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Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy

The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy (IIPP) is a think tank, operated through the Soul of Nations Foundation’s Indigenous Policy Network Initiative, that will provide a platform for young Indigenous voices to lead as a catalyst for conscious thought, inclusive discourse, and policy reform to impact Indigenous nations and communities through youth-led research initiatives that focus on human rights, governance, and environmentalism. The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy will be an advocate for youth in development policy, and for the further implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy will rely on an extensive network of partners connected to Tribal, federal, and state governments, as well as a host and key opinion leaders to work with groups of rising progressive political leaders and millennial professionals, as well as policymakers and analysts, throughout the Americas and Africa; thus ensuring the formation of a dedicated and passionate team with high intellectual capital. The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy will aim to lead the development of public policy and guided strategic implementation to benefit Indigenous nations within the Americas and around the world. Research and policy fellows will be tasked with developing, advancing, and promoting public policies to improve the effectiveness of nations’ governance and institutional responses to the changing social, economic, political, and cultural environment.
We have a four-point plan for impact in the Indigenous policy space: (1) Act as advocates for the empowerment, aspiration, and interests of Indigenous communities through the formation, implementation and evaluation of policy for those nations, and for governments and community organizations; (2) Conduct proactive research into acute and long-term policy and legal issues with Indigenous nations, institutions and community partners; (3) Generate capability-building revenue by completing contract work in line with our values, capacity, and mandate for impact (4) Influence Indigenous policy affairs at all levels of government in the general and regionally-specific interests of Indigenous nations and communities.
To connect ideas and political action, the Indigenous Progressive Policy will continue to rely on an extensive network of partners. We are currently assembling a Founding Advisory Board comprised of community leaders, researchers, and policy influencers who will share their knowledge, time, guidance, and contribute significantly to the strength and impact of the Institute.
Howard University will administer all African and North American research initiatives and projects to be devised by a youth-led cohort both in the United States and in Kigali, Rwanda with local partners to focus on policy areas affiliated with human rights, governance, and environmentalism. The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs will liaise with youth-led focus groups in South America for research initiatives and projects to combat community issues related to human rights, governance, and environmentalism. The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs will also govern youth-led focus groups in both the Americas and Africa to spearhead the publications program which will include a discussion paper series, a working paper series, and a bi-annual manifesto that addresses the State of Indigeneity. These publications will discuss aspects of research relating to contemporary issues with progressive solutions with various supplemental forms of media.
Incorporated in 2016, the Soul of Nations Foundation has a four-year track record of successful Indigenous youth programming in three continents for lower- and middle-income Tribal communities. Our level of organizational expertise for positive youth development was enhanced by partnerships with Tribal and non-Tribal governments, policy-making and opinion leaders, academic research institutions, and like-minded grassroots organizations; all of which are key influences on shaping policy decision making and youth-led initiatives that ensure the possibility to collaborate and connect authentic community voices with key policymakers and influencers.
Outside of Indigenous political organizations, activists, or academics, there is no international entity that provides an evidence-based, non-partisan, and community-first perspectives to the discussions, thus impairing Indigenous communities’ ability to organize and mobilize to protect their rights. The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy aims to address this gap through the guided implementation of progressive reform strategies.
For too long, the relationship between Indigenous communities and the Western world has been characterized by inertia: the same old, paternalistic and racist policies and the corresponding apathy and neglect. Yet, the resistance of Indigenous peoples continues to grow, and today, there is a universal acceptance that change is required. The challenge is ensuring that the direction of change is progressive. The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy can play an important role here by thoroughly examining government policy, advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples, and creating innovative models of change that support Indigenous sovereignty, land, and education.

Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy

Indigenous communities, peoples, and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions, and legal system.
Policy development and delivery must include all affected parties and be based on real dialogue and cooperation between government agents and local Indigenous elders and community members. There is a common agreement that success requires bottom-up, culturally appropriate, local engagement, rather than short term, top-down, centrally designed, and imposed models.
The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy will be headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda with field operations in Lima, Peru, and San Fransisco, California. The branches will emphasize the importance of assisting Indigenous communities throughout the Americas while also focusing on similar issues that Indigenous communities face in parts of Africa, Australia, and Northern Europe to promote cross-cultural organizing.
Through a Fellowship Program, Public forums, research conferences (both in-person and virtual), and publications, the Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy will offer unique opportunities for young professionals focusing on international relations. Selected fellows will have the opportunity to broaden their perspective of Indigenous affairs either by pursuing research or working in a policy-oriented setting through exploring questions of impact and effectiveness when discovering the ways in which insights may reach and inform diverse audiences of knowledge makers and knowledge users including policymakers, Indigenous communities, organizations, and academic institutions. The publications program will include a discussion paper series and a working paper series. In addition, a bi-annual manifesto addressing the State of Indigeneity will discuss aspects of research relating to contemporary issues with progressive solutions with various supplemental forms of media.
Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy will be committed to widely disseminating its research outputs through print and electronic publications. Web-based communication strategy and electronic publications programs will deliver research outputs promptly and freely to a wide audience. The Institute’s website and social media channel (Twitter) will be the primary methods of communication and information dissemination and will contribute significantly to widespread knowledge and impact. All of the Institute’s research, policy analysis, and community resources will be released online, downloadable, and readily archived for free public access.
The Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy will be the world’s first think tank that is solely dedicated to international progressive policy reform; futurist theory; and the proliferation of various art forms to catalyze change within Indigenous nations and communities. We will lead the discourse on tribally-driven, informed policy-making by translating research and policy analysis into applied knowledge; creating partnerships between academia and Indigenous communities; serving communities via innovative capacity-building initiatives; and providing a policy-minded platform for Indigenous voices on a global scale.
We envision the Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy to become a center where eager Indigenous scholars can come together to research, strategize, and organize movements for progressive change in their respective communities and our world at large. Through galvanizing diverse intellectual human capital, Indigenous progressivism can drive our world forward. To this end, we aim to cultivate long-term partnerships, grounded in reciprocity to prioritize community needs. We are also committed to offering supportive mentorship to students, with the intent of training the next generation of Indigenous leaders. And with critical policy analysts and researchers to support Indigenous self-determination.
To this end, we hope to be advocates youth in development policy for wealth equality and for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people while bringing balance to the perspective provided on the international stage through a Progressive Indigenous Caucus. We will focus on the empowerment of the Indigenous community by facilitating avenues for voices on international forums, through grassroots efforts.
Soul of Nations Foundation Rwanda Office KG286 Street, Nyarutarama, Kigali, Rwanda rw@soulofnations.org
Ernest Christoph Hill, Institute Coordinator ernest@soulofnations.org
Strategic Focus Areas: Human Rights, Environmental Protection, and Governance 
Tentative Timeline:

Development: Spring 2021

Program Implementation: Summer 2022

Related News

A downloadable concept note for the Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy is available for interested partners, patrons, and researchers.  

Programs & Activities

The wondrous works of Taytianna Harris serve as the visual inspiration for the Institute for Indigenous Progressive Policy 

Soul of Nations Foundation, Inc.

Email: info@soulofnations.org              

Phone: +1 202.643.2164

© 2020  Soul of Nations Inc.

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