In this article, we suggest that graduate programs in predominantly white institutions can and should be sites of self-education and tribal nation building. In arguing this, we examine how a particular graduate program and the participants of that program engaged tribal nation building, and then we suggest that graduate education writ large must also adopt an institutional orientation of nation building. We connect Guinier's notion of democratic merit to our discussion of nation building as a way to suggest a rethinking of "success" and "merit" in graduate education. We argue that higher education should be centrally concerned with capacity building and graduates who aim to serve their communities.
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