FAIRBANKS — Nation building among Alaska Native communities and organizations will be the focus of a three-day Tribal Government Symposium, which begins at 8 a.m. today at the Westmark Hotel, according to University of Alaska Fairbanks spokeswoman Leona Long. 

“A growing number of Native Alaskan communities are engaged in nation building,” said Jessica Black, an associate professor of Alaska Native studies, rural development and tribal management. “We are going to look at how native nations can increase their capacity to have self-determined, sustainable governments.” 

The symposium is hosted by a partnership between University of Alaska Fairbanks, Tanana Chiefs Conference, and the University of Arizona’s Native Nations Institute. 

Black said Tuesday and Wednesday’s events will center around keynote addresses, followed by roundtable discussion panels. There will also be time for mingling and networking in between events. The Thursday session will include a work session to apply the topics from keynote addresses toward practice. 

On Tuesday, Stephen Cornell, faculty chair at the Native Nations Institute, will give a keynote address focusing on how other indigenous communities are nation building around the world, and how these lessons can be applied to Alaska. 

On Wednesday, Richard Peterson, who is the president of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, will give a keynote address titled “Leading in the Traditional Way: Integrating Traditional Knowledge and Culture into Modern Tribal Governance Structures.” 

“The symposium will examine how healthy Alaska Native tribes benefit all Alaskans and provide opportunities for students to learn about current issues facing Alaska and its more than 200 federally recognized tribes,”  Black said in a UAF news release. “The Tribal Government Symposium provides a unique academic arena for stakeholders to have meaningful conversations about how to integrate traditional values into modern leadership.” 

IF YOU GO

What: The Tribal Government Symposium 

When: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday

Where: The Westmark Hotel. 

Details: People must register to attend the event at tribalmgmt.uaf.edu/gov16/register-4-tgs-16 or register upon arrival.

To see the agenda go to: tribalmgmt.uaf.edu/gov16/agenda

Contact staff writer Kevin Baird at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcity.