The George Washington University is home to more than 80 centers and institutes conducting cutting-edge research in science and technology, public policy, and the arts and humanities. Together they embody the University’s dedication to discovery, scholarship and service.
To further AT&T CIPP’s mission, a robust research agenda explores major topics of national scale to raise awareness of critical issues and use findings to develop policy solutions. Current analysis of politically significant issues facing indigenous communities, includes public health, adequate housing, economic security, and education, among others. AT&T CIPP promotes its’ research agenda by:
- Engaging researchers, scholars, writers, and educators in the dynamic field of Native American Studies;
- Developing partnerships with tribes, tribal organizations, universities, institutes, and other institutions and learning from each other;
- Conducting research using culturally appropriate methods and practices rooted in respect and reciprocity.
Through a partnership with the GW Paralegal Studies Program, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Walker River Paiute Tribe, the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, this project examines both barriers and pathways to justice in the tribal court system.
Sovereign tribal nations and their citizens face severe, systemic barriers to justice ranging from complex jurisdictional battles to a shortage of rural lawyers. Using its research findings, AT&T CIPP is developing an educational curriculum to help tribal advocates, both Native and non-Native, navigate the courtroom and the daily use of law.
The researchers learned that while nonlawyer tribal advocates provide much needed access to justice on Native American reservations, there is no code or tribal, federal or state regulations governing these advocates. Levels of competence and ethics vary widely; in some cases, advocate representation has been more of a liability than having no representation at all.
While some tribal advocates are members of the tribes in which they work, many are not. This, coupled with historical attitudes and misconceptions about Native peoples, has led to a lack of cultural awareness that is particularly acute as tradition, tribal values, social norms, and history play critical roles in justice and indeed drive the very definition of justice in tribal communities.
In collaboration with tribal leaders and law professionals, AT&T CIPP created the “Code of Tribal Court Advocate Ethics, Professionalism, and Cultural Competency” in Fall 2010 as a response to these issues. The document provides a basis for ethical and professional integrity and cultural understanding among tribal advocates. When implemented, the code sets clear expectations and imparts a higher level of commitment, performance, and cultural awareness, resulting in increased engagement and access to justice while preserving individual tribes’ customs and cultural values.
Researchers presented the Code and other findings at the National Congress of American Indians Tribal Leader / Scholar Forum in 2018 and at the Institut des Amériques in Paris, France in October 2019.
If your community would like more information about the code and how to implement it in your tribal court system, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our research team.
Native American women, girls, and LGBTQ+ individuals experience sexual violence, murder, and abduction at astonishingly high rates. AT&T CIPP identified the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis as its primary research intervention for AY 2020-21 and created the “Safest States for Native Women” study to evaluate state and regional disparities in rates of violence against Native women.
The study provides a comprehensive report of national scale that compiles evaluative metrics of Native women’s safety across hundreds of criminal jurisdictions in all 50 states. Researchers translated data into a scoring system, and the final report ranks all 50 states’ approaches to Native women’s safety, ultimately identifying which states are most and least safe for Native women today.
With support from the American Indian College Fund and Native Americans in Philanthropy, AT&T CIPP launched the
Guide to Indigenous DC, an educational walking tour app featuring modern and historical sites of significance to Native peoples across the Nation’s capital. The Guide has been downloaded more than 2,000 times and has been featured by The Washington Post, Matter of Fact TV with Soledad O’Brien, and Indian Country Today. It is free and available to the public through the Apple iOS app store.
The Guide is a fantastic resource for the millions of tourists, teachers, and students who visit Washington, D.C. every year, encouraging them to remember the importance of Indigenous peoples to our shared national history while raising awareness of the modern presence and contributions of Indigenous peoples today.
Guide to Indigenous DC was created in collaboration with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, and AT&T CIPP consulted with several Indigenous leaders throughout the development process to ensure an inclusive, accurate portrayal of Indigenous historic sites in the District. This work is supported by Native Americans in Philanthropy #GenIndigenous Response Fund at the Minneapolis Foundation.
The Indigenous America University Seminar creates a space for scholars, tribal leaders, and tribal policy professionals to convene and discuss Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian politics, governance, and nation-building. Participants, observers, and stakeholders exchange ideas on the latest academic research and how practicioners can translate policy into real actions that support tribal sovereignty. Seminar meetings in the past have informed AT&T CIPP's development of accessible digital learning tools for the public, such as the Guide to Indigenous DC walking tour app.
AT&T CIPP led a panel of nationally-recognized Native American experts at the first-ever national conference on Indian boarding schools. The conference, “The Spirit Survives: A National Movement Toward Healing,” was held by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the location of the Carlisle Indian School.
Indian boarding schools emerged in the late 1800s as a mass effort to assimilate Native American children into White Euro-American society. In the words of General Richard Henry Pratt, founder and superintendent of the Carlisle Indian School, these institutions aimed to “kill the Indian... to save the man.” Separated from their families and culture, students of these institutions were forced to abandon their language, spirituality, and identity and instead conform to Christianized, English-speaking versions of themselves. Underfed and overworked, countless Native children suffered long-lasting emotional and physical trauma while living and laboring in awful conditions. Countless more perished at the hands of teachers or illnesses.
On the panel, titled “Rethinking, Repurposing, and Reclaiming Indian Boarding Schools,” panelists discussed their experiences and strategies to approach this multifaceted issue while balancing community reconciliation, historic preservation, repatriation, education, and public engagement.