As the westernmost Indian reservation in the lower 48 states, the Makah Reservation was established by the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay. Historically, the Makah lived in large, extended family longhouses organized in coastal villages and drew their sustenance in large part from the sea. First contact between Makah people and non-natives began in the 1790s with devastating and long-lasting effects. The Makah were not only besieged by disease and epidemics that resulted in great population loss, but eventually their language fluency and culture were greatly diminished by the establishment of Bureau of Indian Affairs' schools. But in the 1970s, the nation turned a potential crisis to its advantage through the establishment of the Makah Cultural Education and Revitalization Program. It serves as a hub of the community, as well as steward of a world-class museum collection. By claiming and caring for the treasures of its ancestors, the Makah Nation ensures the cultural viability of its people.
Recognizing the links between promoting a strong economy, maintaining positive cultural connections, and having the ability to own a home, the Umatilla Housing Authority promotes the Wapayatat Homeownership: Financial, Credit & Consumer Protection Program. The seven-week course provides asset building and saving strategies, while generating awareness about predatory lending practices. The Program also assists citizens in developing financial literacy skills using culturally grounded curriculum, bringing the dream of homeownership closer to reality. Under the Umatilla Individual Development Account (IDA) program, the Confederated Tribes provide a savings-match incentive, giving tribal citizens up to 3 years to successfully close a home loan. As citizens build and own homes on tribal land, wealth is accumulated and the community, economy, and the Tribes are strengthened.
The Hopi Child Care Program facilitates parents' access to high quality child care when demands of work or educational pursuits require them to be away from home. Understanding the importance of early childhood development coupled with the need for culturally appropriate care, Hopi citizens now have the ability to better provide for their families. The Program gives parents the security of knowing their children are safe, while providing affordable and accessible channels to ensure their wellbeing. As the Hopi Tribe affirms, “Children are our greatest resource. How they are treated as young children impacts the future of the Hopi Tribe.”
For many years, the Hopi Tribe has seen education as a critical tool in its effort to ensure the survival of its people while at the same time preserving its own way of life. Over the years, the Tribe has made major strides in education, and now there are an increasing number of citizens attending college. Yet, many Hopi students struggle with the costs of higher education. At the urging of citizens from the various tribal villages, the Hopi Tribal Council established the Hopi Education Endowment Fund to provide financial assistance for education to Hopi students of all ages. Organized as a tribally chartered non-profit corporation, the Fund is an innovative form of community investment that also supports the Tribe's self-governance. By investing in the human capital of Hopi's greatest resource its citizens the Fund promotes the Hopi concept of “Sumi'nangwa”, coming together to do things for the benefit of all.
For years, the state of Maine lacked appropriate procedures for identifying Native children in child welfare cases. Contrary to the intent of the Indian Child Welfare Act, Maine also failed to recognize Native nations' sovereign rights in such cases. Seeking to assert the tribe's right to help determine its children's futures, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians formed a Department of Indian Child Welfare Services. In turn, the Department developed a strategy to gain the respect of state child welfare authorities and to establish collaborative working relationships. In 2002, the Band and State signed an MOA establishing their partnership. Today they both make appointments to a Child Protective Team that manages placements and services for Maliseet children. Through culturally and family appropriate solutions, the team's work has drastically reduced the number of children in out-of-home-care situations. Together, the Houlton Band's programs, policies, and intergovernmental collaboration support families, improve government-to-government relations and reclaim the tribe's future its children.
Located in the Banning Pass between San Bernardino and Palm Springs in southern California, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians has worked to address low academic achievement and high dropout rates among its high school students since the early 1990s. Despite the Band's economic successes, few citizens finished high school or attended college. In 1991, with concern among elders and parents mounting, the Band began to offer tutoring services on a small scale. Today, the program has grown beyond offering tutoring services only; it now works in partnership with the local school district and is a complete life skills program that helps students grow as learners, giving them the tools necessary to achieve the academic success they want. Absenteeism is down, graduation rates are up, more people are enrolling in college, and students are testing at or above district levels in all grades. The Morongo Band has transformed the educational experience for its children, creating lasting benefits for the Band and its people.
