This page explores some of my major projects. Some of them are in collaboration with others, while some are more independent in nature. Although primarily based in education, these projects center around the same three themes: land, community, and self-determination.
When Rivers Were Trails
This educational video game provides players with an understanding of both the policies shaping the relationships between the federal government and tribal nations and Indigenous perspectives of history. The first video game of its kind, When Rivers Were Trails, leads the player from northern Minnesota across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Northwest ending in northern California. In addition to a rich narrative, players will participate in mini-games and resource collection on their journey.
When Rivers Were Trails launched in the spring of 2019. To play, you may download it to your iMac or PC here. You may also download it to your iPad or Google Tablet from their respective stores.
Teacher Professional Development
I provide workshop and seminar style teacher professional development to teachers at public, private, and tribally-controlled primary and secondary schools using the culturally-relevant, place-based curriculum, Lessons of Our Land. Since inception of the professional development program in the summer of 2015, I have provided direct assistance and training to 3,125 teacher reaching approximately 62,000 students in six states.
Beginning in January 2019, the online teacher professional development program was launched. This online training is comprised of six hours of instructional materials that includes a one-hour recorded teaching demonstration and also includes a fully functional discussion forum. While originally created to be a standalone training program, the online professional development curriculum may be used in conjunction with on-site trainings. These forums provide a platform for teachers to develop online professional learning communities, discussing issues in teaching, pedagogy, and curriculum development.
For more information about the Lessons of Our Land curriculum or the online professional development program, please visit lessonsofourland.org.
Tribal Land Professionals Certification Program
Creating standards for professionalization of careers in tribal land offices is essential to promoting a stronger sense of sovereignty and self-determination. This three-tiered program consists of 12 courses that build upon one another to provide professionals completing coursework with a working knowledge of general realty, real estate principles and practices, land acquisition, and land management and planning. While designed for working adults, the certification may be pursued by others interested in working in land offices or those interested in better understanding how tribal land offices work.
There are four courses in each of the three levels. Level I courses provide a foundation, introducing professionals to the basics of each of the four areas mentioned above including vital subtopics. Level II provide opportunities for professionals to put what they are learning to work through the use of specifically designed scenarios and partially redacted working documents. Level III courses require professionals to spend 2000 hours in a tribal land office for a combination of practical experience and supervised study. This practicum is tailored to fit the needs of the specific land office and the interests of the professional.
Upon successful completion of each course, professionals are awarded with a Certificate of Completion and its respective Continuing Education Units through United Tribes Technical College. Upon the successful completion of the entire program, professionals are awarded certificates noting their excellence.
For more information about the Tribal Land Professionals Certification program, please visit learn.ntla.info.
Tribal Land Staff National Conference
With its inaugural meeting in 2011, the Tribal Land Staff National Conference (TLSNC) gave way to the formation of the National Tribal Land Association. This Association, in partnership with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, hosts a conference aimed at discussing contemporary challenges in tribal land management, various legal subjects relating to land and natural resources, and continuing education opportunities for land office staff. While the target audience is for those professionals working in tribal land offices, the TLSNC registers attorneys working in Indian Country, tribal leadership, and academic researchers.
The conference is typically composed of three major tracks: general, regional, and legal. The general track features a vast array of sessions exploring such topics as land reclamation, contracting and compacting, and working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The regional track exposes participants to more regional land issues from cultural revitalization efforts to tribal historic preservation initiatives. The legal track offers opportunities for attendees to learn about complex legal issues relating in anyway to tribal land jurisdiction including taxation, air space codes, probate and estate planning, and proclamation. For those attorneys seeking Continuing Legal Education hours, courses in this track are accredited through the appropriate state CLE Board. Attendees who are not practicing attorneys may earn Continuing Education Units through United Tribes Technical College.
For more information about the conference, please visit ntla.info/conference.
Treaty Signers Project
Beginning in 2008, the Treaty Signers Project explores the business and familial relationships among the signers of official treaties made between the United States government and tribal nations. The 375 treaties research the signatories of thousands of government officials, businessmen, and family relationships sharing an untold story of Native land loss. In collaboration with Mr. Martin Case, we are assembling a relational database/website containing all information found during the research phase of this project. Once launched, this website will provide research and the general public all relevant information pertaining to the non-Native signers of these treaties.
Strategic Land Planning
Land planning are necessary components of proper land management. Through a series of educational approaches and community engagement strategies to consulting and grant-making, tribal nations are receiving much needed strategic land planning services. While the needs and interests of each nation are different, the Foundation may work with any tribe expressing need and a clear vision.