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UMD's Tribal State Relations Program Honored

July 7, 2016

UMD's Tribal State Relations Training Program awarded for outstanding work.

News Release — For info contact Lori Melton,, 218-726-8830.

The Tribal State Relations Training program, created by UMD's Continuing Education and the Department of American Indians Studies in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), will be honored with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ State Government Innovation Award. The award will be presented on Thursday, July 21, 2016, at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul from 4–6 pm. 

“From its inception, the goal of the Tribal State Relations Training program has been to build respectful relationships between state and tribal governments. Many people worked hard to develop this training. It is very gratifying to have the program recognized by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs,” said Roxanne Richards, director of UMD’s Continuing Education. 

To date over 1,300 state agency employees have received the Tribal State Relations Training. In the second half of 2016, it is estimated that an additional 325 state agency employees will receive this training.

Continuing Education staff and MnDOT employees worked closely with Professor Tadd Johnson, director of UMD’s Master of Tribal Administration and Governance (MTAG), and Ed Minnema, who at that time was an assistant professor in the Department of American Indian Studies, to develop the training program. Minnema is now the executive director of Human Resources at Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

“One of the things that has made this program successful, and was one of the guiding principles in creating the project, was that we worked in collaboration with American Indian Nations. We asked Tribal leaders what non-Indian people needed to know and then matched that with the specific information needed by various state agencies. Sharing information and perspectives is what has made this program strong,” said Johnson. In addition to teaching, Johnson is an attorney with over twenty years’ experience, a tribal court judge, and a tribal administrator. He is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. 

The Tribal State Relations Training program was established in response to Governor Mark Dayton’s 2013 Executive Order 13-10, which mandated that employees of state agencies consult with the 11 sovereign tribal nations in Minnesota on matters of mutual interest. Many state agency employees, however, had little knowledge or tools on how to implement such consultations. 

About UMD Continuing Education 
UMD Continuing Education’s mission is to be a provider of high quality learning solutions. They use a collaborative approach to develop innovative, relevant programs that address the learning and development needs of professionals, organizations, and the community. Visit the Continuing Education website.

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