Strengthening tribal leadership
Extension's Minnesota Indigenous Leadership Network is working to engage tribal leaders and strengthen partnerships with rural and urban Native American communities in Minnesota. We are Fawn Sampson and Jason Schlender. As a team of American Indian leadership and civic engagement educators we are passionate about upholding and protecting our traditional values, communities, families and each other for future generations.
We recognize that historical trauma is more than about what has happened to us in the past — it's also about what is happening to us now. Leadership development is the cornerstone of our future and we are excited to share resources, tools and programs to strengthen our communities.
In Extension • Across University of Minnesota • Around our communities
As the Minnesota Indigenous Leadership Network we work with others in Extension, with people and groups across the University of Minnesota, and within our communities. We engage with and look to strengthen collaborations with tribal leaders, elders, current tribal partners, community conveners and others. Learn how our work starts with listening and read about Extension's current tribal work.
Follow our Facebook page, Minnesota Indigenous Leadership Network, for news and updates.
Learn and engage with us
Extension hosts events and offers cohort learning programs designed for tribal communities. Below are events and learning opportunities that may interest you.
Use our expertise
Interested in helping your tribal community better govern, grow leadership and increase participation? Extension has trained indigenous educators who can help you with your leadership education needs. Learn more about our facilitative services.
Leadership education scholarship
Are you interested in Extension's leadership programs? Do you need help paying for program costs? Extension offers need-based scholarships for tribal members to participate in and get leadership program materials. Apply for a scholarship.
Stories from our community
"Whenever I'm asked about my leadership journey, I quickly reflect back ... I just always have to reflect back on the sacrifices that were made that allowed me to be where I am today." — Dennis Olson
In our podcast series Indigenized Connections On Air we focus on issues that impact tribal communities and leadership throughout Minnesota. Listen to our most recent episodes below.
Listen as we speak with tribal leader Joe Nayquonabe, Jr. about his resiliency, the pandemic and his leadership journey.
How is COVID-19 impacting tribal communities? Listen as we speak with tribal leader Beth Drost as she talks about the pandemic and her leadership journey.
How is COVID-19 impacting tribal communities? Listen to our conversation with tribal leader Robert Larsen as he talks about the pandemic and his leadership journey.
How has COVID-19 impacted daily lives and tribal communities? In this podcast episode, we talk with Dennis Olson, Jr. about his leadership journey and navigating change.
About our tribal initiative
Extension received funding from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop and strengthen partnerships with Minnesota’s Indian communities. The EDA provided matching funds for Extension to hire two full-time American Indian staff. This staff helps develop and organize resources for programming in civic engagement, economic development, and leadership education, and provides other technical resources.
This is a multi-year EDA project that we hope will set the stage for continued resources for this important work. The project started in January 2019 and is funded through December 2021.
The EDA, which is under the US Department of Commerce, has worked across the nation and in Minnesota with various tribes. In at least three states, Inter-Tribal Agency consortium helped tribes cooperate on projects relating to economic development, environment, health, housing, and more. These expanded initiatives show that working together across the state can benefit the whole of sovereignty.
Join our email list
Receive updates and news about leadership and building capacity in tribal communities in Minnesota.
Give a gift of education
You can help provide leadership and civic engagement education to tribal communities in Minnesota with a financial gift. Your donation funds scholarships for Native Americans who want to participate in an Extension leadership program. Support leadership development by making a donation today.