New Partnership Formalizes Tribal Emergency Management as Specialized Field of Study


Tribal nations from around the United States will soon benefit from the knowledge of how to prepare for and respond to emergency situations thanks to a first-of-its-kind partnership between the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the Tribal Emergency Management Association (iTEMA), which was formally announced on October 8.

UNO’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) Emergency Services Program and the College of Arts and Sciences Native American Studies Program are partnering with iTEMA, the nation’s leading Tribal Emergency Management Association, to create the country’s first certificate in emergency management designed for members of tribal nations.

“This marks the formalization of an already strong working relationship with the national tribal emergency management association and UNO,” said UNO Emergency Management Coordinator Pat O’Neil. “UNO is uniquely positioned to offer this certificate by having Native American Studies and Emergency Management programs that can work together closely.”

Yesterday's announcement of a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations was made jointly by O’Neil, UNO Sr. Vice Chancellor BJ Reed, iTEMA President Jake Heflin, Osage, and UNO’s Director of Native American Studies Edouardo Zendejas.

“We are excited about this partnership with UNO because it formalizes tribal emergency management services as a specialized field of study,” Heflin said of the agreement. “This is about promoting and enhancing tribal sovereignty and developing future generations of tribal emergency managers and tribal emergency service providers.”

Also in attendance for the announcement will be Ken Tiller, Pueblo of Laguna, vice president and COO of iTEMA; and John Taylor, Squaxin Island Tribe, treasurer and CFO of iTEMA.

“This is an important step to ensure tribes can recover from disasters while ensuring their cultural future,” Taylor said.

“The partnership between UNO and iTEMA provides tribes the ability to perform emergency services for their community on a national level,” Tiller added.

The goal of the certificate will be to provide nationally accredited certification to members of every tribal nation in the country. The memorandum of understanding allows UNO to move forward on establishing the certificate program.

UNO’s Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management degree officially launched in the Fall 2012 semester.

For more information on the partnership or UNO’s Emergency Management degree, contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at 402.554.2129 or by email at [email protected].

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.