Governance Blog Posts

The National Congress of the American Indians (NCAI) Mid-Year conference is taking place in person next week, June 12th-16th, in Anchorage, Alaska. This year’s theme, “Thinking Beyond Self-Determination”, will bring tribal leaders, NCAI members, Native youth, and partners from across Indian Country together to engage in establishing a new era of tribal governance and highlighting issues that are important to Indian communities. The Mid Year Conference Marketplace never disappoints with an average of 800 visitors and vendors from across the country. 

In conjunction with this year’s theme, our Executive Director, Traci Morris PhD. will introduce and moderate the Beyond Tribal Self-Determination Panel at the First General Assembly on Tuesday, June 14th....

*Editor’s Note: This article was a collaboration between AIPI Policy & Research Assistant Sadie Vermillion and ILA Program Coordinator Kristen Talbert. 

Removal of American Indian children from their homes by both public and private entities has long been a commonplace experience in Indian Country. According to the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) website, “The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted in 1978 in response to a crisis affecting American Indian and Alaska Native children, families, and tribes. Studies revealed that large numbers of Native children were being separated from their parents, extended families, and communities by state child welfare and private adoption agencies. In fact, research found...

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) closely follows public policy analysis and research surrounding the systemic violence suffered by Indigenous women. In recognition of SAAM, AIPI would like to take some time and space to discuss the recent 2022 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and its projected effect on Indigenous communities. The reauthorization of VAWA reaffirmed the critical legislative focus on the domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking faced by Indigenous women in the United States. In a constant effort to destigmatize the disproportionate representation of violence against Indigenous women, this blog aims to create a safe space...

The 2020 Census undercount poses challenges to Tribes. The expanded outreach of the 2020 Census was no match for the obstacles created by COVID-19, and American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations were once again undercounted. This time by 5.6 percent. In 2010, the undercount was 4.9 percent. The 2020 Census is key to Tribal planning decisions and funding opportunities.

In an NCAI news release, President Fawn Sharp of the National Congress of American Indians stated, “Every undercounted household and individual in our communities means lost funding and resources that are desperately needed to address the significant disparities we face." 

Official population counts are used when applying for federal...

During this year's Native American Heritage Month, Tribal leaders and high-level White House Officials constructed discourse with respect to issues important in Indian Country.  The 2021 Tribal Nations Summit (the Summit), hosted by the White House, was held on November 15th and 16th. This is the first time the Summit has taken place since 2016. The Summit presented a unique opportunity for nation-to-nation dialogue on support to Tribal communities to create opportunities, advance equity, and address new and long-standing challenges. Topics addressed included Infrastructure, Native languages, climate change and COVID-19. Several members of the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) attended the Summit.

The Summit commenced by releasing the “White House Tribal...

You may have heard that AIPI is creating an Indigenous Leadership Academy.

Last week on social media, we asked how you say the word, “leader” in your Indigenous language. We heard the word “nongialam” in the Khasi language, “sogemo” in the Abenaki Penobscot language, “nat’aani” in the Navajo language and “tikba’ ishtaya” in Chickasaw . Being from Minnesota where the Dakota and Ojibwe people are, “ogimaa” is leader in the Ojibwe language, and “itancan” is a leader in the Dakota language. As a student of the Dakota language, I encourage Indigenous people to speak their language whenever possible. 

My family and I use “itancan” when hiking. To elaborate, when we start the...

Indian Country has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, largely due to existing inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. Inadequate healthcare, a lack of housing, and underdeveloped infrastructure increased the severity of COVID-19 in Tribal communities. This resulted in an infection rate four times higher, and tragically, mortality rates twice that of other populations. The pandemic’s disproportionate impact emphasizes the importance of addressing underlying systemic inequality as the threat of COVID-19 slowly dissipates and we attempt a return to a ‘new normal’.  

Despite the pandemic’s severity, Indian Country has risen to meet every challenge head-on. Over the past year, Tribal Nations worked tirelessly to efficiently utilize available resources and find innovative ways to...

Phoenix, Ariz. — The American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) is excited to share that Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) (Laguna Pueblo) has been confirmed as the 54th Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. Rep. Haaland makes history as the first Native American to serve as Interior Secretary--the department that most directly impacts Indian Country. 

Today’s confirmation of Deb Haaland to serve as Secretary of the Interior is a day all of Indian Country will celebrate and remember.  Today is the first day in the history of these United States that a Native American will serve in a Presidential Cabinet and lead the Department of the Interior – the...

February was a busy and chaotic month, but in the best way possible. Whether our team attended legislative sessions and conferences, or participated in town hall meetings and committees, it became obvious that a particular theme permeated the atmosphere: hope, or in the Chickasaw language, anhi

Anhi (Hope). That is how I feel when I see the phenomenal vaccination programs organized in Tribal communities; simultaneously working to eradicate COVID-19, and also the perception that we are not capable of managing our own affairs. It’s a feeling of comfort in knowing that we are taking care of our elders, the cultural caretakers and language guardians of our traditions. It is the same hope our...

The AIPI are saddened to hear of the loss of Arizona state lawmaker and former Navajo Nation President, Albert Hale. Hale’s dedication to public service is an inspiration to all of us and will continue to influence our work. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time. We join those who mourn his loss, and we want to take a moment to recognize a few of Hale’s many significant accomplishments.

 Hale was born in 1950 on the Navajo Nation in Ganado, AZ. He graduated from Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) boarding school at the time. He went on to...

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