Current Projects

Ongoing Activities

The following activities are seminal products of the PRC. They are conducted and published annually.

  • Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum: Since 2006, the NCAI Policy Research Center annually provides an opportunity for selected researchers to share research with practical implications for tribal communities. The forum provides a space for dialogue between tribal representatives and scholars, providing feedback to researchers about the implications, impact, and potential next steps of their work. For abstracts and slides presented at prior year forums, please visit the Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum webpage .

     

  • Tribally-Driven Research Agenda: In 2005, the PRC convened more than 300 tribal leaders, tribal staff, elders, and youth to identify and prioritize research areas of particular importance to Native communities. The tribally-driven research agenda that emerged from this conversation is used by the PRC as a general guide to our work and partnerships and is reviewed and updated annually by participants in NCAI’s Mid-Year Session.

     

     

Current Projects

The following projects and products are the current focus of the work in the PRC, and are organized by the following areas: economic development, census, human resources (education, health, Indian child welfare, elders, and disabilities), land and natural resources, litigation and governance, and veterans.

Economic Development

  • Considerations for and Alternatives to Tribal Per Capita Distributions: Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and working with the University of Arizona, the Native Nations Institute, and Washington University in St. Louis, Center for Social Development, the PRC is currently drafting a white paper to inform national policy issues and tribal decision-making around per capita distributions. Materials will be available in December 2008.

     

  • Predatory Lending in Indian Country: Working with the Native Financial Education Coalition, the First Nations Development Institute, the Center for Responsible Lending, and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the PRC is addressing the negative impact of payday lending and other predatory lending practices on Native communities through informed policy development. Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the project will offer a policy brief that addresses why people choose payday lenders, promising models to offer financial services, and policy options that can be enacted. Materials will be available in October 2009.

     

     

Census

  • Census Information Center: In 2006, NCAI was designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as a Census Information Center. Working with the Census Bureau and other American Indian/Alaska Native Census Information Centers, NCAI is providing Indian Country with improved access to demographic, economic, and social statistics; training and technical assistance to tribal leaders; and advocating on behalf of tribes in the Census Bureau’s research, planning, and decision-making initiatives in preparation for Census 2010. Visit the CIC site.

     

  • Census Outreach Campaign: Working alongside the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Council of La Raza, and the Asian American Justice Center, NCAI is offering a series of trainings on the importance and benefits of participating in the decennial census, public relations and public service announcement materials and other outreach materials to encourage Native participation in the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey.

     

     

  • Federal Funding Formula Analysis: Use of Census Data for Distribution of Federal Funds: The PRC is currently analyzing the potential impact of single race versus multi-race identification from U.S. Census data in the distribution of federal funds to American Indian tribes within the Indian Housing Block Grant funding formula. A white paper is currently being drafted and is slated for release in December 2008.

     

     

Human Resources

  • American Indian/Alaska Native Youth Survey: In collaboration with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the PRC is conducting a web-based and paper survey that focuses on how Native youth (ages 12-21) currently view themselves and their future to help NCAI, tribal leaders, our partners, and other organizations better understand the needs of Native youth and identify strategies to support our next generation of leaders. The survey was launched in October 2008. Final results are anticipated in late winter/early spring 2009.

     

  • Child Welfare Community of Practice: Funded by a three-year grant from the Administration of Native Americans, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the PRC is and creating networks of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers around the topical areas of child welfare, climate change, and tribal governance. In fall 2008, a new interactive website in the areas of child welfare has been developed; registered users can share information and resources with one another.

     

     

  • Research for Tribal Communities Curriculum: Working with the First Americans Land-Grant Colleges and Organizations Network and the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the PRC has developed an Indigenous-based curriculum that provides tribal leaders with the tools and knowledge to assess and manage research projects proposed or conducted in their communities and/or initiate a research project driven by their own community. The project was funded by the Administration of Native Americans, U.S, Department of Health and Human Services in 2006. The curriculum has been piloted in four communities and will be finalized in winter 2008. Click here for an overview.

     

     

  • Community-Based Participatory Research: Identifying Promoters and Inhibitors of Good Practice in Native Communities: In partnership with faculty at the University of New Mexico and University of Washington, the PRC has proposed research with Native community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects to determine the conditions under which CBPR in Native communities is most effective. If funded, the project will result in a testable model of CBPR practice, produce site-specific and aggregate reports about the promoters and inhibitors of CBPR in Native communities, and allow for the comparison of Native data to data from other communities of color.

