The Building Strong Sovereign Nations (BSSN) program supports tribal efforts to build strong communities, organizations and governments. The idea of a BSSN program was originally developed by Michigan Tribal leaders who wanted to collaborate with MSU Extension to create a capacity building training curriculum based on the needs identified by tribal stakeholders for current and future generations. 

BSSN participants will engage in discussion relating to the ethics, roles and responsibilities of tribal council, fiscal management in Indian Country, best practices for conducting effective meetings, and gain a historical overview of tribes in Michigan and their interaction with state and federal governments. This program offers workshops based on various aspects of tribal governance but also provides an opportunity for tribal leadership to ask questions and learn how other tribal governments address the issues and concern of their communities. Through this training, tribal leaders are empowered to share their successes and challenges with each other so they are better equipped to make positive changes in their communities.

This year the BSSN program will be conducted in conjunction with the United Tribes of Michigan conference at the Gun Lake Casino, 1123 129th Avenue, Wayland, Michigan 49348. The BSSN program will take place Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 from 1- 5 p.m. (Eastern Time). The cost of the program is $80 and includes printed handouts and supporting materials.

Lodging reservations can be made by calling Bay Pointe Inn at 269-672-8111. The group booking code is UNITM and the rate is $104 plus taxes for lakeside or south side rooms. The Room Block cut off has been extended to Thursday, September, 14.

There will be a $15 cancellation fee for registrations cancelled after Oct. 2, 2017.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information contact Tribal Extension Educator Emily Proctor at or 231-439-8927.