Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development Summer Fellowships

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development hosts summer fellowships that support the priorities of Native nations and help students learn about, and contribute to the advancement of, good tribal governance. Because Native nations are active in all aspects of self-determined governance, they often have to develop expertise in a comprehensive set of policies and departments to address: access to resources; the persistence of economic barriers that hinder the advancement of tribal nations and individuals; development of tribal codes and regulations; interactions with non-tribal jurisdictions such as states, and the federal government; the need to nurture tribal culture and traditions; and a range of other concerns that are essential to the strengthening of native nations.  

This fellowship is open to all Harvard graduate students, including those graduating in 2022. Summer fellows will receive a stipend of $8000 to cover travel, living, and other expenses. 

Applications are due by March 3, 2022

Apply here

Summer 2022 Prospective Projects 

Project 1: The Establishment of a Tribal Secured Transactions System

Agency: The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes 

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes seek to engage a student to help develop preliminary documents for a Tribal Secured Transaction Systems (TSTS).  TSTS are Tribal statutory laws that protect both the lender and the consumer through formalized lending agreements.  Tribal commercial laws and transaction codes can help tribes more effectively achieve the goal of economic development when they are both culturally attuned to the Tribes’ traditional values and are harmonized with the laws of the states and the Tribes.  When adopted and implemented, TSTS support and strengthen tribal sovereignty, facilitate commercial finance transactions, and help encourage a flourishing private economy throughout reservation lands.  

Project 2: Economic Development through the establishment of a Cannabis Enterprise

Agency: Shinnecock Indian Nation and Little Beach Harvest 

The Shinnecock Indian Nation seeks a fellow to assist the Nation’s interest in advancing its Cannabis Economic Development Project.  This project is expected to set a foundational framework for other much-needed development projects for the Shinnecock Nation.  A critical component of this initiative will be the partner Cultural Sensitivity Training, which will focus on establishing a deep appreciation of the Shinnecock Nation’s history and cultural values for their business partners.  The fellow will work with the Shinnecock Nation and all other stakeholders to design and implement an enduring model for this social and economic development program with a strong emphasis on building financial literacy and financial empowerment in the broader Shinnecock community.  Ultimately, the synthesis of Tilt Holdings’ cannabis operational expertise and the Shinnecock Nation’s social and economic priorities will be the focus of this effort.

Project 3: The Development of Bid Bonding as a Financial Tool for Canada’s First Peoples

Agency: National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association  

The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) is a membership-driven national association for a network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) that offers to finance First Nations, Métis, and Inuit businesses and communities. They seek a fellow who will assist in (1) understanding the barriers and processes that limit Indigenous business’s ability to become bonded as a requirement for some contracts in the procurement sector.  Currently, Indigenous businesses have no access to a bid bonding service that can address the unique legal status faced by Indigenous businesses (e.g. Section 89, Indian Act); (2) investigating why major financial institutions in Canada have not been able to adopt alternate methods to bid bonding that could address this gap that limits Indigenous businesses to be bonded and be eligible for more complex procurement projects; And, (3) identifying alternate approaches to bid bonding (e.g., letters of credit) to expand the number of procurement contracts awarded and how they can be utilized in the procurement supply chain.  

Project 4: Understanding the Health and Wealth Connection in Native Communities

Agency: Roanhorse, LLC 

This project is centered on research and practical application into the connection between health and wealth in Native communities.  It will focus on centering family economics and health to understand the impact of wealth on health and vice versa.  Core to the work will be balancing western approaches with indigenous knowledge and value systems and being part of Roanhorse’s ongoing efforts to support the development and implementation of several national projects working to increase access to capital for Native-led organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs.