Technical Assistance


As a primary component of our mission, NPTAO engages in community/economic development projects with Native communities and functions as a resource conduit between Arizona's Native constituents and the diverse and talented cadre of university professional, academic, and graduate student personnel. Additionally, NPTAO consults with outside professional and technical experts to provide cutting edge technical assistance from a diverse array of resources.  If you are interested in learning more about collaborating with NPTAO, or are seeking connections to technical resources, please contact Claudia Nelson at

Listed below are examples of NPTAO technical assistance projects.  To find out more, click on the associated links.

Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program (IPLP) and NPTAO in collaboration with the San Xavier Allottees Association

In 2012, after extensive consultation, IPLP and NPTAO entered into a memorandum of agreement with the San Xavier Allottees Association to provide highly specialized legal expertise in estate planning and will writing under the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) for San Xavier District members/allottees. Recognizing the importance of the program and the potential impact in helping to remedy extreme land fractionation issues at San Xavier District, the Arizona Law Clinical Program in AIPRA Estate Planning was established.  The goals of the program were to train law students in the complexities of estate planning under AIPRA and the sensitive cultural issues that are present when working with allottee/clients. IPLP Staff Attorney Mary Guss developed the clinial program and provided the AIPRA expertise, training, and supervision for the program.  Law students gained highly specialized practical experience in a real-world setting.  NPTAO and IPLP are appreciative of the support recieved from the San Xavier Allottees Association staff and board members. 

To learn more about the American Indian Probate Reform Act click here:  AIPRA Topic in Depth.

Click for a free download of the book American Indian Probate Reform Act: Writing Wills for Tribal Clients, by Mary Guss.


In addition to the estate planning program with the San Xavier Allottees Association, NPTAO has hosted several conferences on the University of Arizona campus. For more information, see: 

American Indian Probate Reform Act: Writing Wills for Tribal Clients (2017) 

Indian Trust Lands: AIPRA, Probate, & Cobell (2015) 

Cobell Settlement Land Buy-Back Program (2014)

Kiosk/Taqatski Project

The Kiosk/Taqatski Project was envisioned to bring economic and community development opportunities through enhanced tourism infrastructure to Hopi villages and Navajo chapters along Arizona state and tribal transportation corridors. Click Kiosk Projects to learn more. For a short video of Kiosk designs, click: Kiosk Designs

The Drachman Institute Telemedicine Prototype Facility Planning & Design Project for Arizona Rural Tribes

NPTAO and the Arizona Telemedicine Program commissioned the Drachman Institute to develop a Telemedicine Prototype Facility for rural tribes in Arizona. One of the ways that access to healthcare can be expanded to areas with limited or no access to medical care is through the provision of telehealth and telemedicine services. Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical healthcare, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include video conferencing, the internet, store and forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications. The Drachman Institute developed a comprehensive report and prototype designs for a telemedicine and telehealth facility for Arizona rural tribes. Click Telemedicine Prototype Project to learn more.

The Drachman Institute has gained a reputation for excellence, experience, and commitment to providing culturally relevant planning and design services to Native nations and communities. Click Drachman Projects to learn more about the Drachman Institute's work in Indian Country. 

Teesto Chapter

Since 2005, NPTAO has partnered with the Teesto Chapter, Navajo Nation, by providing funding and expertise to supply the chapter CLUP (Certified Land Use Planning) Committee with renderings of a "dream community," representing rehabilitation of the chapter's basic infrastructure and moving the difficult land withdrawal process to the next level - community vote. Click Teesto Chapter to learn more.

USDA Research on Food Assistance

From 1998 through 2009, NPTAO and the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona worked with scholars at tribal colleges and other institutitions to support analyses of the unique issues and challenges faced by Native Americans with respect to loss of traditional life ways, food assistance and commodity programs, and nutrition-related health issues. Click here to learn more.