Banner with text Wabanaki Leadership Institute

The Wabanaki Leadership Institute (WLI) is a new multi-generational, fellowship program that provides emerging and existing Wabanaki leaders an opportunity to gain or enhance critical leadership skills required to provide competent, culturally grounded leadership for the Wabanaki Nations. Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Class. Wabanaki people from across Wabanakeag are encouraged to apply.

The Wabanaki Leadership Institute (WLI) provides existing and emerging Wabanaki leaders an opportunity to gain the skills and resources needed to provide competent service to their peoples and nations. Whether they are spiritual leaders, government leaders, policy makers, academics, health professionals, artists, or public media makers, the WLI provides leaders with valuable tools and resources that support the development and potential of our fellows.

The WLI is a two-year fellowship program that provides intergenerational leadership training for members of the Wabanaki Nations. There are two primary goals of the program. The first is to create well-trained, competent, and culturally grounded leadership for the Wabanaki Nations. The second is to establish a network of leaders who are experienced at working cooperatively to advance the interests of all Wabanaki Peoples. To meet these goals, we have developed a two-part program that provides a year of intensive learning, followed by a year of practical experience.

Fellows will receive training in the following areas: Traditional Wabanaki Governance, Core Cultural Values, Native Nation Building, Environmental Responsibility, and Culturally Relevant Economic Development. In addition to these core classes, participants will also learn about contemporary legal issues facing Indigenous Peoples, and the history of interactions between the Wabanaki Nations and State and Federal Governments. Participants will also learn key practices and protocols for engaging the current political system. Instructors will be brought in from around Indian Country to teach participants in each of these areas. This will include, Tribal Historians, Traditional Wisdom Keepers, Elected Tribal Chiefs and Representatives, Attorneys, Educators, and Economic Development Directors, who have noted experience and demonstrated success in their individual areas of service.

During the second year, participants will choose a community service project using a traditional consensus model, to create or improve a program that meets a critical need in one of the Wabanaki communities. Participants will be guided through the creation of a strategic plan, outlining short and long-term goals, staffing ,and funding of the selected project.

Wabanaki Leadership Institute – 5717 Corbett Hall, Room 203, University of Maine, 04469 / 207-581-4459.

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Walking with Honor for all those who have come before us, and all those who will follow


Fellows will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated Leadership Capacity
  • Demonstrated Service to Community
  • Base of Cultural and Traditional Knowledge
  • Community Support
  • Commitment to meet ALL of the requirements of the Program
  • Certification of Citizenship in a recognized Wabanaki Nation


  • Applications will be accepted until December 15, 2019.
  • Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of individuals from each of the Wabanaki Nations, and a pool of candidates will be selected for in-person interviews.
  • Fellows for the 2020 Class will be announced on January 17, 2020.
  • New Fellow Orientation will take place on February 1-2, 2020.
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