MPA Tribal Governance Concentration
"No right is more sacred to a nation, to a people, than the right to freely determine its social, economic, political and cultural future without external interference. The fullest expression of this right occurs when a nation freely governs itself. We call the exercise of this right Self-determination. The practice of this right is Self-government."
— Joseph Burton DeLaCruz (1937-2000)
Goals and Structure
Currently, there is no other Master of Public Administration program in the U.S. with an emphasis on Tribal Governance. With that in mind, the Tribal Governance Concentration focuses on structures, processes and issues specific to Tribal Governments. It provides current and future Tribal leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to work successfully in Indian Country. The Concentration is also appropriate for those working with governmental or other organizations in a liaison role with Tribal Governments. Students go through the entire program as a cohort and finish in two years in this structured program.
February 15th is the priority deadline for inter-year admissions, and applications will continue to be accepted until inter-year seats are filled. Applicants wishing to enter as inter-year students who will join the current cohort of students and complete the MPA-Tribal Governance course of study in three years. Please contact the Assistant Director below for information on inter-year status.
The curriculum of the Tribal Governance concentration reflects the diversity of issues addressed by the Tribes, including: health, housing, natural and cultural resources, land-use, education, youth, welfare, law enforcement, human resources, transportation, fiscal policy and economic development. Students will gain valuable knowledge, skills and abilities for working within a Tribal context.
The entire program is designed to serve working adults; specifically those students traveling from outside the city of Olympia and the state of Washington. To serve those students, our courses are taught in an intensive format, meeting five sessions each quarter (three sessions for core course and two sessions for the concentration course). Each session is 20 hours long and meets Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“It has helped me work with the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe by providing the educational qualifications I need for employment.”- Alumni Survey 2012
1st and 2nd Year Core (36 credit hours) + 20 Tribal Concentration credit hours + 4 elective credit hours = 60 credit hours.
Student work is evaluated through written narrative evaluations rather than grades. Learning experiences are highly participatory; significant in-class work occurs in small seminars.
A survey of Tribal Government leaders and staff in the Northwest revealed a high level of interest in graduate studies that would equip tribal members for the increasingly complex work in administration of Tribal Governments. No other college or university in the US currently offers such an advanced degree or professional credentials that reflect in-depth specialization in contemporary Tribal governance subject areas.
Evergreen's MPA Program received approval from the Board of Trustees and the State Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop and offer such a program targeting persons with a high interest in working within Tribal communities, the pilot beginning Fall 2002.
The Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute (NIARI), an Evergreen public service center, acted in a major role, especially in curriculum and faculty development programs, and making available expertise on Tribal Government issues from around the United States.
Students who have completed the program include staff and faculty with tribal affiliations including, among others: Apache, Colville, Kootenai, Makah, Native Hawai'ian, Port Gamble S'kallam, Quinault, Rocky Boy Cree, Salish, Skokomish, Snoqualmie, Suquamish, Tulalip, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Many former students are employees in tribal governments, state government, and higher education with expertise in administration, higher education, natural resources, finance, intergovernmental relations and human resources.
The Tribal Governance concentration curriculum has been developed to meet the needs of professionals who wish to gain an in-depth education in the field of Tribal governament administration. Student work is evaluated through written narrative evaluations rather than grades. Learning experiences are highly participatory; significant in-class work occurs in small seminars. Students are admitted into the program every two years, and we offer a limited number of mid-program admissions to select students.
Interested? Contact MPA
For admissions information, cost of study, and general MPA program details, select the appropriate link from our site navigation.
To speak to someone about the Tribal Governance Concentration, contact Puanani Nihoa, MPA Student Services Assistant, Tribal Cohort at (360) 867-6202.
To speak to someone about the MPA program in general, email Randee Gibbons or call (360) 867-6554.
Thank you for your interest in our Master of Public Administration, Tribal Governance Concentration and our other graduate programs at the The Evergreen State College.