8-1 Summer 1996 “Governance” Resource Guide

May 15th, 1996 | By | Category: 8-1: Governance, Resource Guides

Editor’s note: Sharon O’Brien has graciously provided the following suggestions for better understanding tribal governments, which she compiled especially for Tribal College Journal readers. O’Brien’s 1989 book, American Indian Tribal Governments (University of Oklahoma Press), is used by some tribal college government classes. O’Brien plans on updating the text, which was written at the request of the National Congress of American Indians. She is currently working on a book examining the political and legal obstacles Indian people face when protecting and exercising their religious rights.

She welcomes any information and/or suggestions on either project. Please send information to: Department of Government, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556. Phone: 219-631-7312. Fax 219-631-4268. E-mail Sharon.L.O’Brien.1@nd.edu

O’Brien is also compiling a bibliography of recent articles on tribal governments. The list is too long for publication here, but she has offered to send it to anyone who is interested. Contact her at the above address.


Pommersheim, Frank, Braid of Feathers: American Indian Law and Contemporary Tribal Life, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

American Indian Policy: Self-Governance and Economic Development, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.

Lyden, Fremont and Legters, Lyman, editors, Native Americans and Public Policy, Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

Lopach, James; Brown, Margery Hunter; and Clow, Richmond L., Tribal Governments Today: Politics on Montana Indian Reservations, Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1990.


Articles appearing in American Indian Culture and Research Journal and American Indian Quarterly are also useful.  Given the diversity of Indian nations and the complexity of their responsibilities, which range from administration to zoning, it is most effective to find information by looking up a particular tribe or topic.

Some of the more helpful indexes and databases include: The Social Science Index; Readers Guide; Index to Legal Periodicals. The CD-ROM collection from ABC-CLIO is particularly useful and includes:  American History and Life; Documents from the Government Printing Office; Social Sciences; and others. LEXIS/NEXUS is an excellent source for judicial decisions, law review articles, and newspaper articles.


Leadership training

The Institute for Educational Management at Harvard Graduate School of Education is designed to meet the professional development needs of senior administrators in higher education. It has been utilized by several tribal college presidents. The 27-year old program sharpens the strategic, integrative, and decision making skills of campus leaders. Acceptance to the three week program is very competitive. For information write to the institute at 339 Gutman Library, 6 Appian Way, Cambridge MS 02138, call (617) 495-2655, or fax 496-8202.

The Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) offers three different facilitation training sessions for tribal staff: basic group facilitation methods, participatory strategic planning, and applications for tribal managers. Each involves two full days at locations around the West, including on-site training for large groups. The training covers subjects such as promoting effective dialogue, finding a practical shared vision, preparing presentations, and polishing participatory evaluation skills. Contact CERT at 1999 Broadway Suite 2600, Denver CO 80202. Call (303) 297-2378 or fax 296-5690.

Cheryl Crazy Bull provides tribal college board training and training for self-study and accreditation review preparation. Crazy Bull is the former vice president of Sinte Gleska University and present director of the Sicangu Enterprise Center. Contact her at P.O. Box 253, Rosebud SD 57570 or call (605) 856-2955.

Indian Dispute Resolution Services, Inc. offers classes in cooperation with D-Q University on mediation, peacemaking, facilitation, negotiation skills, and advanced mediation. Based in California, the non-profit organization is now expanding into other Western states and provinces. The mostly Indian staff has moved into education, finding ways to avoid costly lawsuits between parents and schools. They are also exploring running their Mediator Certification Program in other Indian and non-Indian colleges. Contact Indian Dispute Resolution Services at 1029 K Street, Suite 38, Sacramento CA 95814, call (916) 447-4800, or fax 447-4808.

Articles available from NARF Library:

For this “governance” issue of Tribal College Journal, the Native American Rights Fund’s National Indian Law Library (NILL) compiled the following list of resources on tribal courts and tribal governance. In addition to the resources listed below in bibliographic form, NILL also houses over 300 tribal codes (covering subjects such as tribal elections, tribal courts, and law and order); several books on American Indian law; a catalog on NILL holdings; a bibliography on Indian economic development; and several manuals (protecting natural resources, economic development, federal Indian education laws, laws affecting Indian juveniles). Contact Laura West for specifics at NILL, 1506 Broadway, Boulder CO 80302, call (303) 447-8760, or fax 443-7776.

NILL articles on tribal courts

Arrow, Dennis W., “Oklahoma’s Tribal Courts, A Prologue, the First Fifteen Years of the Modern Era, and a Glimpse at the Road Ahead” 19 Oklahoma City Law Review 5 (1994) 76 pgs. NILL No. 009195.

Baca, Lawrence, “Fitting Together the Pieces of the Puzzle: In Contemplation of the Events at Wounded Knee and How They Relate to Today’s Indian Law” 38 Federal Bar News & Journal 62 (1991, No. 2) 2 pgs. NILL No. 006491.

Mason, James Ray, “Practice Before Tribal Courts” Paper No. 5, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (1 989) 27 pgs, NILL No. 006107.

McCoy, Melody L., “Tribal Courts: Forums for the Future” 12  NARF Legal Review 1 (1 987, No. 3). 6 pgs, NILL No, 005841.

Milani, Vincent C., “The Right to Counsel in Native American Tribal Courts: Tribal Sovereignty and Congressional Control” 31 American Criminal Law Review 1279 (1994) 23 pgs. NILL No. 009192.

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