Navajo community leaders describe the methamphetamine phenomenon as a tidal wave that is overwhelming the entire community. The Navajo Nation police force estimates that 60% of all crimes committed on the reservation are methamphetamine related. In 2006, national news focused on the Navajo Nation as three generations were arrested together for use, distribution, and manufacturing of methamphetamine. Taking a proactive stance on policy issues, options, and recommendations in the areas of prevention, treatment, and/or enforcement, the Methamphetamine Task Forces actively combat the tidal wave of destruction within their communities. Drawing upon education, community involvement, cultural philosophies, and collaborations to address the burgeoning crisis, the Task Forces incorporate participation from elders, youth, recovered addicts and current users, law enforcement, health officials, and policy makers to embrace ‘The Beauty Way of Life,’ to systematically fight what many view as the most dire crisis in recent history.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians have long depended on the fish that live in Red Lake, the sixth largest body of freshwater in the United States. Both the waters and walleye of the lake are central to the Red Lake Band people, its history, economy, and culture. But by the mid-1990s, the walleye population had collapsed from over-fishing. Taking drastic but necessary action, the Band negotiated a consensus arrangement with local fishermen and state and federal officials to ban fishing in the lake. Over a ten-year period the fish recovered at an astonishing rate. The tribally led Red Lake Recovery Project now determines when, how, and who can fish the historic waters from which the Band claims its name.
Recognizing and acting upon the belief that safety for Native women is among their highest priorities, leadership from Native nations joined with Native and non-Native grassroots coalitions and organizations over 500 entities in total to create an ongoing national movement educating Congress on the need for enhancing the safety of Native women. Formalizing their affiliation through the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the coordinated efforts led to the 2005 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Act includes financial resources and protection for Native women, a first in the history of the VAWA. Now, tribal governments are better situated to combat the scourge of domestic violence present in Indian Country and mark a return to more traditional modes of honoring family and community.
For years, limited on-reservation housing options forced citizens of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to look elsewhere to live. Taking action to solve this problem, the Tribe encouraged private lenders to offer mortgages on trust land and to offer terms and rates similar to those available off the reservation. A critical component of this solution was the creation of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Land Title and Records Office, which keeps all records and verifies all titles pertaining to trust lands, replacing the BIA's much slower and more cumbersome process. As a result, private mortgage lending has increased, there is a housing boom on Saginaw lands, and economic development options that were simply impossible before have emerged. Most importantly, citizens are moving back home.
The Winnebago Community Development Fund is helping to build a better future for its nation by establishing a framework for community development based on the goals of the government and its citizens. To overcome revenue shortfalls that many rural communities face, the Winnebago Tribe creatively implemented a tax and designated tax proceeds for the building of a fund intended to support community activities and infrastructure. Administered through a tribally-chartered, non-profit organization, the Fund provides matching grants for projects that positively impact the community. By earmarking tax revenues and establishing well-designed procedures for project selection, the Winnebago Tribe better fulfills essential governmental responsibilities with steady funding and efficient and effective administration.
A unique partnership between an urban Indian center and a tribal government, the tribally funded Community Center serves nearly 500 Menominee tribal citizens living in the greater Chicago area. The Center and the tribal government work together to ensure that all of its citizens are actively involved in tribal affairs by organizing trips to the reservation, providing full electoral rights for off-reservation citizens, and by holding official tribal legislature meetings at the Center.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A revolution is underway in Indian Country as American Indian nations increasingly take back control over their own affairs and take responsibility for reshaping their futures—efforts that are leading to unprecedented economic success and the alleviation of poverty. Significantly, this success does not appear to be tied directly to the Native nations' asset bases or market locations. Instead, it is tied to their invention of a new approach to economic development, which the authors term the “nation-building approach.” This paper compares the “standard approach,” long supported by the U.S. government and by some Indian nations, to the nation-building approach. The two approaches are very different, and they have led to dramatically different outcomes. The standard approach has four leading characteristics. It is short-term and non-strategic; it lets outsiders set the development agenda; it treats economic development as fundamentally an economic problem, ignoring its political dimensions; and it views indigenous cultures as an obstacle to development. Decades of effort using the standard approach have produced little change in indigenous socioeconomic conditions. In contrast, the nation-building approach puts genuine, decision-making power in indigenous hands; it backs up that power with capable institutions of self-governance; it matches those institutions to indigenous political culture; it has a strategic orientation toward long-term outcomes; and it is guided by public-spirited leadership. Over the last twenty-five `year`s, this approach has begun to produce significant improvements in reservation socioeconomic conditions.
In the fight for sovereignty, the citizens of the Mohawk Nation recognized that self-determination was critical in education. The Akwesasne Freedom School (AFS) was created as a place for wholly Mohawk education. Grounding learning and teaching in Mohawk lifeways, the School has survived political, financial, and institutional challenges to become a respected and supported institution of the Mohawk community. Through the ongoing efforts of parents, families and the larger Mohawk Nation community, AFS has played a critical role in the formation of Mohawk identity, citizenship, and nationhood for the past twenty-five years, extending even beyond those who attend the school and into the next generations of Mohawk leadership.