The mission of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute is to promote tribal sovereignty through education, outreach, research, tribal consultation and partnerships with Native Nations.
The Tribal Sovereignty Institute (TSI) was established as a result of consultation sessions related to degree programs. Elected Tribal leaders advised the faculty of the Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota Duluth, to establish a Tribal Sovereignty Institute. They did so in 2013. The Department further consulted with Native Nations in the region and throughout Indian County to further develop the mission, goals, objectives and structure of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute (TSI). The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council was established as the advisory board to the TSI
TSI Guiding Principles:
1. Respect for sovereignty and self-determination
2. Consultation with Native nations
3. Engagement in research projects and partnerships with Native nations
4. Commitment to student and community education
The Tribal Sovereignty Institute (TSI) is primarily known for short course certificates (such as the Tribal-State Relations Training program and CTAG-Certificate in Tribal Administration and Governance), applied research (such as the forthcoming Tribal Administration Handbook), and serving as a hub for tribal-university engagement and partnerships.
As required by Minnesota Statute 10.95, Minnesota Tribal-State Relations Training (TSRT) prepares state agency employees with the knowledge and tools to consult with tribes on matters of mutual interest. Participants learn departmental expectations, executive orders as they change with each administration, and ways to promote state-tribal agreements. The mission of the TSRT is to provide training and education for Minnesota state employees about American Indian tribal governments, histories, cultures, and traditions in order to empower state employees to work effectively with American Indians, and promote authentic and respectful relationships between state agencies and American Indian tribes.
Certificate in Tribal Administration and Governance (CTAG) is a 6-month three-phase program aimed at building foundational knowledge and skills within the civil service ranks of tribal nations. It features a summer academy on tribal sovereignty and governance management, collaborative project-based peer mentoring, a fall symposium on applied governance, and a winter retreat focused on problem-based learning.
In addition, of particular note are collaborations between the TSI and the Native Governance Center (NGC). One example would be the participation of the NGC executive director as a guest presenter during a recent iteration of the CTAG program. Another would be extensive NGC-commissioned work undertaken by TSI-affiliated faculty from UMD's Department of American Indian Studies to develop new material and updated curricula for the Native Nation Rebuilders program.