A Year of Growth + Renewal
Our organization saw significant growth and renewal in our work; we felt newly energized to creatively deliver on our mission. We convened in-person programming for the first time since late 2019. We added several team members across programs who brought fresh spirit and a passion for our values. Notably, we launched our Tribal Civics program and held the first full year of programming for our new Tribal Finance program.
Within Indian Country, more broadly, we witnessed major expansion related to visibility and funding. Native nations leveraged $20 billion in federal pandemic aid, the largest-ever investment of federal funding into Indian Country, to further economic development and help future generations thrive. High-level Indigenous appointees brought needed attention to issues like boarding school healing and changing harmful place names. Across sectors in 2022, Indigenous joy felt uniquely palpable.
To honor the year of renewal that was 2022, we’ve structured our report around the growing process using categories that reflect the intention and dedication required to cultivate beautiful change. We invite you to join us on this journey!
Preparing + Planting
Thoughtfully and intentionally laying the groundwork for upcoming initiatives
In 2022, using Cohort 9 Rebuilder Levi Brown’s action plan work to guide our efforts, we collaborated with Indigenous leaders from the nations we serve to publish our open access Tribal Civics Guidebook. The Guidebook equips Indigenous youth, educators, knowledge keepers, and leaders with a process for implementing a Tribal civics engagement plan within their nation.
We also planted seeds for our Tribal Civics program by creating a virtual workshop series based on our guidebook and piloting the series with leaders from Turtle Mountain Community College.
We Are Still Here Minnesota (WASH-MN) is a special project of Native Governance Center. The WASH-MN K-12 Education subcommittee strategically pivoted and planted new seeds in 2022 in response to the Minnesota Legislature denying the Indigenous Education for All bill. WASH-MN partnered with the Minnesota Indian Education Association to convene almost 700 educators around carrying forward the spirit of the bill outside of the legislative process and navigating potential roadblocks.
We wrapped up preparations for and launched the first year of our Tribal Finance Pilot program. We onboarded three Native nations to participate in our first cohort. Cohort activities included two week-long in-person trainings held in community, assessments, mentorship, and attending the Native American Finance Officers Association three-day conference. We also planted seeds for our 2023 Tribal Finance programming, including developing guidelines and processes for our grant-making and future in-person convenings.
Wings with Wayne
We prepared for and released a new sovereignty-focused video series called Wings with Wayne. Wings with Wayne elevates Indigenous issues and contributes to Native narrative change while simultaneously aligning with our organizational value of “Embrace Fun, Unapologetically!” Our three episodes received 14,362 total views across platforms and received media attention from ICT (Indian Country Today).
Sustaining our core efforts to promote growth
We continued to nurture the seeds of our ongoing virtual community engagement event series, hosting four events and drawing a combined live audience of almost 900 community members. 92% of virtual participants stated that they planned to take action and/or share information with others after attending one of our 2022 events.
We sustained our growing Indigenous Leaders in Governance (ILG) program by delivering content related to nation rebuilding, sovereignty, and governance to 65 Tribal leaders and staff from three Native nations. Prior to conducting our 2022 workshops, we presented to all three Tribal Councils to provide information and receive support to engage in the work. Each participating nation completed four virtual workshops and will complete in-person action planning sessions in 2023.
Cohort 12 Rebuilders participated in 101 hours of leadership and governance training with our team in 2022, joining us for two virtual modules and three multi-day, in-person sessions. The cohort learned directly from NGC staff and 15 community practitioners, visiting three different Native nations for their on-location sessions and various Native businesses/organizations. The 17 Rebuilders from Cohort 12 will join a network of 186 other Rebuilders who are enacting positive change across our region and beyond.
Presentations, Interviews, and Resources
In 2022, we tracked the impact of the community engagement resources we created and content we delivered. Our team facilitated 25 external presentations, wrote 13 original news stories, created two animated explainer videos, and participated in 15 media interviews to raise awareness about governance and sovereignty. We also released 11 original resources, which received over 59,000 unique page views and inspired the creation of a children’s book and six-week land acknowledgment curriculum, among other impacts.
The photos included in this report feature members of Cohort 12 of our Native Nation Rebuilders program, and members of our Indigenous Leaders in Governance program from the Lower Sioux Indian Community. Photos by Nina Francine (Cherokee Nation) and Jacob Laducer (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians), respectively.
Original cover artwork created by Holly Young (Thizáptaŋna/Wičhíyena Dakota) for Native Governance Center.