What does “self-determination” mean?
According to the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and Native Nations Institute for Leadership Management and Policy at the University of Arizona, “Self-determination refers to the right of Native nations to shape their own futures according to their own designs” including governmental framework and principles, strategic direction, relationships with other governments and how they address disputes and other internal matters.
What does “nation-building” mean?
Native nations have always existed and their presence predates all other forms of government. While the nations have already been “built,” the term “nation-building” refers to the process by which Native nations put in place the governing processes and framework that are required for effective self-governance and self-determined community and economic development (from the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and Native Nations Institute for Leadership Management and Policy at the University of Arizona). The strategies for nation-building are driven from within to develop tribal governments that can address contemporary demands while respecting their unique political and cultural distinctions.
View this 2009 video, "Keys to Success in Nation-Building," presented by Joe Kalt of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.
There have been many outside approaches to assist tribes. What makes this one any different?
Past approaches have been dominated by outside entities setting the agenda and outcomes. Our approach is about building relationships and co-discovery, and it is intended to be consistent with self-determination, where we will collaborate with each tribe’s leadership on its individual agenda for self-determination.
How does a tribe seek to collaborate with the Foundation?
Respecting the rights of self-determination and the sovereignty of the tribes, our efforts require the development of relationships with the elected leaders of the 23 individual tribes. Through the tribal leaders we are establishing partnerships to support them in advancing self-determination. Since our efforts focus on collaboration with the tribal leaders, we will not accept unsolicited proposals.
Will the Bush Foundation consider funding specific tribal programs, including tribal colleges and the urban Indian community?
Our strategy focuses on collaboration with the elected tribal leaders to advance self-determination. We will not fund specific programs, tribal colleges or urban programs under the nation-building initiative unless the tribal leadership and the Foundation agree that the outcome is directly linked to tribal self-determination and nation-building. We will not accept unsolicited proposals.
Is there a one-size-fits-all solution to help with nation-building?
Each tribe has unique characteristics that influence the needs and pace to advance its nation-building agenda.
How does self-determination contribute to solving specific problems (i.e., social, economic or environmental concerns)?
Self-determination is a catalyst to strengthening and creating sustainable governing institutions that match each tribe’s needs for their nation. Thriving governing institutions enhance a government’s ability to more effectively address a wide range of concerns.
Who are the 23 nations and how where they chosen?
The Foundation will work with the 23 federally recognized sovereign Native nations that share the same geographic area as Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. These nations were chosen because of their physical proximity to the three states that the Bush Foundation supports and their sovereign status.
The nations are Bois Forte Band of Chippewa; Cheyenne River Sioux; Crow Creek Sioux Tribe; Flandreau Santee Sioux; Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Grand Portage Band of Chippewa; Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe; Lower Brule Sioux; Lower Sioux Community; Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation; Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; Oglala Sioux; Prairie Island Indian Community; Red Lake Band of Ojibwe; Rosebud Sioux; Shakopee-Mdewakanton Sioux Community; Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux; Spirit Lake Nation; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; Upper Sioux Community; White Earth Band of Ojibwe; and Yankton Sioux.