University of Arizona
NNI | Harvard Project | Udall Foundation |


COURSE: Administration

Native Nation Building: An Introduction
Remaking the Tools of Governance
Administration: Getting Things Done for the Nation

Course Instructors:

Dr. Manley Begay, Faculty Chair, Native Nations Institute
Dr. Stephen Cornell, Faculty Associate, Native Nations Institute
Joan Timeche, Executive Director, Native Nations Institute

Estimated Learning Time: 15 to 18 hours
Deadline to Complete Course: Nine (9) weeks from date of enrollment
Price: $225.00

Course Study Guide

This course explores how Native nations are reclaiming their governance systems and creating governance tools that fit their cultures and advance their nation-building goals. Featuring the firsthand perspectives of more than 65 Native leaders and scholars, it provides an overview of the role of bureaucracies in advancing nation-building efforts, the keys to effective governmental administration and program management, and the distinct roles elected leaders and administrators should play in making effective management happen.

List of Native Leaders and Scholars


By the end of this course, students will understand:

Native Nation Building

  • The basic political and socioeconomic challenges facing Native nations today
  • Why the Standard Approach is a failed recipe for successful Native nation building
  • The five components of the Nation-Building Approach and why Native nations who choose this approach are better able to achieve their development goals

Remaking Governance

  • What governance is, and why it is important
  • The relationship — and differences — between self-determination and governance, and the challenges they present
  • The breadth and diversity of traditional Indigenous governance systems
  • How colonial policies impacted Indigenous governance and governments, and the contemporary legacies of those policies
  • The fundamental difference between self-administration and self-governance
  • How Native nations are remaking their tools of governance


  • What encourages disconnected programs
  • The typical results of programs-based approach to management
  • The keys to effective program management
  • The benefits of developing a systems-based approach to management
  • The drawbacks of the "silo effect"
  • The importance of cultivating skilled, experienced administrators
  • The role of cultural legitimacy and effective governance in successful management
  • The basic principles of both effective governance and management
  • The appropriate roles of elected leaders and program directors in effective management
  • What it takes to achieve productive management "flow"

Native Nation Building

  1. What is nation building? 

  2. What explains the success that some Native nations have had in building sustainable, self-determined economies? 

  3. What are the fundamental differences between the Standard Approach and the Nation-Building Approach, and why does one work so much better than the other? 

  4. Why are capable governing institutions so critical to successful nation building? 

  5. What role does and should culture play in rebuilding Native nations?

Remaking Governance

  1. What is the relationship between self-determination and governance?
  2. What is governance? How is it different from government?
  3. Where does governance fit in the life of your nation?
  4. What impacts did colonialism have on Indigenous governance systems?
  5. How and why are Native nations reclaiming and remaking those systems?
  6. Where does governmental legitimacy come from? How do Native nations achieve it?
  7. Does the present design of your Native nation's government provide adequate tools for meeting the challenges the nation faces?
  8. If not, what steps should the nation take to equip itself with more effective governing tools?


  1. What is a bureaucracy's role in Native nation building?
  2. What goals drive — and should drive — a nation's programs and services?
  3. How can Native nations move from self-administration to true self-governance in the realms of program management and service delivery?
  4. Where does the "silo effect" come from, and how can Native nations overcome it?
  5. What must Native nations consider as they work to create effective bureaucracies?
  6. What are the appropriate roles of leaders in effective management?
  7. What are the appropriate roles of administrators in effective management?
  8. What do Native nations gain from effective program management?
  9. What do Native nations need to have in place for successful program management?
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Native Leaders:
Clarifying and Delegating Responsibilities