The Bush Foundation’s seventh cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders met for the first time in Prior Lake, MN. The 22 tribal citizens share a passion for learning about governance and other nation-building practices. Over the next two years they will share strategies and insights to make a brighter future for Native people across the region.
“The program showcases some of the highest impact investments we’ve ever made. When we talk about how the Foundation supports great ideas and the people who power them, I think of Rebuilders as perfect examples and expressions,” said President Jennifer Ford Reedy.
The new cohort includes representatives from education, law enforcement, health care and economic development. “This year’s Rebuilders bring a wide range of experiences, relationships and vision to the cohort,” said Jaime Pinkham, Vice President for Native Nations. “We're excited to see how the program can encourage each of them to create even stronger networks and deepen leadership skills.”
Rebuilders represent ten distinct nations and are committed to advancing change for their nations and people. “I have always been a believer in gaining more knowledge and using it to pay it forward," said cohort member Melissa Bowstring (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe). "I hope to inspire and support others to succeed in life.”
The Foundation created the Native Nation Rebuilders Program in 2010 after elected tribal leaders from the 23 Native nations that share geography with Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota called for committed community leaders to help with nation-building work. Since it launched, the program has selected 128 Rebuilders from 20 Native nations in the region.