Northern Great Plains Tribes Benefit from First Nations Trainings

Daryl Melvin and training participants at the Crow Nation.

Daryl Melvin and training participants at the Crow Nation.

Under the “Mapping Ecological Stewardship Opportunities in Northern Great Plains Native Communities” project, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has been providing on-site trainings to tribal programs located in Montana and South Dakota.

Launched in 2015, the project is focused on helping tribes achieve a balance between ecological stewardship and economic development. In this capacity, First Nations is helping tribes explore and inform ecological stewardship practices in the Great Plains of South Dakota and Montana by facilitating the dialogue around and active implementation of strategies that catalyze tribally-controlled ecological stewardship initiatives that are compatible with community tribal values and contribute to tribal economic and community development opportunities.

Through this initiative, the Crow Nation, Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe each identified the need to provide financial management training for their tribal programs.

Donald GoodVoice at the Chippewa Cree Tribe.

Donald GoodVoice at the Chippewa Cree Tribe.

“Financial management and communications across tribal programs is essential to increasing opportunities and long-term strategies for tribal communities,” noted Jackie Francke, First Nations Vice President of Programs and Administration. “The skills developed from these trainings are designed to empower tribal administrators to successfully manage the financial aspects of their programs, which is a crucial factor for tribes and departments to increase economic opportunities and develop internal strategies to efficiently and effectively manage them.”

The 1.5-day trainings, presented by First Nations consultant Melvin Consulting PLLC, covered budget development, financial systems and accountability, and budget management. The trainings were well-received, with more than 100 participants attending.

Participants said they most enjoyed the “positivity and the feeling of hope,” the “knowledge base of the presenters,” and the “importance of knowing and understanding how to manage finances for tribal programs, expenditures in personal life and workforce, the collaboration and open communication with other tribal departments and programs.”

First Nations continues to provide technical assistance and support to the tribes in the Northern Great Plains with the provision of grants to the Crow Tribe, Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in their efforts to implement strategies to increase tribal opportunities through ecological stewardship.

For more information about the First Nations Mapping Ecological Stewardship project, contact Jackie Francke at jfrancke@firstnations.org.

By Stephanie Cote, First Nations Program Coordinator