Native American Leadership

Challenge:  First Nations Development Institute wanted to develop a leadership program that would help Native non-profit leaders excel in the years ahead. They needed insight into the opportunities and challenges facing these leaders operating in Indian Country. The difficulty of the task is that Indian leaders operate in a very unique political and cultural environment.  They have limited resources and struggle to balance multiple constituents’ interests and needs.

Solution:  The director selected our team to facilitate a convening of the top 40 Native non-profit leaders in the United States. We prepared and planned the event, facilitated the framing of key issues, and supported the group in reaching conclusions concerning the direction the program should take.

Results: Our staff was able help these American Indian leaders identify the critical results, knowledge requirements, and preferred learning styles for a new Native American Leadership program. The results from the work-shop became the basis for the development of a National American Indian Leadership program.

National Congress of American Indians

Challenge:  Tribal leaders wanted to change the process of tribal, state, and federal policy-making from one of a “reactive, problem-driven” approach to a process informed by research and data. At their request, NCAI launched a national Policy Research Center designed to collect, coordinate, and make available the information, data, and analyses that could serve public policy decisions.

Solution:  Our team facilitated the Strategy Development process for the Center’s Advisory Council. The council created an alternative approach which allowed for the identification of multiple policy options. This approach is characterized by critical debate in Indian Country, especially among tribal leaders.

Results: The resulting work of the Policy Research Center will serve to:

  • Organize existing available data into useful formats to improve its accessibility to tribal leaders, government officials, academics and the public
  • Serve as an information clearinghouse to connect Native institutions through a comprehensive website
  • Connect leading thinkers and institutions so they may develop proactive models for data collection and analysis
  • Identify priorities for research and policy development
  • Educate Tribal leadership, academic entities, Congress, the Administration and the public by publishing and disseminating the results of the Institute’s research

Large Oklahoma Native Nation – Economic Development  

Challenge: The Tribal government was paralyzed. Tribal employees were disillusioned and discouraged. In the preceding ten years, the operating budget had tripled and the number of citizens served more than doubled. Tribal services had deteriorated and had not kept pace with the growing demand.

Solution: The newly elected Chief of the Nation requested assistance to significantly transform the tribal service organization and culture. One Fire assembled an outstanding group of organizational and cultural transformation experts to partner with the Nation’s leadership.  One Fire won a Ford Foundation grant and initiated a four-year project. 

Results: The One Fire team clarified the purpose and direction of the Nation’s government. We redesigned and institutionalized new strategy and planning processes, as well as redesigned the service delivery systems of Health, Education, Housing and Human Services and strengthened Tribal government leadership. One Fire facilitated the creation of an economic development plan that helped the Nation’s business enterprises by increasing their profits more than ten-fold.  Tribal leadership now had the capacity to manage the largest operating budget increase in its history.

Large Alaskan Native Village – Five Year Organizational Plan

Challenge: The Alaskan Native Village is presently in a growth phase and is in need of a comprehensive plan to guide the village forward. Many attempts to create an Organizational Five Year Plan in the past have not succeeded. The Native Village is a traditional tribal government created by Congress in 1949.

Solution:  The One Fire team facilitated the leadership of the Native Village through a step-by-step strategic planning and organization design process.  The approach consists of five phases designed to build a comprehensive organizational plan.  The project entails a review and assessment of the existing governmental organization and each of the eleven departments.

Results: Developed first-ever Native Village Five Year Organizational Plan and 11 departmental plans for the following: Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Gaming, Housing/NAHASDA, Indian Reservation Roads, Realty, Social Services, Tribal Courts, Tribal Operations, Wildlife, Workforce Development, and Economic Development.