NAPLP Program

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The Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) at the George Washington University provides academic scholarships with funding from AT&T for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students to experience an introduction to the nation’s capital and opportunities to study the public policy decision-making process, governmental functions and politics in a democratic society. 

Buff decorative lineProgram at a Glance

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Study Applied Politics

NAPLP is a full scholarship program for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian graduate and undergraduate students to study applied politics. 

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Semester Long

The semester-long program is offered through George Washington University, located in Washington, D.C. 

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Internship Opportunities

Students also have internship opportunities in places such as a congressional office, national tribal organization or a federal agency.

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New Knowledge 

NAPLP students gain fresh perspectives, knowledge and skills about the political process and community organizing. They feel better prepared for leadership roles in their communities, nationally or globally.

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Deadline: March 1, 2020

Summer 2020 Program Dates:
June 1-July 24, 2020

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NAPLP is open to undergraduate and graduate students, including those who have completed their undergraduate degree but have not yet enrolled in a graduate program. 

Students take two core courses and may take an elective course and live in on-campus housing on GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus.  Students also have the opportunity to have an internship in places such as a congressional office, national tribal organization or a federal agency and to develop lasting connections with a cohort of Native American students from across the country. Students have extensive opportunities to interact with decision-makers in national policy and with leaders of Native American advocacy organizations.  

NAPLP students are required to enroll in the two core courses of the program and may take an elective course. The two core courses may be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit.

Core Courses

  • PMGT 4101: Electoral & Legislative Processes
    “Elections and Congress” is intended as an introduction to the United States Congress. It will explore several themes including how Congress has evolved over time, both in its internal institutional organization as well as in its relationship to the other branches of the federal government; how individual members of Congress operate within this changing institutional landscape; and the “macro-trends” concerning polarization that have emerged over the past several decades.  
  • PMGT 4192: Tutorial in American Politics and Elections
    “Nation to Nation: Native Politics from Courtrooms to Communities” provides an overview of the historic and current intergovernmental relationships between Indigenous people and the United States government and explores how federal Indian policy is formed.  Students work in small groups to develop strategic plans for organizing around key issues that affect Native American communities.

Elective Course

  • PMGT 4107: Practicum in Political Management
    “Behind the Campaign” explores all of the machinery of a political campaign.  Students will take on an individual role, with its responsibilities, as a member of the campaign staff; participate, as a team, in a press conference; write a campaign plan; and make a power point presentation to a panel of judges to determine which plan would most likely lead to electoral success.

NAPLP funding was made possible from generous contributions from AT&T and grants from the AT&T Foundation.

  • NAPLP scholarships are awarded to students based on academic ability, leadership potential, and an interest in politics.
  • Students from all tribes and from every part of the United States are welcome to apply.
  • There is no application fee for applying to NAPLP.

What does the NAPLP scholarship cover?

  • Tuition and fees for the two core classes, plus an optional third course (up to 9 credit hours total)
  • Housing in a GW dormitory
  • A stipend for books and living expenses, paid in two installments
  • Airfare to and from Washington, DC (one round-trip ticket)

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All students participate in an internship in Washington, DC. Students will work with our team to find an opportunity that fits with their professional goals. NAPLP partners with many congressional offices, federal agencies and tribal organizations to place students in internships related to Native policy and politics.

Internship Sites 



Students learn from faculty members with first-hand knowledge of applied politics, tribal issues legal topics and related areas.

Students benefit from the knowledge of current and past faculty members, as well as guest speakers.

Faculty Bios 


Milanovich Fellowship

NAPLP applicants can also apply for the Richard M. Milanovich Fellowship. If selected, Fellows will attend a special week-long seminar consisting of briefings with key policy makers, issue advocates and community leaders in Washington, D.C. The fellowship honors the late Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indian Tribal Chairman Richard M. Milanovich.

More Info

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Current Students & Alumni

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NAPLP Summer 2018 students in Washington, D.C. 

Currently there are two groups of NAPLP students studying at GW per calendar year, during the spring and summer semesters. They are accomplished students who seek to maximize their opportunities for study, internships and networking while they are in Washington, D.C. and utilize their unique experience after they finish the program.

Student Profiles

After more than ten years, NAPLP alumni have become engaged in activities, practices, and professions that have a direct, positive, and lasting impact on the lives, fortunes and futures of Native communities.