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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Leadership program studies in Native American law, culture, nation building

ArizonaNativeNet, a Web portal designed to promote nation building in American Indian communities, debuted the first in a series of distance learning modules designed for tribal leaders.

As the first free program of its kind in the country, the Web-based project will address a critical and increasing need for information about Indian law and governance. The module, as well as a information about ArizonaNativeNet, can be viewed at http://www.arizonanativenet.com.

"There's really nothing like it anywhere in the world," said Professor Robert A. Williams Jr., director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at The University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law. "The Internet has the potential to be an important tool of tribal sovereignty, bringing cutting-edge research and information to reservations."

ArizonaNativeNet is unique because it was developed by world-class experts in the fields of Indian law and native nation building, and provides a one-stop shop for information on other areas of concern, including health, education, breaking news, employment and grant opportunities.

Preliminary plans call for the development of over twenty distance learning modules in categories as diverse as "Entrepreneurship and Doing Business on Indian Lands" and "Modern Tribal Jurisdiction" from two highly regarded UA Native American academic programs: the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy (NNI) and The Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program (IPLP). The Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office (NPTAO), a division of the Office of the UA's Vice President for Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development, has also played an integral role in the development of the Web portal and distance learning content.

The module introduced yesterday, titled "The History of Federal Indian Law and Policy: the European Doctrine of Discovery and American Indian Rights", is part of a project, the "Federal Indian Law for Tribal Leaders: IPLP Tribal Leadership Curriculum", which covers the Marshall Trilogy, the trust doctrine, tribal sovereignty, Congressional plenary power, the Doctrine of Discovery and the European Law of Nations. Designed especially for use by tribal leaders, attorneys, judges and college students, the modules include video clips, images, maps and supplemental reading materials. The modules should additionally appeal to anyone with an interest in the history and development of Federal Indian law.

ArizonaNativeNet is supported through a grant from the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona Regents Reach Out (ARRO) grant program and a Congressionally-directed grant administered through the Department of Education.

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