Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
January 15, 2000 - Issue 01

Harvard Honoring Nations 2000 Awards

Harvard Project Releases Application for Honoring Nations 2000 Awards Program Identifies, Celebrates and Shares Tribal Government Success Stories

CAMBRIDGE -- The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government released its 2000 application for Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian Nations (known as "Honoring Nations"). Honoring Nations identifies, celebrates and shares outstanding examples of governance among American Indian nations. This is the second year of the tribal governance awards program.

Modeled after similar awards programs supported by the Ford Foundation in Brazil, the United States, the Philippines and South Africa, Honoring Nations asks tribal governments to submit a short application that describes their
outstanding program, practice or initiative. Guided by a 13-member Advisory Board chaired by Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation, and comprised of distinguished leaders from the tribal, public, non-profit and private sectors,
applications are judged on the basis of the contribution's effectiveness, significance, transferability, creativity and sustainability. Following several rounds of evaluation, including a site visit for the 16 finalists, eight programs are awarded "high honors" and eight are awarded "honors" in the fall. Each of the "high honors" recipients receives a $10,000 monetary award to share their governance success story with other Indian nations. In addition, the Harvard Project works with all 16 honorees to compile and distribute reports and materials for widespread dissemination.

"Despite the challenges Indian nations face, many outstanding tribal government programs are setting examples of "best practices" that should be spotlighted," according to Andrew Lee, who directs the awards program. "Honoring Nations serves to spread these incredible success stories so that all of Indian Country can learn from them." Honoring Nations is grounded in
the Harvard Project's 13 years of research and fieldwork, which consistently demonstrate the importance of capable, effective governing institutions in building and sustaining strong, healthy Indian nations.

The honorees for the inaugural year of Honoring Nations represented contributions ranging across such areas as health care, social services, education, judicial systems, wildlife management, economic development, and environmental protection. Among the eight "high honors" recipients for 1999 was a tribal judicial branch that uses peacemaking to resolve disputes; an
education program that uses modern technology to teach youth traditional language and culture; and a tribally-initiated foster care agency that has increased the number of licensed Indian foster families.

Joe Kalt, co-founder of the Harvard Project and a professor of international political economy at Harvard, notes, "Last year's winners clearly show how Indian nations can be very successful when they seize control of their own futures, govern themselves on their own terms, and put in place effective institutions of self-governance." Kalt adds, "These programs are not just excellent for Indian Country, but truly represent some of the best government practices found anywhere in the world."

Completed applications for Honoring Nations 2000 are due on April 21, 2000.

To receive an application or to inform the Harvard Project about an outstanding tribal government program, practice or initiative, contact Andrew Lee, Executive Director for Programs at (617) 496-6632 or by e-mail at

Applications may also be downloaded at

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