Native Governance Center and Bush Foundation Announce Ninth Cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders

25 citizens from 12 Tribes join program to strengthen leadership skills, serve Native people


September 29, 2017

(St. Paul, MN – September 26, 2017) – Native Governance Center and the Bush Foundation are pleased to announce that 25 citizens from 12 of the 23 Native nations overlapping North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota have been selected for the ninth cohort of the Native Nation Rebuilders Program. Rebuilders consist of emerging and existing Native leaders looking to build leadership skills and nation building knowledge. With this newest cohort, 165 Native leaders call themselves Rebuilders.

“One of the most important roles of Native Governance Center is to nurture emerging leaders in Indian Country,” said Wayne Ducheneaux II, executive director of the Native Governance Center. “The key way in which we do that is our Native Nation Rebuilders Program, which creates homegrown jobs and career paths for people to work for, work with, and support Tribes in their efforts to advance governance.”

The Bush Foundation launched the Native Nation Rebuilders Program in 2009 in response to the guidance of Tribal leaders. In early 2016, the Bush Foundation transitioned delivery of the Rebuilders Program to the newly created Native Governance Center, a Native-led nonprofit that delivers nation building support to Tribes.

“Rebuilders have gone on from this program to support nation building projects in their home communities after gaining a deeper understanding of the tenets and strategies that will contribute to the long-term success of their governments, economies and people,” said Rebecca Stratton, Program Director at the Native Governance Center. “They learn about nation building and leadership in a cohort format, allowing them to form supportive relationships that will continue years into the future, and they develop tangible plans for themselves and their nations.”

Rebuilders will convene for four structured sessions during which they will also develop action plans to share knowledge with peers and their respective Tribal governments. The sessions involve partner organizations and individuals with expertise in nation building, organizing, and issues specific to Indian Country. National partners include the Native Nations Institute ( and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (

The Rebuilders’ names and Tribal affiliations are below and on the Native Governance Center website. The next round of applications for the tenth cohort of Rebuilders will be announced in the summer of 2018.

Native Nation Rebuilders Cohort 9

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (

Jesse Abernathy

Alissa Benoist

Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (

Elizabeth Jaakola

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (

Levi Brown

Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation (

Cesareo Alvarez

Margaret Landin

Sterling Reed

Cory Spotted Bear

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (

Katie Draper

Bradley Harrington

Oglala Sioux Tribe (

Darrell Brown Bull

Paulina Fast Wolf

Tamatane I’atala

Peri Pourier

Red Lake Nation (

Harvey Roy

Rosebud Sioux Tribe (

Lauri Bordeaux

Brian Dillon

Florence “Tinka” Duran

Cante Heart

Tori Whipple

Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe (

Melissa Brady

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (

Caleb Dogeagle

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (

Jamie Azure

Jona Peltier

Yankton Sioux Tribe (

Valeriah Big Eagle


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