Indigenous Planners WorkshopIndigenous planners, presenters and workshop participants gather for a group photo.

An Indigenous Planning Workshop based on Dr. Kristin Ruppel’s “Land Tenure, Human Development, and Economic Well-being on the Crow Reservation” research grant brought together Indigenous planners from reservations around Montana to share their experiences and expertise in a facilitated gathering designed to identify best practices and challenges with regard to Indigenous land planning and tenure.

On Aug. 4, the Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis teamed with the MSU Department of Native American Studies and the Blackfeet Tribe to help build a network among tribal planners, politicians, researchers and professionals in the region.

MSU students interested in working with reservation communities were given the opportunity to connect with Montana tribal professionals and leaders. A new course in Indigenous Economic Development offered in Fall semester 2017 was enriched by the conversations and keynotes presented during the workshop. Likewise, the workshop provided an opportunity to compare ongoing ( IRAEA-supported) research on land tenure issues on the Crow Reservation with similar issues taking place on other reservations. 

The one-day workshop, held at the KwaTaqNuk Resort on the Flathead Indian Reservation, helped participants identify best practices and challenges, contemplate new and creative approaches to address land tenure issues from Indigenous perspectives, and helped create a framework of next steps needed with regard to the roles that MSU faculty, staff and students can play in support of land planning on reservations around the state and region.

Interested participants will become founding members of an Indigenous Planners Network, and will have access to an online Indigenous Planning Information Clearinghouse to be housed under MSU's Department of Native American Studies' new Native Land Project.