Bush Foundation names Native Nation Rebuilders

By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff Writer

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Bush Foundation has announced the latest cohort of their Native Nation Rebuilders Program.

Seventeen individuals from though out Indian country were chosen to participate in the program. This year’s group will represent the Bush Foundation’s fourth different group chosen to participate in the program. The selections include five men and 12 women from across the country that bring with them an extremely diverse field of experience varying from health care professionals, educators, tribal administrators, business people and experts in community development.

In a press release, Jaime A Pinkham, Nez Perce, who serves as the vice president at the Bush Foundation, emphasized the need for those selected to work with their elected officials, as well as the role they could potentially play in advancing Native American communities.

“For Native nation-rebuilding to reach its greatest potential, the people must participate with their elected leaders to craft an authentic governance structure. These 17 new Rebuilders share a commitment to such participation — first by their willingness to improve their knowledge about nation-building and second by their efforts to work with elected leaders in their nation’s exercise of its sovereignty. Together with the 50 Rebuilders who came before them, these 17 unique and passionate Native citizens are valuable assets to their nations and can inspire all Native citizens to participate in nation-rebuilding efforts,” said Pinkham.

Those selected met on Wednesday, Nov 28, for the first time in Prior Lake, Minn. The group will participate in four training sessions over the next two years to learn new ways to help advance Native nations. The Bush Foundation will provide those chosen with access to instructors from the Native Nations Institutes at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development in Cambridge, Mass.
In addition to participating in the training sessions, the group also agrees to participate consistently in certain activities throughout their two-year engagement in the program, to share knowledge with peers and to develop and implement nation-rebuilding action plans.

There are several people from area tribes who have been chosen to the group. They include Kim Clausen, Emily Iron Cloud-Koenen and Marie Zephier from the Oglala Sioux Tribe; Rodney Bordeaux and Mary Waln from Rosebud; Julie Thorstenson from Cheyenne River; Chris Hall from Crow Creek; and Chase Iron Eyes from Standing Rock.

Founded in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Bush Foundation’s mission is to “be a catalyst for the courageous leadership necessary to create sustainable solutions to tough public problems and ensure community vitality,” according to the press release. The foundation works in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native American nations that share the same geographic area.
For further information, go to BushFoundation.org.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at staffwriter2@nsweekly.com)

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