Project Reports

2009
2009. Constitutions and Fundamental Government Reform: Lessons in Excellence in the Governance of American Indian Nations. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

A collection of Honoring Nations reports focused on governmental foundations: Osage Nation Governmental Reform Initiative Northwest Intertribal Court System Elders Cultural Advisory Council Choctaw Tribal Court System Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council Old Law & New Law Together.

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2006
2006. Review of the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS) . See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development was selected by the First Nations Centre at the National Aboriginal Health Organization and the First Nations Information Governance Committee to conduct a review of the Longitudinal Regional Health Survey (LRHS). The LRHS was designed and fielded by representatives of First Nations to assess the health needs of adults and children living in First Nations communities. The survey, the first of its kind in Canada, is being conducted under the First Nations’ principles of ownership, control, access, and possession of health data. This report summarizes the results of an independent review of the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey for 2002/2003 (2002/2003 RHS), undertaken for the First Nations Information Governance Committee (FNIGC), a standing committee of the Chiefs Committee on Health (CCOH), and the First Nations Centre (FNC) at the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). The FNC at NAHO was mandated by the Chief’s Committee on Health and the First Nations Information Governance Committee to coordinate and act as data steward for the 2002/2003 RHS.

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2005
Joseph P. Kalt and Jonathan Taylor. 2005. American Indians on Reservations: A Databook of Socioeconomic Change Between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

This study compiles 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census data on Native Americans residing on reservations and in designated Indian statistical areas in the lower 48 U.S. States. Gaming and non- gaming areas are compared to each other and to the U.S. as a whole. Data on fifteen measures ranging from income and poverty to employment and housing conditions indicate that, although substantial gaps remain between America’s Native population and the rest of the U.S., rapid economic development is taking place among gaming and non-gaming tribes alike.

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Katherine A. Spilde, Joseph P. Kalt, and Leigh Gardener. 2005. Annotated Bibliography: The Social and Economic Impacts of Indian and Other Gaming. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

In its final report to Congress and the President in 1999, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) concluded: Only a limited number of independent studies exist regarding the economic and social impact of Indian gambling. This is an area greatly in need of further research. (p. 6-14) In an effort to assess the current state of gambling and Indian gaming research, while also evaluating the vast array of methods that researchers have employed to assess gamblingís impacts, we have compiled an extensive database of gambling impact studies. While we cannot claim to have captured each and every study that has been published, we have attempted to reflect the multiple and contentious issues commonly raised in current gambling policy debates. The studies outlined herein address a host of public policy issues, ranging from tax considerations, to the prevalence of problem gambling, to the social impacts of gambling. 

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2005. Large Foundations' Grantmaking to Native America. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

American Indian communities are in the midst of a 30-year period of rejuvenation, economic growth, and social and cultural reconstruction termed the “Self-Determination Era,” which has been motivated in part by the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the SelfDetermination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 93-638), but more fundamentally driven by Native Americans’ desire to exercise their sovereign rights. In the early 1990s, Native Americans in Philanthropy commissioned two studies of large foundations’ philanthropy to Native American causes and concerns, the first by William Brescia and the second, covering a later period, by Roslyn LaPier (see Endnote 1). These studies identified the amounts, sources, and targets of large private foundations’ investments in Native America, as a means of both acknowledging and promoting grantmakers’ engagement with Native communities in self-determined community change.

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Miriam Jorgensen, Carrie Garrow, Stephen Brimley, and Stewart Wakeling. 2005. Strengthening And Rebuilding Tribal Justice Systems: Learning From History And Looking Towards The Future (Executive Summary). See Executive Summary (PDF)Abstract

Findings of the process evaluation of the CIRCLE project, a comprehensive community program aimed at strengthening tribal justice systems. (Executive Summary)

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Miriam Jorgensen, Carrie Garrow, Stephen Brimley, and Stewart Wakeling. 2005. Strengthening And Rebuilding Tribal Justice Systems: Learning From History And Looking Towards The Future . See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

In 1998, several agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a partnership with three Indian nations – the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni – to strengthen the tribes’ justice systems. Through this initiative, called the Comprehensive Indian Resources for Community and Law Enforcement (CIRCLE) Project, the federal partners provided the tribes with incentives and opportunities (streamlined and coordinated federal funding for justice functions was the primary one) that helped them consider how the individual components of their tribal justice systems (courts, police, corrections, and other programs) might work together to strengthen their approaches to pressing crime and social problems. This collection of documents comprises the first (process) phase of the CIRCLE Project evaluation. The combined process and participatory qualities of this evaluation phase generate a complicated set of products. It includes a cross-site analysis, which focuses on the opportunities, accomplishments, and continuing challenges for both the tribes and the federal government; a description of the federal planning and implementation process; and process-oriented summaries of each participating tribe’s implementation work. 

