Indigenous Political Science Short Course

Watch the official short course greeting from Representative Debra Haaland, (D-NM)

2019 APSA Short Course Details

SC06: Indigenous Political Science: Opportunities for Innovation and Inclusion

Miriam Jorgensen
Half Day, 1:30-5:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Maryland A Room

In the wake of the #noDAPL movement and of the 2018 U.S. election, in which Native politics played a prominent role, Indigenous people, Native nations, and tribal governments should be more visible than ever in political science. Yet many political science scholars feel unprepared to take on research that addresses or includes Indigenous political issues and Indigenous policy—and scholars that do take on these issues can feel sidelined by the discipline. This short course is offered as an antidote.

Designed for anyone (from the U.S. or around the world) interested in conducting research that includes Indigenous peoples and their political concerns, as well as for those already engaged in such research, this course creates an opportunity to learn from practitioners about their research needs and from established scholars about research and publication possibilities. It places Indigenous politics squarely within the discipline of political science with the goal of encouraging more scholars, departments, and journals to embrace and include tribal, Native, and Indigenous topics and research.

Opening: Welcome to Territory and Introduction to Native Nation Civics (40 minutes)

The half-day short-course will open with a welcome by the Piscataway people, on whose ancestral territory Washington, DC is located. Following the welcome, the session hosts will offer a brief educational presentation on Native nation civics addressing, for example, what tribal governments are, how they relate to settler governments, and what collective rights Indigenous people have. The material in the presentation grounds the short course discussion; it also provides college and university teachers with information about how to incorporate Indigenous peoples’ issues into their classes.

Panel 1: Indigenous Politics—A Conversation with Practitioners (70 minutes)

In a moderated session, tribal elected officials, governmental staff, and advocates will discuss their roles and the political science research that would help them in their work. The session is intended to be both applied and scholarly, so that political scientists can learn more about real-world Native politics (including information about conferences and meetings where they can continue to learn about Indigenous politics), practitioners can learn about resources within the political science field, and all will gain an increased understanding of the importance of Indigenous community-driven, participatory research.

Panelists: Moroni Benally, private consultant, PhD candidate in political science, and former candidate for president of the Navajo Nation (; Frank Ettawageshik, Executive Director, United Tribes of Michigan (; Mary Nugent, 2018-19 American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, Office of U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (NM), and PhD candidate in political science, Rutgers University

Moderator: Rudy Soto, Legislative Director, National Indian Gaming Association, and past American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow (

Break (10 minutes)

Panel 2: Indigenous Politics within Political Science (60 minutes)

This panel offers a wide-ranging discussion about the “place” of Indigenous political studies within the field of political science. The panellists, all established scholars in the field, will discuss why Indigenous politics are a critical aspect of political science generally. They will highlight connections between research questions in Indigenous politics and various subfields of political science (e.g., where Indigenous questions fit in to comparative politics, American politics, methodology, public policy, etc.). And, they will provide specific examples of how work on Indigenous issues informs the broader field.

Panelists: Laura Evans, Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington (; Raymond Foxworth, Vice President, First Nations Development Institute (; Raymond Orr, Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma (

Moderators: Miriam Jorgensen, Research Scientist, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and Research Director, Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona (; Richard Witmer, Chair, Indigenous Studies Network, and Professor, Department of Political Science, Creighton University (

Talking Circle: Opportunities for Established and Emerging Scholars (60 minutes)

Hosted as a talking circle, in which both invited speakers and session attendees have the opportunity to listen deeply and respond with information and ideas, this session focuses on how students, young scholars, and established scholars can become more engaged in Indigenous political science. Initial invited statements will address placement options for publication, how some more senior scholars have made a shift toward this field, and the kinds of support younger scholars may need. It will transition through the talking circle format into a wider-ranging discussion among participants on the topics of the day, including how to link practical needs with research, why Indigenous politics actually are and should be central to the disciple, and how established scholars across the discipline can support students and younger colleagues with an interest in the field.

1st comments:   Kirsten Matoy Carlson, Associate Professor, School of Law, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Wayne State University (; Gabe Sanchez, Professor, Department of Political Science and Director of the Center for Social Policy, University of New Mexico (; Andrew Curley, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (; Jean Schroedel, Professor of Political Science, Claremont Graduate University, (

Circle hosts: Danielle Hiraldo, Senior Researcher and Outreach Specialist, Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona (