Opening Keynote: Dr. Manley A. Begay, Northern Arizona University

Hopes for the Future in the Age of Indigenous Nation-Building: Leadership, Governance, Culture, and Resiliency, Dr. Manley A. Begay Jr., Northern Arizona University - Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development

The Royal Commission Aboriginal Peoples was established in 1991 and its work culminated in a report in October of 1996. It has been nearly 25 years since the RCAP investigated and proposed solutions to the challenges facing Aboriginal peoples. To date, what have been the results? What works? What remains as challenges?

According to research, governance and leadership are keys to successful building of Indigenous nations, therefore, at least with respect to those issues that are under potential Indigenous control, the problems of Indigenous nations are, at their core, problems of self-governance, culture, and leadership. Leadership, governance, and culture are critical tools for Indigenous peoples as they rebuild nations, and for this reason, strengthening Indigenous governing systems strengthens Indigenous peoples. Strengthening Indigenous governing systems is an important step in resisting outside control, asserting jurisdiction, and exercising self-rule. What are the key lessons from Indigenous nations in the United States, First Nations and Bands of Canada, and elsewhere?

Dr. Manley Begay Jr.Dr. Manley A. Begay, Jr., Ed.D.

Professor (tenured)

Department of Applied Indigenous Studies and Department of Politics and International Affairs, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and W. A Franke College of Business, Northern Arizona University

Academic Field

Indigenous Nation-Building: Economic Development, Leadership, and Governance

Education: Curriculum Development, Teaching,
and Learning

Dine’ Studies: Navajo History, Navajo Philosophy,
and Navajo Culture


Current Professional Interests

My major specialization lies at the heart of issues pertaining to Indigenous Nation-Building: Sovereignty, Governance, Culture, Leadership, Education, and Economic Development. My recent work includes executive education sessions and research, with and relevant to First Nations and organizations in Canada and Native nations and organizations in the United States. I also pursue interests in expanding my work and research to include the Navajo Nation, Aborigines in Australia, and Maoris in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Further, I have professional interests in putting theory into practice regarding issues of Indigenous education, Navajo history and philosophy, and development.


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