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Miriam Jorgensen and Jonathan Taylor. 2005. What Determines Indian Economic Success?. View Publication (PDF)Abstract
2004
Joseph P. Kalt and Joseph William Singer. 3/2004. Myths and Realities of Tribal Sovereignty: The Law and Economics of Indian Self-Rule. View Report (PDF)Abstract

This study explores legal and economic dimensions of current perceptions of (and debates over) the nature and extent of tribal self-rule in the United States, with the objective of distinguishing between myth and reality. The authors address key threads of thought and assumptions that pervade, accurately or inaccurately, discussions in the public policy arena. What emerges is a picture in which tribes do exercise substantial, albeit limited, sovereignty. This sovereignty is not a set of special rights. Rather, its roots lie in the fact that Indian nations predate the United States. While their sovereignty has been diminished, it has not been terminated. Tribal sovereignty is recognized and protected by the U.S. Constitution, legal precedent, and treaties, as well as applicable principles of human rights.

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2004. A Case Study: Harnessing Resources, Creating Partnerships | Indian Gaming & Diversification by the Tulalip Tribes of Washington. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

Through the various provisions of the Stevens treaties, the Tulalip Reservation—which was expanded by Executive Order in 1873—is now home to members of the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skagit, Suiattle, Samish and Stillaguamish tribes and allied bands.7 The current tribal government at Tulalip is organized under Section 16 of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. 8 Today, the Tulalip Reservation covers roughly 23,000 acres, over half of which is held in trust by the federal government on behalf of the Tribes. The Tulalip Reservation possesses considerable natural resources, including marine waters, tidelands, fresh water creeks and lakes, wetlands, forests, and developable land.9 The location of the Reservation—close to a major transportation artery (Interstate 5), a short distance north of Seattle and adjacent to Marysville, Washington—also has proven to be a major benefit, as is now evident in the available market for the Tribes’ gaming and retail enterprises. 

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2004. The Context and Meaning of Family Strengthening in Indian America. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

Among professionals and scholars who focus on the wellbeing of children, it is widely recognized that children do not do well unless families do well, and that families do not do well unless communities do well. These straightforward observations have motivated much of recent innovation in family policy and form the explicit or implicit centerpiece of the efforts of leading non-profit actors concerned about child and family well-being. As implemented by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, for example, the interconnectedness of children, families, and communities manifests itself in programs and strategic initiatives clustered under the term “Family Strengthening.”

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2004. A Case Study: Indian Gaming and Community Building | A History of the Intergovernmental Relations of the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

The Mohegan Tribe of Uncasville, Connecticut, thrives today because of its highly profitable Mohegan Sun Casino Resort. Upon achieving federal recognition as an American Indian tribe through the Bureau of Acknowledgement and Research of the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1994, the tribe negotiated a tribal-state gaming compact with the State of Connecticut, purchased property with trust funds, and began to work with the neighboring towns on future economic development initiatives. In 1996, the Mohegan Tribe opened its Earth Casino, which had immediate success. In 2002, the Sky Casino was completed; the Mohegans since have welcomed thousands of visitors to the facility on a daily basis. The Mohegans’ achievements are largely attributable to a unique set of historical circumstances, optimal geographic location, and the ability of the Mohegan Council, tribal representatives, and citizens to establish and nurture mutually beneficial relationships with their nonAmerican Indian neighbors. 

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2003
Miriam Jorgensen and Jonathan Taylor. 2003. What Determines Indian Economic Success: Evidence from Tribal and Individual Indian Enterprises. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

Prior analysis of American Indian nations' unemployment, poverty, and growth rates indicates that poverty in Indian Country is a problem of institutions- particularly political institutions- not a problem of economics per se. Using unique data on Indian-owned enterprises, this paper sheds light on ont of the core institutions of enterprise success- corporate governance.

