Jenny Bell-Jones, Métis Cree, a professor of Native Studies and Rural Development at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, has used UANative Net to brush up on Indian law.

UANativeNet Provides Training in Tribal Governance and Law

Lee Allen
4/5/12

Whether you want to learn a little or a lot about topics of interest to indigenous cultures, you’ll get any answers you seek on UANativeNet, a locus of learning formerly known as Arizona NativeNet.

Begun in 2006 and re-launched under a new label in 2011, the web-based UANativeNet is a resource of topics relevant to tribal nations and Indigenous Peoples—a virtual university outreach and distance learning telecommunications center devoted to higher education needs of Native Americans throughout the world.

“This is such a unique undertaking,” said University of Arizona research professor Melissa Tatum, associate director of the Indigenous Peoples & Law Policy (IPLP) program, in a story on UANews.org. IPLP is a joint sponsor of the project along with the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy and the UA James E. Rogers College of Law.

Each of the sponsoring partners have earned world-class reputations for developing innovative outreach, applied research, service and training programs devoted to higher educational needs of Native American communities, combining their talents to overcome the digital divide between Native nations and higher education resources.

“We’re all about providing both free information and for-fee classes to tribal nations, students, and anyone else who might be interested in Topics in Brief, informational snippets about a subject, or Topics in Depth, more detailed discussions of matters of interest,” says IPLP attorney Mary Guss. “There are also free videos on the site as well as free scholarly papers on subjects of interest to indigenous students and tribal leaders.”

The goal of the site is providing a broad understanding of tribal and indigenous legal issues to as broad a population as possible. “This is for anyone interested in a non-lawyer’s understanding of federal Indian law and policy,” said IPLP Director Robert Williams Jr., in the UANews story.

Ask Jenny Bell-Jones, Métis Cree, a professor of Native Studies and Rural Development at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks about the capability of UANativeNet as an effective long-distance learning facility: “I am an indigenous law legal scholar with no law degree and my age and financial status made attending law school out-of-state impossible, so I pursued legal studies piecemeal for 11 years. At the end of that journey, I found myself assigned to teach my first Indian law course and needed to get up-to-date in a hurry.  The Indian law course I took through Native Net was invaluable and worked beautifully on all levels.

“In many ways, the course was like a special treat to myself because it allowed me to ‘attend class’ electronically with lectures from Indian legal scholars whom I had admired for years, but would never have had an opportunity to hear in an in-class session.”

For more information on the higher education, multi-functional, outreach and distance-learning telecommunications effort, log on to UANativeNet.com.

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