The Duluth News Tribune is reporting that the University of Minnesota Board of Regents has approved the creation of a bachelor’s degree program in tribal administration at the University’s Duluth campus (UMD). The action follows creation in 2011 of a master’s degree program in the same field. Both programs are firsts in the nation.
The Tribal Administration and Governance (TAG) program was developed in response to a “strong need” among tribal governments in the midwest and nationwide, according to Tadd Johnson, director of graduate studies for the Department of American Indian Studies. There are 566 federally recognized Indian tribes in the U.S., including 11 each in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Much of the program will be offered online, to make it more accessible to those who are unable to travel to Duluth for their studies. The curriculum covers federal Indian law, tribal government and tribal management in key areas such as health and human services, natural resources, education, housing, finance and economic development, and human resources, Johnson said.
MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy said the UMD program will be a tremendous resource for tribal governments. “Many people don’t understand that tribal governments have responsibilities and obligations to their citizens, just like states. Whether they’re spending federal funds or gaming revenues, they have to provide services and manage programs to meet the needs of the community. They need qualified, well-educated people to do that. Tadd Johnson and UMD have done a great service for Indian country by developing these degree programs, and they should be congratulated for it.”