University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy graduates

2014 graduates of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, with 1953 JD alumnus Judge Lawrence Huerta. IPLP is offering new Indigenous Governance degrees, in partnership with the university's Native Nations Institute.

University of Arizona Law Adds Native Nation Building Degree Program

Continuing Education, Master's Programs for Tribal Leaders, Administrators, Attorneys

Two of the University of Arizona’s internationally recognized programs that focus on serving the higher educational needs of Indigenous peoples—the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program at the College of Law and the Native Nations Institute (NNI) at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy—have teamed up to offer a new certificate and master’s degree in Indigenous governance, law and policy. This new programing allows students to earn university credits and builds substantially on the executive education program the partners have offered since 2012.

The Indigenous Governance Programs (IGP) at the University of Arizona are designed to provide the latest research, knowledge and expertise in the emerging field of Indigenous governance to Indigenous leaders, frontline administrators, tribal attorneys, government policymakers, academics and others interested in master’s level executive education. Taught by a renowned faculty of leading scholars, experts and practitioners in the fields of Native nation building and Indigenous peoples law and policy, the IGP offerings now include a six-unit, non-degree Continuing Education Certificate (no undergraduate degree required for this option), a 12-credit Professional Studies Certificate, and a 30-credit Masters of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in Indigenous Governance. Separate enrollment in one or more courses is also permitted. By combining intensive live classes with distance learning options, the IGP certificates and master’s degree maximize student flexibility in pursuit of an individualized study plan.

A special three-week session called “January in Tucson” is the centerpiece of the IGP, offering students a unique set of opportunities to learn and to forge meaningful connections with an internationally recognized faculty of experts and their fellow students. Among the courses to be offered in January 2016 are:

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Under International Law, taught by James Anaya, former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Regents’ and James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights and Policy at the University of Arizona
  • Law, Policy, and Economic Development in Indian Country, the definitive course on Native Nation Building taught by Joseph Kalt, one of the scholars whose groundbreaking research produced the Nation Building principles, and the Ford Foundation Professor (Emeritus) of International Political Economy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Comparative Legal Systems and Their Role in Nation Building, taught by Robert A. Williams, Jr., the E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, and author of Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization
  • Comparative Indigenous Governance, co-taught by Stephen Cornell, director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona, and co-founder of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
  • Evidence for Indigenous Governance Principles, taught by Miriam Jorgensen, research director for both the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona and editor of the seminal book Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development
  • Native Economic Development, an offering co-taught by Miriam Jorgensen and Joan Timeche, executive director of the Native Nations Institute and a former director of Arizona Native American Economic Coalition.
  • IGP will also offer distance-learning courses, internship opportunities, a thesis option and supervised independent study, all for credit toward certificates or a Master’s degree in Indigenous Governance.

The faculty members have worked with Native nations and indigenous communities in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Africa and Asia and is truly unique in its qualifications, explains Ryan Seelau, manager of the Indigenous Governance Programs. 

“Professors Kalt and Cornell are the unquestioned leaders in the field of Native nation building; Professor Williams is a leading legal scholar who literally wrote the book on federal Indian law and has been instrumental in bringing the principles of Native nation building into the legal context; and Professor Anaya is a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who is recognized around the world for his work on Indigenous peoples’ human rights. Dr. Miriam Jorgensen is widely known for her research on how the principles of Native nation building can be used to strengthen meaningful self-determination and sustainable economic and community development for Indigenous peoples and their communities.”

Seelau also notes the unique setting offered by IGP’s January in Tucson session: “Tucson is in the heart of Indian Country here in the desert Southwest. Students who come to Tucson in January will find plenty of opportunities outside the classroom to visit local Native nations, enjoy our beautiful desert landscape, and even play golf or enjoy some time at our nearby world class tribally run resorts during the weekend and after our daily class sessions end.”
IGP courses will be offered for Continuing Legal Education credits for attorneys interested in attending the January in Tucson session. A limited number of scholarship stipends based on financial need are available for individuals interested in any of the programmatic areas.
For more information about the Indigenous Governance Programs, including how to apply, visit the website at:, or contact them via e-mail at:


About The Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program (IPLP)
Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program of the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law is world renowned for its expertise and advocacy in the field of American Indian and indigenous peoples law, policy and human rights. It is the only law school program in the world offering all three graduate degrees in the field. For more information and application instructions for IPLP’s JD, LLM and SJD degree programs, visit
About the Native Nations Institute (NNI)
The Native Nations Institute is part of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. An outgrowth of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, it was founded by the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation and the University of Arizona and serves as a self-determination and self-governance resource for Native nations worldwide as they pursue their own political, economic, and community development objectives. For more information, visit