Executive Director Begins Tour of Tribal Nations

NGC Executive Director Wayne Ducheneaux has begun a whirlwind tour that will see him visit the 23 tribes in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota between June 29th and August 11th prior to the Native Governance Center Launch Event August 15th and 16th at Mystic Lake Casino. Wayne says, “I feel it is important to continue the spirit of the work of the Bush Foundation by getting on the ground with tribes to try and assess where we can be of assistance in their missions improving governance.”

Ducheneaux has already had nation visits with the Lower Sioux Indian Community, Shakopee Mdewakaton Sioux Community and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Senior Advisor Jaime Pinkham will participate in some of the visits along the route as well.

Here are the upcoming dates for the tour:

July 8th – Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
July 11th – Crow Creek Sioux Tribe
July 12th – Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
July 18th – Oglala Lakota Nation***
July 19th – Rosebud Sioux Tribe
July 20th – Yankton Sioux Tribe
July 21st – Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
July 22nd – Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate
July 25th – MHA Nation
July 26th – Spirit Lake Sioux Community
July 27th – Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa
August 2nd – Red Lake Nation
August 3rd – White Earth Nation***
August 4th – Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe ***
August 5th – Bois Forte Band of Chippewa***
August 8th – Grand Portage Band of Chippewa***
August 9th – Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa***
August 10th – Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe***
August 12th – Prairie Island Indian Community***

***denotes tentatively scheduled

Wayne Dupuis (Cohort 3 Rebuilder) Running for Chair at Fond du Lac

Wayne Dupuis, Cohort 3 Native Nation Rebuilder, was recently interviewed by Northland News Center to discuss his platform as he runs for Fond du Lac Band Chairman. Here is a link to the interview: Wayne Dupuis Interview.

Wayne faces off against Kevin Dupuis in the June 14, 2016 contest. Wayne is one of many Rebuilders either running for or holding elected office within the 23 Tribal nations we serve. We will feature more Rebuilder updates in the near future!

Photo of Wayne Dupuis

Lakota Country Times Features Vi Waln (Cohort 7 Rebuilder)


Viola Waln, a Native Nation Rebuilder from Cohort 7, shares an excellent op-ed piece with the readers of the Lakota Country Times in the article linked below:

Waln states in the article, “I experienced that natural high on the trip home from the first session with my colleagues last December. I had learned so many new things in a short time. I wanted to come home and change the world.”

You can also read a more detailed article on Vi’s experience at Spearfish Canyon Lodge for Cohort 7’s second session here: Rebuilders Meet in Spearfish Canyon.

Photo of Viola Waln

NGC Announces Rebecca Stratton as Program Director

The Native Governance Center is pleased to announce that the search for a Program Director has ended with Rebecca Stratton coming on board officially May 16th, 2016. Rebecca comes to us after spending the past eight years working for the Shakopee Mdewakaton Sioux Community as a Program Assistant within their Tribal Administration. She has also served her nation as a member of the SMSC Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors, SMSC Gaming Commission and the SMSC Scholarship Selection Committee.

Rebecca brings a depth of knowledge and breadth of experience in working with native nations and is a member of the 2nd cohort of the Native Nations Rebuilder Program now run by the Native Governance Center.

NGC Announces the hiring of Lauren Kramer – Operations Coordinator


The Native Governance Center is pleased to announce the hiring of Lauren Kramer as our new Operations Coordinator. Lauren comes to us after finishing her Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. While in attendance there she also completed a graduate portfolio in Nonprofit Studies through the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Lauren has experience working for a variety of Native nonprofit organizations including the White Earth Land Recovery Project, Mashkiikii Gitigan, and most recently, Great Promise for American Indians.

Her official starting date will be May 16th, 2016.

NGC Board Member Jodi Gillette Receives Honorary Doctorate

Photo of Jodi GilletteNative Governance Center Board member Jodi Gillette will be awarded an honorary doctorate from Black Hills State University, Saturday, May 7, 2016 at the 171st Commencement Ceremony.

Jodi, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, will also present a special lecture Friday, May 6, 2016 at 1 p.m. in the Clare & Josef Meier Recital Hall at BHSU.

We here at NGC would like to congratulate Jodi on this latest milestone. Read the full article about Jodi’s award: BHSU – Jodi Gillette Honorary Doctorate.

Native Governance Center Established to Advance Sovereignty

Wayne Ducheneaux, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has been hired as the inaugural Executive Director of the Native Governance Center (NGC).

With operations based in St. Paul, MN, the organization works to assist tribal nations in strengthening their governance systems to exercise their sovereignty. As Executive Director of NGC, Mr. Ducheneaux will work with representatives from the 23 politically-distinct Native nations sharing territory within Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“As a new organization, one of our first steps will be carrying forward the work of the Bush Foundation’s nation building initiative,” said Ducheneaux. “This effort includes continuing the Bush Foundation’s well-known Native Nations Rebuilder’s leadership development program.”

In its seven years of existence, the Rebuilder’s program has graduated over 100 leaders from Native communities all across the region. The graduates have gained valuable insights and skills on grassroots nation building strategies. Recruitment of candidates to participate in Cohort 8 will begin this summer.

“The Bush Foundation is committed to continuing its nation building work in partnership with the Native Governance Center,” says Jen Ford Reedy, President of the Bush Foundation. “It’s reassuring to know that the Rebuilder’s Program is in good hands, and that the Native Governance Center is planning to substantially expand its reach and impact.” As part of Bush Foundation’s commitment, Jaime A. Pinkham, former Native Nations Vice President at Bush, is serving as a Senior Advisor to NGC through a loaned executive agreement.

As an independent and separately incorporated non-profit entity, the Native Governance Center has its own board of directors whose elected members include: Cris Stainbrook, Board Chair (Oglala Lakota); Tadd Johnson, Board Treasurer (Bois Forte Band of Chippewa); Joe Kalt, Board Secretary; Frank Ettawageshik, Board Member (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians); Jodi Gillette, Board Member (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe); and Tracey Zephier, Board Member (Cheyenne River Sioux).

Beyond conducting the Rebuilder’s Program, the NGC staff and Board of Directors plan to focus on pursuing four key strategies in the months ahead.

  1. Inspire and celebrate Native nation building in the region.
  2. Build human capital to help support tribes in their work.
  3. Work side-by-side with tribes to create and implement solutions.
  4. Provide a conduit for resources between tribes and funders.

“NGC looks forward to building upon the outstanding efforts of the Bush Foundation as we look to support Native Nation building efforts among tribal leaders, tribal members and tribal communities,” says Ducheneaux.