South Africa), so we'll provide
the skills-building it requires," says Manley Begay, a Navajo
scholar and the Native Nations Institute's
Stephen Cornell, director of the Udall
Center, where the NNI is housed, says the training courses will
avoid one-size-fits-all "White" solutions: "Our offerings grow out
of research we've done that suggests the most effective governing
institutions resonate with individual tribes' traditional cultures.
Really, it comes down to designing societies that
The NNI, with support from the Ford
Foundation, now offers one- and two-day executive sessions.
Eventually, Cornell and Begay plan to develop a full master's
degree program in tribal governance.
information, call the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at
520/884-4393, or visit it on the Web at