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2002
Joseph Kalt, Jonathan Taylor, and Kenneth Grant. 2002. Public Policy Analysis of Indian Gaming in Massachusetts | A Report to the Government of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) . See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

Representative Daniel E. Bosley has recently recirculated his 1997 memorandum reporting the results of his investigation into the public policy of casino gaming in Massachusetts, particularly of Indian gaming. 1. The memorandum raises many important considerations regarding the potential impacts on the State of Massachusetts of an expansion of gambling offerings within the state. We have undertaken a systematic review of the relevant literature on the impacts of Indian gaming, including a study by Deloitte & Touche describing a Wampanoag casino proposal, 2. to assess the extent to which Representative Bosley’s memorandum appropriately assesses these impacts. We conclude that while the 1997 Bosley Memorandum asked a number of relevant and important public policy questions, the evidence available in 2002 no longer supports its conclusions. 

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Eric Lamont. 2002. Report on Best Practices in Developing Effective Processes of American Indian Constitutional Reform. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

The Executive Session on American Indian Constitutional Reform is a national working group of constitutional reformers from 12 American Indian nations and leading academics. The Executive Session meets twice a year to rethink strategies for strengthening tribal constitutions and constitution-making processes. This report is aimed at Indian nations planning constitutional revision. It highlights best practices in developing effective processes of constitution-making and revision, an issue of pressing concern to a growing number of American Indian nations reexamining their constitutions. The ideas and conclusions in this report emerged from the May 9-11, 2002 meeting of the Executive Session at Harvard University, “Launching Effective Processes of Reform and Maximizing Citizen Participation and Education.” 

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Katherine A. Spilde. 2002. A Case Study: Cultivating New Opportunities | Tribal Government Gaming on the Pechanga Reservation. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

This case study of Indian gaming’s genesis and development on the Pechanga reservation highlights the profound changes made possible by a coordinated strategy of nation building and economic development in Indian Country. It also highlights the profound influence of coordinating intertribal political and economic initiatives. Examining one tribe’s particular experience with Indian gaming also provides insight into the ways that federal and state policies actually “play out” at the tribal level. 

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2001
Stewart Wakeling, Miriam Jorgensen, and Susan Michaelson. 1/2001. Policing on American Indian Reservations: A Report to the National Institute of Justice.Abstract
Crime is increasing dramatically in Indian Country, but little is known about how such factors as culture, geography, and economy affect law enforcement policies and practices. The superficial description of Indian Country law enforcement shows a rural environment with rural-style policing, but these communities have a "government-to-government" relationship with the United States. While members of different tribes vary widely, most Indian nations face severe social and economic problems. The study was conducted by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. It began with a literature review and visits to several Indian police departments and the Indian Police Academy in New Mexico. It included a two-part survey distributed to Indian police departments and intensive site visits to four reservations. The study concluded that there is a crisis in reservation policing, including: (1) high turnover and poor employee morale resulting in a lack of well-qualified and experienced officers; (2) flawed basic departmental management; (3) inadequate budgets, fiscal mismanagement, and even corruption; and (4) undue political interference in police operations. Suggested remedies for these problems include increased tribal control over tribal institutions, demotion of Federal agencies from decision makers to advisors and providers of technical assistance, and creation of workable, nation-specific community policing institutions and approaches informed by traditional customs.
Eric Lemont. 2001. “Developing Effective Processes of American Indian Constitutional and Governmental Reform: Lessons from Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Hualapai Nation, Navajo Nation and Northern Cheyenne Tribe”. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Over the past several decades, numerous American Indian nations have been revising their constitutions to create more legitimate, effective and culturally-appropriate governments. However, successful processes of reform have been hindered by a variety of universal challenges, including political obstacles to changing the status quo, difficulties in achieving effective citizen participation and insufficient mechanisms for resolving conflict. Drawing from the recent constitutional and governmental reform experiences of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the Hualapai Nation, the Navajo Nation, and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, this paper discusses how four American Indian nations addressed these challenges.

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Joseph Kalt. 2001. Policy Foundations for the Future of Nation Building in Indian Country. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract
Eddie F. Brown, Leslie S. Whitaker, Melinda Springwater, Stephen Cornell, Miriam Jorgensen, Michelle Hale, and Ami Nagle. 2001. Welfare, Work, and American Indians: The Impact of Welfare Reform.Abstract
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996(PRWORA) ushered in a new era of welfare programs in America. PRWORA and related legislation specifically addressed the needs of American Indian tribes. In this report we review the key features of the welfare reform legislation as it applies to American Indians and Indian Country, assess – to the best of our ability with currently available information – its impact on Indian nations and its chances of achieving its goals, and identify key issues that demand attention if welfare reform is to succeed on Indian lands.

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