Native Nations Listening Tour Findings


  • Apryl Deel-McKenzie, Program Manager

Native Nations Listening Tour Findings

Have you heard about our Native Nations Listening Tour (NNLT)? Our organization delivers on-the-ground programming that’s designed to meet Native nations’ and leaders’ needs. We make the most impact as an organization when our programming is responsive, current, and relevant. We are always learning. In 2019, we created the NNLT to help us gather data that our Tribal partners would find valuable and our organization could use to strengthen our programming to better serve Native nations.

We developed an evaluation process that prioritized trust, strong relationships, our Indigenous values, and an acknowledgment of colonization’s impact on Native governance. We took the evaluation on the road and visited with elected leaders and staff from 19 of the 23 Native nations in Mni Sota Makoce, North Dakota, and South Dakota. (We intended to visit all 23, but we ended our tour in February 2020 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Our NNLT data identifies Tribal governance priorities, needs, challenges, and successes within our region. While we designed the evaluation with Tribal leaders and nations in mind, we hope that grassroots activists, practitioners working in Indian Country, academics, and members of the general public will also find the data valuable.

We’re pleased to announce that we just published a report containing this NNLT data. Here’s a preview of our evaluation questions and the data points you’ll find in this report:

What types of Tribal governance support services do nations in our region need?

  • Orientation and onboarding processes
  • Strengthen policies and procedures
  • Strengthen civic engagement

What are the barriers or gaps that are limiting effective Tribal governance?

  • Balancing multiple roles
  • Outdated organizational structure
  • Need for constitutional reform or updated Tribal policies
  • Infrastructure and workforce development challenges
  • Lack of continuity between administrations

What initiatives are Native nations working on that are going well?

  • Civic engagement
  • Infrastructure and economic development
  • Community wellness and culture

Do you have questions about the NNLT data? Please reach out to program manager Apryl Deel-McKenzie: