Duluth, MN — Today the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Tribal Administration and Governance. It will be offered at the University of Minnesota Duluth in the fall of 2015 and is the first of its kind in the United States.
The Tribal Administration and Governance (TAG) major combines fundamental business classes with the specific study of tribal governance and will be offered completely online. “TAG offers an outline of what students might run into in their careers,” says Tadd Johnson, who helped craft the program. “We wanted to develop a resource for running a reservation and help tribes develop best practices.”
Jill Doerfler, associate professor and department head for American Indian Studies, says that TAG is one part of UMD’s efforts to fulfill a promise to native communities, “The strategic plan includes a pledge that UMD will ‘serve the educational needs of indigenous peoples, their economic growth, their culture, and the sovereignty of the American Indian nations of the region, the state, and North America.’”
Beyond UMD’s strategic plan, Bill Rudnicki, tribal administrator of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, says TAG being offered online meets a need in Indian Country, “So many people start college and then get busy with careers or families and have to stop. This gives them an option that’s directly applicable to tribal government.”
TAG is modeled after UMD’s Master of Tribal Administration and Governance program, which began in 2011. Johnson says the two degrees have complimentary curriculums and don’t overlap.