Tribal Governance in American Indian Country

Terry E. McDonald, Hamline University


Public Administrators seek to synthesize, comprehend, and clarify challenging problems of social progress as it relates to the administration of public services. We must, therefore, think about all forms of governance to have a comprehensive understanding of the discipline. If civilization ignored the prehistory of the past 600 million years, from the Late Precambrian Era through the Mesozoic, there would be a consequential loss of knowledge. A comprehensive understanding would be absent regarding one of the fundamentals in our evolution – life's ability to avoid demise by symbiosis and adaptation. In the same way, we may have overlooked an essential role, the civilization once governed by the indigenous population that preceded the United States. Although there has been a detailed examination of federal, state, metropolitan and local governance, the discipline of public administration has small scholarship relating to tribal governance in American Indian Country. Learning more about this type of governance has the potential to lead to new approaches in the discipline. A new examination of American Indian tribal governance may contribute to a more transparent and accurate window that provides a vibrant and well-defined perspective for the academic discipline.