As much of the world knows, American Indian nations are poor. What much of the world doesn't know is that in the last quarter century, a number of these nations have broken away from the prevailing pattern of poverty. They have moved aggressively to take control of their futures and rebuild their nations, rewriting constitutions, reshaping economies, and reinvigorating indigenous community and culture. Today, they are creating sustainable, self-determined economies and building societies that work.
What's the secret of such performance? Is it luck? Is it leadership? Is it education, or having the right resources, or being located in the right place, or picking a winning economic project that provides hundreds of jobs and saves the day? Is it tribal gaming? How can we account for these "breakaway" tribes? Is there an approach to economic development that offers promise throughout Indian Country?
Cornell, Stephen, Joseph P. Kalt. "Two Approaches to Economic Development on American Indian Reservations: One Works, the Other Doesn't". Joint Occasional Papers on Native Affairs No. 2005-02. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, The University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. 2005. JOPNA.