Nannakya ilánchi. Everything is changing.

AIPI Blog Top Banner - Ittifatpoli - November 2020 - blog
Traci Morris blog
Posted by
Traci Morris
executive director, American Indian Policy Institute

Nannakya ilánchi. Everything is changing. Everything has changed.  The election is over, and as we struggle with how we as a nation go forward, not back, our communities need compassion, and they need leadership. And as we continue as a nation to struggle with COVID as new infections surge, this winter promises to be as bad as or worse than the summer.  This virus has changed everything about our lives. Whether we like it or not, we are not going back to the world as we knew it.  But let me tell you why I am looking forward.
Many changes are happening in government and in Tribal governance. All necessitated by COVID. There are changes in our jobs, our work practices, our school, our ability to attend school, our health care, our ability to access health care. At the root of it all is our ability to connect to each other, not only physically (which we still cannot because of the virus) but our ability to connect via technology.  
Our focus at AIPI has always been on broadband connectivity and Native Nations and people’s access or lack of access to the internet and their resilience in gaining access. Even before the pandemic, we told anyone who would listen about the importance of broadband access for Indian Country.  Now, as the U.S. realizes just how disconnected the Country is--not only Indian Country--but rural areas, urban areas, and even students on college campuses, suddenly AIPI’s work is more vital. 
At AIPI, we are very thankful for the support we have received from our college, the Watts College, and Dean Koppell. We are grateful for our support from funders to expand our capacity and grow our service to Indian Country.  We are also greatly indebted to our Advisory Board that has led us to this place and continues to guide us in what Indian Country needs on the ground.
I'm already thinking about next year and the new year looks promising. We’ll have a new postdoctoral scholar on board doing research and publications for the next two years. We’ll have a new project coordinator helping to create a new Indigenous Leadership Academy. We’ll be releasing a new podcast called The Next Era: Conversations on the Evolving State of Tribal Governance. We’ll be getting back to our signature Tribal Financial Managers Certificate program with our partners NAFOA.  I look forward to the new year and not just because it’s not 2020. #BeTheSolution