Governance Analysis for Native Nations

Governance Analysis for Native Nations

A thorough examination of how your nation governs and how to move forward effectively

An analytical tool that is in-depth and more comprehensive than an educational session, a GANN seminar assists Indigenous nations with identifying and assessing their nation's governance challenges, goals, planning, and action needed.Our partnership with the Bush Foundation was instrumental in assisting us fine-tune our GANN tool, broadening and strengthening NNI’s facilitation skill set, and expanding its curricular offerings.  

The staff of the Native Nations Institute has been working directly with Native nations for more than two decades to identify the keys to effective governance, sustainable development, and healthy communities. Increasingly, the leaders and key decision-­‐makers of those nations have expressed the need for an instrument that enables them to assess the structure and effectiveness of their governance systems, and the ability of those systems to achieve their priorities for the future.

The GANN is a self-­‐assessment tool that Native nations can use to build stronger governments. Featuring a comprehensive questionnaire, it examines the broad range of a nation’s governance activities, provides ideas for the kinds of changes a Native nation might pursue in improving its governing system, and works to identify strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and areas of concern. It is a tool for planning and action.

Native nations go through the GANN during a two-day session which features a combination of: (1) presentations sharing the core components of NNI’s nation-­‐building research, and (2) small group work sessions where participants complete the GANN questionnaire, identify their top priorities for the nation and its future, and develop action plans to advance those priorities. Alternatively, Native nations may choose to focus on one or more topics and/or incorporate the governance analysis into an educational session.  

Session Topics

  1. Strategic Direction:  Where Are You Going? Are there goals and/or a strategic plan in place for your nation?
  1. Self-Determination:  Who’s in Charge? What is the nation’s degree of “sovereignty in practice”?
  1. Governing Tools:  Foundational Institutions What are the nation’s governing institutions (constitution or laws, etc.) and how are decisions made?
  1. Governing Tools:  A Capable Tribal Administration How well is your nation’s tribal administration is working?
  1. Governing Tools:  Supporting Tribally Owned Enterprises What currently exists in the nation’s economy and is your nation’s government capable of providing support?
  1. Governing Tools:  Supporting Tribal Citizen-Owned Businesses What support structures does your nation have or might develop in the future?
  1. Governing Tools:  Human Capital An assessment of the nation’s human capital resources and level of citizen engagement
  1. Governing Tools:  Financial Resources and Financial Management What is the availability and capacity of both resources and their management?
  1. Self-Determination, continued:  Intergovernmental Relations What’s working and not working in your relationships with other governments?
  1. Priorities and Action:  What Does Your Nation Need To Do?  What’s Doable? (identifies priorities, action plans, and next steps) 

Summary Report 

NNI produces a comprehensive Summary Report providing a detailed account of the seminar's proceedings. Each report is custom, based on each nation's needs, but typically the NNI Tribal & Direct Services team identifies the key themes from the responses recorded from each session, top priorities, and action plans to be implemented. The 20-80 page report typically includes photos taken during the event and a variety of charts and/or data visualizations to illustrate the community’s input. Because so much happens during a GANN seminar, these reports are helpful for all seminar participants to use as a reference to keep the nation moving forward with consensus and a renewed sense of self-determination.

An electronic written summary is provided to each participant for their continued use and implementation.

"Our team of Department Directors went to this session to see how we could improve our organization structure and walked away with a comprehensive assessment of governance challenges, goals and action steps that needed to occur using the Nation Building model. The session also served as a good team building exercise and was good to get all the Directors on the same page."

–Hopi Tribe’s Executive Director’s office


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