What is a Rebuilder?


The Native Nation Rebuilders program is a two-year, cohort-based leadership training experience for Indigenous changemakers. 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 nation rebuilding is the process of leaving behind ineffective models of Tribal governance, or the standard approach, and rebuilding culturally-relevant governance institutions through five established elements of success: sovereignty, transformational leadership, cultural match, strong governing systems, and seventh generation thinking.

Native nation rebuilding strengthens Tribal governance at all levels of citizenship and increases nations’ capacity for culturally-relevant and sustainable leadership, governance, systems, and policies. It also builds collective power across communities and nations.


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

Cree Rose Dueker

Program Manager - Community Engagement cree@nativegov.org

What Participants Learn

Indigenous-led and grounded in Indigenous values, the program helps future Rebuilders develop skills around community engagement, movement building, wellness, and Indigenized governance practices. We equip participants with a Native nation rebuilding framework they can use to solve problems, strengthen their communities, and jumpstart their leadership journeys.

During a typical Rebuilders session, participants might find themselves:

  • Touring a Native nation
  • Learning about Indigenous wealth models
  • Developing leadership skills through interactive lessons
  • Solving real-life governance issues
  • Building kinship and new connections with a cohort of peers through planned and optional activities
  • Learning through hands on experiences – from cultural crafting to medicine walks
  • Access to resources in support of an action plan

By participating in this program, Rebuilders contribute to the growing network of grassroots Indigenous changemakers committed to rebuilding their nations and helping their communities thrive for the next seven generations.

Program Structure

The first year of the program helps participants develop leadership skills and the confidence to identify what Native nation rebuilding looks like (and could look like) in their own communities. During year one, participants are required to:

  • Attend and complete all modules with topics such as building self-awareness, nation rebuilding, health and wealth, systems and governing relationships, and sovereignty as a practice
  • Complete all workbook activities and case studies
  • Participate in live sessions and calls
  • Co-lead monthly cohort discussions
  • Share reflections and insights
  • Propose and present your community action plan topic

In year two, we ask participants to implement and demonstrate what they’ve learned by completing a community action plan. Plans range from short-term to long-term projects that have a tangible positive impact on Tribal citizens and community members. Examples of action plans implemented by Rebuilders include:

  • Community strategic planning
  • Creating youth empowerment and leadership programs
  • Constitutional reform initiatives
  • Tribal civics and civic engagement projects
  • Tribal history and administration transition manuals and presentations
  • Developing culture based programing and more

During year two, participants are required to attend at least one quarterly check-in with NGC staff until completion of their community action plan.

We also provide participants with one-on-one coaching, cohort networking opportunities, and additional training during year two, which is optional but encouraged.

Become a Rebuilder

Interested in becoming a Rebuilder? Check out the eligibility requirements and application process!

Find a Rebuilder

Over 200 Indigenous changemakers from 12 cohorts have graduated from the Native Nation Rebuilders program. They are part of a nation rebuilding movement, using their skills and connections to strengthen governance in their communities. See who these changemakers are.

—LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks III, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cohort 1

“I’m in my second term as an elected representative for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The Native Nation Rebuilders Program empowers leaders like me and prepares our future leaders to recover our sovereignty in both action and attitude.”

——LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks III, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cohort 1


Principles of Native Nation Rebuilding

Native nation rebuilding is about using Indigenous knowledge and values to solve modern-day problems in a way that makes sense to the nation.

What is Native nation rebuilding?

The Native nation rebuilding framework helps Native nations thrive. In this video, we explain the framework and how to put it into action.