Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperatives in Navajo Country

Cooperative development in Indian Country has deep cultural roots but is profoundly affected by the complex relationship between Native American traditional practice, complex and scattered legal structures that have been implemented over time, and jurisdictional issues that arise between and among tribal Nations, States and the Federal government. The word “cooperative” is fundamental to tribal land stewardship but without underpinnings of ownership. Looking at cooperative development through a land-use management lens, Josey Foo, executive director of Indian Country Grassroots Support, will provide a legal and historical background and describe how project planning in Indian Country requires an understanding of the legal framework, tribal government and culture, and community needs. The view is to provide information on how creatively structured cooperatives may help fulfill the vision that Tribes have for their communities. The workshop will take the form of Q&As with attorney Therese Tuttle with The Tuttle Group who has deep knowledge of cooperative practice, and with Meegan Moriarty with USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs.

Workshop Outcomes: 
  1. An understanding of the historical legal framework that shaped regulation of land in Indian Country, focusing specifically on the Navajo Nation. 
  2. An understanding of the trend toward Federal recognition of tribal community vision, control, and self-governance as exemplified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Integrated Resource Management Planning Initiative of 1988 and its recognition in The American Indian Agricultural Resource Management Act of 1993. 
  3. Understanding of the challenges in navigating the multiple regulatory frameworks imposed by Tribal, State, and Federal authorities when facilitating business and community economic development in Indian Country. 
Intended audience: attorneys, cooperative developers, project managers, cooperative accountants.

This Webinar will offer MCLE Credit for California.


  • JOSEPHINE FOO is co-founder and Executive Director of Indian Country Grassroots (ICGS), a reservation-based non-profit led by retired Navajo Nation judges, government reformists, and land managers. ICGS serves as organizational home to several programs focused on COVID wellness, health equity for extra healthcare needs families, kinship restoration, and land use simplification. Josey served as attorney in the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, Office of the Chief Justice from August 2006 - November 2014. Josey was responsible for setting up the Judicial Branch grants program and the websites of the court system. She is project attorney for the Small Trust Land User Research Project (now the Diné Land Governance Project) and otherwise provides administrative support to all ICGS programs. From 2000-2006, she was Staff Attorney with DNA People's Legal Services in various offices from the Western to Northern Agencies. A Malaysian immigrant, she worked in a South Bronx carpentry factory and taught at several campuses of the City University of New York in the 1990s. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Brown University (MFA) and Vassar College and is a Sustainable Economies Law Center Fellow, pursuing innovative cooperative formation suitable for Indian Country small trust land users.
  • MEEGAN MORIARTY is the legal policy analyst for USDA’s Rural Business Cooperative Service. She is a national point of contact for information on cooperative legal and tax issues and Rural Development grant, loan, and guarantee programs that apply to cooperatives. She leads a nationwide project researching and comparing state cooperative statutes. Meegan advocates for cooperative development through speeches, webinars, and written publications. Previously she worked in the National Tax office of Ernst and Young tracking and analyzing federal tax legislation and regulations and consulting with clients on business opportunities presented by tax law changes. She has a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA from the University of Notre Dame.
  • THERESE TUTTLE herese Tuttle represents California consumer cooperatives, agricultural cooperatives and worker cooperatives. She also advises clients on business formation and estate planning matters. In 2000, she founded Tuttle & Van Knonynenburg, LLP, a firm focused on cooperative and agricultural law, with her law partner Frank Van Konynenburg; in 2001 the firm successfully defended the 400 members of Tri Valley Growers, a processing cooperative, from claims of creditors in the cooperative’s bankruptcy. Prior to founding the firm, she worked for California Farmers Union and served as Director of Cooperative and Economic Development for National Farmer’s Union, managing cooperative project requests from 23 state-based member organizations. In 2013, she drafted amendments to California’s cooperative law that enabled preferred-share financing and capitalization of cooperatives. She has spoken on this topic at annual meetings of the California Center for Cooperative Development and has been awarded USDA’s “Great Cooperator” Award. She serves on the non-profits committee of the California State Bar Association.


Dues paying members of the Cooperative Professionals Guild receive access to this webinar for free. Not a member? Become a dues paying member of the Guild and you will be automatically invited to this event! Join today by clicking here!

July 22, 2021 at 10:00am - 11am PDT
Oakland, CA
United States
Google map and directions
Camy Seitz-Cherner

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$25.00 General Public
$12.50 Cooperative Professionals Guild Level
Discount for CPG members

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  • Mwende Hinojosa
    published this page in Events 2021-07-09 08:40:54 -0700

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