Become a Rebuilder


The Native Nation Rebuilders program is a two-year, cohort-based leadership training experience for Indigenous changemakers with new cohorts beginning each year. The goal of ​the program is to strengthen Native leadership and equip changemakers with Indigenized tools and frameworks they can use to help rebuild their nations. Native Governance Center covers all costs associated with the program for participants including travel, lodging, meals, program training fees, and materials or supplies.


Do you have questions about becoming a Rebuilder? Reach out, we’d love to hear from you!

Jessica Glidden

Program Manager - Leadership Development

Isabella Griffin

Program Coordinator - Leadership Development



To apply to become a Rebuilder, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be an enrolled citizen of one of the 23 Native nations sharing geography with Mni Sota Makoce, North Dakota, or South Dakota
  • OR be an enrolled citizen of any federally recognized Native nation who is currently living and working in Mni Sota Makoce, North Dakota, or South Dakota
  • Be committed to attending and participating in all sessions


Native Governance Center will only consider complete applications for the program. A complete application must include the all of the following:

  • Online application form
  • A current Resume, CV, or similar
  • 2 Professional References
  • Employer Commitment

Application & Selection Process

Our application process has several steps before participants are selected for the program. You can read more about each step by expanding the sections below.

We’ll ask some basic questions about you, including contact information, education, and employment. These help us better understand the demographics of our applicants. You’ll then be asked to complete short essay questions that are included for review below. Then, you’ll review all the important dates for our cohort commitment and agree to our attendance policy.

Essay Prompts:

  1. Please tell us about your work with in community or your nation. Share your accomplishments, challenges, and aspirations.
  2. What does sovereignty look like to you? Think about the vision you have for your nation, solutions you believe can strengthen your nation, or affirmations that your nation is headed in the right direction.
  3. Describe an activity or situation that illustrates your leadership abilities.
  4. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of your Nation’s current governing system. How do you think the Rebuilders program could help you address these strengths or weaknesses?
  5. Why do you want to be a Native Nation Rebuilder and how do you hope to use the education and experiences you will gain through the program?

After you submit your online application, you’ll request information from your 2 professional references and employer. You can read more about references & employer support below.

In addition to your online application, you must have two professional references submitted in support of your application. These references must be from two non-relatives who are familiar with your values, character, and goals. You may ask your supervisor, coworkers, members of a coalition or committee you are involved in, professors, or people that you have worked with in the past year. Your reference cannot also be applying for the same cohort, but references from Rebuilder Alumni are acceptable.

After you submit your application, you’ll get an email with links to a form for your references to complete. They each will submit a reference form. Your references should be able to speak about your experience with community, governance/sovereignty, and leadership style. It is your responsibility to request this information from your references.

Part of our application process is an employer commitment form. All types of employment are valid and will be considered, including if you are currently employed, self-employed, or not employed by someone else (i.e. entrepreneur, consultant, student, unemployed). You are required to have an employer commitment form for your application. If you are currently employed, it should be sent to your supervisor; if you are self-employed or unemployed you will complete it on your own behalf. The commitment is for your employer to support you in this effort and to allow you time away from work to attend the sessions.

As a program participant, you must make a significant commitment of time and energy of approximately 200+ hours for Native Nation Rebuilding. You are required to participate in all sessions during year one of the program. Year two of the program will look considerably different with one-on-one coaching, full cohort check-ins, and additional training on topics such as fundraising, etc.

As with your references, the email you receive after you submit your application will include links to a form for your employer to complete. It is your responsibility to request this information from your employer.


A selection committee composed of individuals with expertise in Indigenous governance and leadership will evaluate each Rebuilder candidate according to their commitment to Tribal sovereignty and community, leadership experience, knowledge of the issues facing their nation, and potential to impact their nation.


Once the committee’s work is complete, we will contact each applicant and let them know whether they are accepted into the program. The final step for accepted applicants is to sign a contract committing to the program.

Important Dates

  • October 2, 2023  –  Applications for Cohort 13 closed.
  • November 2023  –  New Cohort 13 participants announced.
  • Mid-2024 – Cohort 14 applications will open in mid-2024. Follow us to know when they open!