     

     

  • Well-being of Urban Indian Families and Children: The PRC, in partnership with the National Urban Indian Family Coalition and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development has proposed an analysis of the well-being of urban Indian families and children. The project proposal entails an analysis of aggregate census data as well as specific data from 30-50 cities. Focus groups and case studies would complement quantitative analyses.

     

     

Land and Natural Resources

  • Climate Change Community of Practice: Funded by a three-year grant from the Administration of Native Americans, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the PRC is creating networks of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers around the topical areas of child welfare, climate change, and tribal governance. In fall 2008, a new interactive website in the area of climate change has been developed; registered users can share information and resources with one another.

     

  • Innovations in Rural Forestry: In partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute, the PRC is working with Native communities to gather data on promising forestry practices in tribal areas undergoing significant social, economic, and environmental change. This project aims to build the capacity of two tribal communities to conduct research and contribute data to national datasets on natural resource projects in rural America. The PRC is currently selecting tribal sites. The final report is slated to be issued in December 2009.

     

     

  • National Rural Assembly: The PRC, along with the Center for Rural Strategies and nine other members of the Assembly’s Steering Committee, are shaping efforts to develop a comprehensive rural policy agenda and network of stakeholders.

     

     

Litigation and Governance

  • A Study of Criminal Justice in Indian Country: In partnership with the University of California- Los Angeles and University of Minnesota, the PRC is examining the law enforcement and criminal justice systems in Indian Country in order to better understand the deficiencies and make recommendations for achieving public safety in tribal communities and proper treatment of detainees. The final report, to be released in summer 2009, will include twelve case study site visits and include more than 450 interviews.

     

  • BIA Land Title and Recordation Office (LTRO) Study: In partnership with the First Nations Development Institute and other field experts, the PRC is identifying and examining a range of options for tribes to expedite processing of title information to strengthen sovereignty and promote economic development. The white paper, slated for release in November 2008, will include case studies, a discussion of options for tribes, and policy recommendations.

     

     

  • Evaluation of Multi-Agency Tribal Consultation: The PRC is assisting various agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Department of Justice in assessing and improving their joint tribal consultation efforts. The 2008 evaluation of multi-agency consultation sessions is underway.

     

     

  • Impact of Vote-by-Mail on Native Voters in Oregon: Working with NCAI’s Native Vote Project, the PRC is determining the impact of Oregon’s statewide policy of “vote-by-mail only” for all elections on Native voters living on reservation lands. A draft report is scheduled to be completed by mid-November 2008.

     

     

Recently Completed Projects

The following completed projects and products are organized by the following areas: economic development, census, human resources (education, health, Indian child welfare, elders, and disabilities), land and natural resources, litigation and governance, and veterans.

Economic Development

  • Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Montana: In partnership with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Montana and PolicyLink, the PRC convened community partners to develop a collective vision for frontier communities in the Great Plains and to develop a policy research agenda.

     

  • National Native American Economic Policy Summit: The PRC provided research and data support for the May 2007 National Native American Economic Policy Summit. Four white papers from the Summit are available on-line.

     

     

Human Resources

  • U.S Department of Health and Human Services Health Research Advisory Council (HRAC): The PRC serves as an alternate delegate to the HRAC, supporting Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel of the Chickasaw Nation, the NCAI delegate, and providing research support and technical assistance to this group. At the August 2008 HRAC meeting, the PRC shared our tribally-driven research agenda , research regulation papers, and an overview of our research curriculum.

     

  • Crafting a Collective Vision for the Future of Indian Country: In 2005, the PRC convened an interactive session to identify tribal priorities and develop a collective vision for tribal communities at the NCAI Annual Session. Click here for materials from the convening.

     

     

  • Native Youth Suicide Prevention: In partnership with the National Indian Child Welfare Association and Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health, the PRC convened a think tank with scholars and tribal representatives addressing Native youth suicide at the 2006 NCAI Mid-Year Session and compiled resources for tribal delegations to the September 2007 American Indian and Alaska Native Summit on Youth Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Healing. Click here for materials from June 2006 think tank.

     

     

Litigation and Governance

  • Realism in Federal Indian Law: In partnership with the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California- Berkeley and a national network of Indian law scholars, the PRC convened Indian law professors to encourage junior scholars to fill the void in the academic literature on the grounded realities of federal Indian law. The meeting transcript was published in the fall 2008 issue of the American Indian Law Review.

     

  • Strengthening Tribal Governance: In fall/winter 2006, the PRC partnered with the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona to convene Indian Country through a series of regional intertribal forums to identify strategies to strengthen the quality of governance in tribal communities. Meeting materials and a convenings report are available; four resource papers are being finalized.