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Scheduled Program
About the Certification Program
Certification Process
Testing Information
Adjunct Faculty
Maintaining Your Certification


Date: Not scheduled at this time.


The Tribal Governance Certification Program demonstrates a commitment to the strength and success of your community. An effective council or board member is ethical, dedicated and fiscally responsible. You're required to know your role, responsibilities and liabilities. You need to understand an audit report, know how to use performance measures to evaluate executive staff and realize ways to expand your funding base.

We've distilled the information from five of our most popular governance classes into one program that will leave you with all the essential information you need to serve as a productive board or council member. After passing an online assessment, you'll be awarded a certificate verifying that you've demonstrated an understanding of the skills and knowledge necessary for effective governance. Regardless of your daily roles and responsibilities, this unique certification program will give you the confidence and knowledge to make the right decisions for the members of the community you serve.

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
The Basics of Tribal Governments
  • Tribal sovereignty
  • Structure of typical tribal governments
  • IRA charters
  • Functions of tribal governments
  • Tribal officers and their roles
  • Tribal constitutions
  • Ordinances vs. amendments
  • Resolutions
  • Bylaws
  • Referendums
  • Limits on the power of government
  • Self-determination or self-governance?
Tribal Council Responsibilities and Functions
  • Role of the council
  • Council effectiveness
  • Policymaking
  • Organizational and program planning
  • Funding
  • Organizational continuity
  • Council member rights
  • Purpose of committees
  • Standing and special committees
  • What makes a committee effective?
  • How to present information to council
Council Member Liability
  • Potential liability in Indian Country
  • Standard rules of liability
  • Compensation
  • Use of organization's funds
  • Insurance
Financial Responsibility and Accountability
  • Asking the right questions
  • Which documents to review
  • Ensuring transparency
  • Understanding your bookkeeper's duties
  • Using competent financial expertise
  • Internal controls
  • OMB's "Super Circular"
  • Sample budgets and procedures
  • Diversifying and expanding the funding base
  • Ensuring accountability and results
  • Selecting the right auditor
  • Working with an auditor
  • Single Audit compliance
  • Reading and understanding the auditor's report
Using Performance Measures to Evaluate Executive Staff
  • Who is "Executive Staff"?
  • Due process
  • Sources for standards
  • Providing feedback
Working with the Finance Director/CFO
  • CFO's critical roles
  • What to look for in a CFO
  • Recruiting, interviewing and hiring your CFO
  • Can you trust your CFO?
  • CFO/Council interactions
  • What's reasonable to expect?
  • When the board disagrees with the CFO
  • Criteria for evaluating the CFO
Working with the Finance Committee
  • Why have a finance committee?
  • What does a finance committee do?
  • Who serves on the finance committee?
  • Role in the annual audit
  • Role in strategic planning
  • Do your bylaws call for a finance committee?
Enhancing the Government-to-Government Relationship
  • History of federal Indian law
  • Understanding sovereignty
  • Self-Determination
  • P.L. 280
  • Federal agencies and state officials
  • Working effectively with state officials
Expanding your Funding Base
  • Grant resources
  • CFDA grant categories
  • Federal and private funding
  • Leadership styles
  • Managing conflicts
  • Dealing with troublesome board members
Effective Meetings
  • Key elements of an effective meeting
  • Roles of council members in meetings
  • Checklist for more effective meetings
  • Parliamentary procedures
  • Minutes of the meeting
Ethics and Standards of Conduct
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Use of influence
  • Nepotism
  • Confidentiality
  • Personal behavior - impropriety
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Use of tribal property


Become certified by completing these simple steps:

The Falmouth Tribal Governance Certification Program can also be delivered as an Onsite Program for organizations seeking to certify at least seven participants. To discuss onsite training opportunities, please call Falmouth at 800-992-4489, ext. 119.


To receive your Tribal Governance Certification, you must pass the online qualifying exam.*

*Testing accommodations are available to those with a documented disability. Please contact Basla Andolsun at 1-800-992-4489 or basla.andolsun@falmouthinstitute.com to discuss your particular situation. You must request accommodations when you register for the Certification Program for accommodations to be guaranteed.


Falmouth takes pride in its exceptional faculty. We only work with outstanding trainers who have years of specialized Indian Country experience and who are experts in their fields. You can expect your instructor(s) for this program to deliver top quality training suited to your unique needs as a leader in tribal governance.


Your certification is valid for one year from the date it is issued. To maintain certification, you must:

Because tribal governance leaders need to be well-versed in all arenas of civic life, any Falmouth Institute class (2 or 3 days) related to governance, finance, human resources, law, education, social services, housing, cultural and natural resources, law enforcement or construction qualifies you for re-certification.