Solution Overview

Solution Name:

CRM curricula for tribal colleges.

One-line solution summary:

This project will provide free curriculum to tribal colleges to develop certificates or degrees in cultural resource management.

Pitch your solution.

Historic preservation both on and off reservations is a vital component of tribal governance. Tribal homelands may overlay present federal and state lands, and thus under federal and sometimes state law tribal consultation is required. Tribes have developed departments and tribal historic preservation offices (THPOs) in many places to address historic preservation interest and concerns. These offices often do a great deal more and handle matters of language revitalization, food sovereignty, treaty rights, among other central aspects of tribal governance and administration. However, only 1 out of 32 tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) offer a certificate (or even courses) in this vital area of research and practice. Preliminary research among TCU faculty and deans has indicated there is a great interest in developing such offerings at TCUs. 

What specific problem are you solving?

According to the NPS of the 567 tribes only 205 have established THPO offices as of May 2021.  A few tribes have elected to not form a THPO office but rather handle consultation through a cultural resource department which has certain legal implications but may simply better suit the needs of the tribe at that time. Native students who attend tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) enjoy the benefits of learning about and being part of a community that is centered on Native cultural lifeways. Preliminary research with deans at different TCUs has shown there is great interest in developing certificate and degree programs in historic preservation. These students would then be able to go on in either forming or joining their respective tribe's historic preservation department. This solution would provide these students with excellent employment in their communities. Such programs would also provide valuable professional skills in research and writing as well as teach students about topics in federal Indian law, intellectual property law, environmental law, and historic preservation law, all of which may be relevant to other professions. Another central concern in the field of CRM is a lack of Indigenous perspective that is voiced in the reports. 

What is your solution?

A CRM curriculum that provides students at TCUs with knowledge and skills in the field of historic preservation and introduces them to the newly burgeoning scholarship around Indigenous perspectives in that field would provide students with valuable credentials to do important work in their communities. The curriculum would include syllabi for courses that covered such topics the NHPA and its process and criteria, NAGPRA, CRM report writing, grant making, administrative processes for forming a THPO and carrying out the work of a cultural department, best practices in consultation with federal or state agencies, tribal archives and museums, intellectual property and tribal law development,language revitalization and programming, Indigenous perspectives, tribal governance and nation building, among other topics. The development of this curriculum would involve research relevant to different communities served by TCUs as well as case studies from Indian Country. Depending on resources and Covid-related policies, additional videography work may be conducted within particular communities. It would likely also entail Zoom meetings with TCU administration and the tribes they serve so that the curriculum is developed collaboratively. This curriculum will necessarily serve other vital areas such as language revitalization. 

Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit?

TCUs are special educational institutions in that they serve the needs of their respective communities. I plan to conduct outreach to all TCUs if awarded this fellowship to offer this assistance in curriculum development. Initial responses from some deans have been very receptive and encouraging. I have twelve years of experience working on collaborative projects with tribal governments in this field and other areas. This project will similarly work collaboratively to understand what TCUs need to better serve their communities and students in the development of this kind of curriculum. Possible methods for incorporating an Indigenous perspective into the curriculum will also be explored. Providing space for cultural knowledge holders to attend classes and provide lectures or even developing videography for specific TCUs are possible ways of rooting these classes in specific cultural and historical contexts. This collaboration will also seek to develop internship opportunities for students. 

Which dimension of the Fellowship does your solution most closely address?

Increase access to jobs, financial capital, and skill development opportunities

Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

Directors of cultural departments and THPOs are often "jack of all trades." Historic preservation work within tribal governments often involves a significant range of issues from archaeological sites and homeland mapping projects to language and traditional food. These departments sometimes act as IRBs and thus play a major role in ensuring research is relevant, non-exploitative, and provides benefits. CRM work within this context touches on a wide range of topics including technical reports of archaeology but also judicial decisions. First-year college students may particularly benefit from such a program that will incorporate and celebrate Indigenous perspective.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Birmingham, AL, USA

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model.

Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

Some outreach to TCUs on this project has already occurred. I have a wide range of resources available that will be used in the curriculum after having taught a range of courses in American Indian Studies over the past 8 years.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Matthew Schwoebel

Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your primary delegate.

Chowanoke descendant

Is your primary delegate a member of the community in which your project is based?

More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Describe what makes your solution innovative?

Access to education that is rooted in cultural lifeways is vital work in Indian Country. In response to Covid the work of TCUs to provide such education can be bolstered by developing curriculum and providing opportunities to develop skills, internship opportunities, and remote access to cultural knowledge holders. 

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Video, drones, seed technology, GIS, and traditional tools and sporting equipment of various communities. 

Provide evidence that this technology works. Please cite your sources.

The Salish Kootenai College certificate has been a major success and other students could benefit from similar course offerings and credentials. 

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Robotics and Drones

Does this technology introduce any risks? How are you addressing or mitigating these risks in your solution?

Any work within communities will be carried out in collaboration with THPOs, cultural departments, or other tribal government designees. Ownership of produced materials will be retained solely by the tribal government under a written and signed agreement. A confidentiality agreement will also be developed.

What is your theory of change?

In many instances tribes have not yet developed offices to handle historic preservation interest and associated rights. In cases where such offices do exist outside archaeologists many times run these offices. Tribal members who gain skills and knowledge of this area of work would have opportunities to work in their communities on these important projects.

Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 4. Quality Education

How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Depends on the number of students who enroll in the certificate program but long term the possible reach and benefit of the program could be far-reaching in tribal communities. 

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and -- importantly -- how will you achieve them?

5-7 TCUS first year and each year after. A five-year plan of work will be developed through consultation with all TCU admin in the first year. Fort Berthold Community College will likely be one of the colleges that this project will work with during the first year. 

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Complete curriculum plans will be submitted to 5-7 tribal colleges each year until the project is completed. Outreach will be completed within the first year. Bimonthly meetings will occur to provide college and tribal admin with progress updates. 

What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Outreach will need to be made and financial resources acquired for the technology aspect of the work and allow me the necessary time to develop the program. 

How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

Perform outreach and secure funding. 

About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Not registered as any organization

How many people work on your solution team?

1 part-time staff, myself 

4 advisors in the fields of education and CRM 

5 local contractors 

How long have you been working on your solution?

6 months

Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

I hold a PhD in Native American Studies. My dissertation investigated the operations of the Hopi THPO. I also held an internship with the tribal office through which I spent several years attending meetings a gaining a strong understanding of the work. My colleagues and advisors have extensive experience in the field of archaeology, education, and tribal governance. I have worked professionally for two years in the field of CRM. 

What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

This project is basically to work as a curriculum development consultant. My background in collaborative research I think will be helpful in completing this work.

Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)
Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

I have worked with Native students for almost a decade and I understand well the importance of TCUs in the communities they serve. I also understand well the burden placed on THPOs and tribal cultural departments. I know the challenges they face and the innovative strategies they have employed to address obstacles in their work. I want to help students to gain the necessary skills and legal and other expertise in historic preservation work to help those students interested in the work to carry it out as effective champions for their communities. 

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)

Please explain in more detail here.

I have worked as a consultant for some years with different tribal governments. I have extensive experience in outreach and consultation. Some of the technical tools that will be of use for marketing and properly monitoring expenses would be of very helpful. 

What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

TCUs and their deans in Native Studies programs; tribal governments and their historic preservation designees; NCAI; Association on American Indian Affairs; National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers; Indian Law Resource Center; Indigenous People’s Law and Policy Clinic at the James E. Rogers College of Law,; Algonquin Consultants, a Native-owned CRM firm that specializes in collaborative research; Cultural Heritage Partners, a D.C. based law firm that is the only firm in the country to specialize in historic preservation. 

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The ASA Prize for Equitable Education? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI For Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

Solution Team

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