Sustaining the Circle: Returning Indian Nation Governance to Traditional Principles: Particular foci on Southern Ute, Comanche and Navajo Nations


  • Stephen Sachs


Today, a great many Indian Nations are struggling to overcome inappropriate forms of government that were directly or indirectly imposed by the U.S. government. These alien modes of governance conflict with traditional tribal culture and values, causing ineffective governance, and contributing greatly to community disharmony. Among the most interesting recent and current attempts to improve tribal government are the application of an inclusive participatory community planning process by the Southern Utes of Colorado, Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, in the 1990s, and the ongoing process of government development at Navajo Nation. These efforts, along with those of a number of other Indian nations, involve movements to reinvigorate traditional values into tribal political institutions, in ways that are appropriate for the conditions of the current and unfolding era.