Since the start of the pandemic, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development has been partnering with Indigenous organizations to respond to the challenges revealed and caused by COVID-19 and to develop longer-term solutions and infrastructures that will better position tribal nations to withstand future crises.
One of these efforts has been the creation of online toolboxes—collections of resources contributed by Indigenous groups across the country outlining how they have responded to educational, health care, housing, and other critical needs within their communities. These toolboxes—one of which is highlighted in the video link below—allow tribal leaders to share their successes, lessons, and tools with others.
In the United States, there are 574 federally recognized tribal nations. Collectively they are referred to as “Indian Country,” but there is tremendous diversity among the tribes. Each has its own unique history, geography, culture and economy, as well as its own opportunities and challenges.
Far too often, we only hear about challenges facing these tribal nations and rarely hear about the solutions tribes create. In response, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development founded Honoring Nations, a national awards program that spotlights success in tribal governance. Since 1998, Honoring Nations has awarded 136 tribal governance programs from over 100 tribal nations, highlighting key lessons that other governments, both Native and non-Native, can adapt for themselves. By sharing these lessons, we are changing the conversation from what isn’t working to what is. We also facilitate the sharing of practical tools to improve the strength and vitality of Indian Country.