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Chapters in  the  Story  of  a  First   Na2ons  Renaissance    

Stephen Cornell  

University of  Arizona  and     Harvard  Project  on  American  Indian  Economic  Development   IPAC,  Victoria,  29  August  2011  

In the  next  40  minutes  or  so…   1.  A  First  NaGons  renaissance  in  your  country   and  mine   2.  What’s  behind  it?   3.  What  are  the  policy  choices  now,  and  what’s   the  evidence  for  them?   4.  What  are  the  implicaGons/lessons  for  First   NaGons,  for  Government,  for  Public   AdministraGon?  

A Common  Percep2on  of  North   America’s  Indigenous  Peoples   •  The  news  is  grim:  persistent  poverty,  ill  health,   social  dysfuncGon  on  reserves     •  The  federal  policy  history—in  both  countries —is  a  history  of  failure   •  Indigenous  peoples  are  a  burden  on  taxpayers   •  Not  much  works  

Ci2zen Potawatomi  Na2on    

Ci2zen Potawatomi  Na2on   Tribal  headquarters,  1971   Tribal  Assets:  this  trailer,  a  few  acres  of   land,  $550  in  the  bank    

Tribal headquarters,  2007   Tribal  Assets:    c.  $500  million  

Mississippi Choctaw

Yukaana Development  CorporaGon   Louden  Tribal  Council   Galena,  Alaska  

•   First  tribally  owned  corporaGon  chartered   under  laws  of  State  of  Alaska.   •     Does  environmental  remediaGon   services,  asbestos  removal,  demoliGon,   military  base  operaGons  

West Wind  Avia,on  

Charter air  service  with  17  aircra[,   offices  in  Regina,  Saskatoon,  La  Ronge.   Owned  by:   •   Meadow  Lake  Tribal  Council  (25.5%)   •   Prince  Albert  Grand  Council  (25.5%)   •   West  Wind  EquiGes  (49%)    

Prince Albert Grand Council

…the only  Aboriginal-­‐ owned  insurance  broker   in  AtlanGc  Canada  

…using advanced  imaging   technologies  to  turn  data   into  visual  representaGons  

The Whitecap Dakota First Nation has a record of vigorous, successful economic development.

  Dakota Dunes Golf Links   Dakota Dunes Hotel   Whitecap Trail Business Park   Whitecap Trail Gas Bar   Tatanka Ranch

Managing:   •   Forestry   •   Fisheries   •   Wildlife   •   Environment  

In short:    The  last  three  decades   have  seen  signs  of  significant,   posiGve  change  in  the  economic   condiGons  of  First  NaGons  across   North  America.  

Is the  change  only  economic?     No.  

It’s happening  in  culture…   Osoyoos   Indian   Band   Desert   Cultural   Center   Cherokee  Language  Immersion  

Zuni Pueblo  

Siksika NaGon  Warrior  SocieGes  

In educaGon…  

The Sensisyusten House of Learning is a Group 1 Independent School with the BC Ministry of Education, offering kindergarten to grade five education with strong culture and language components.

In health  care…  

Jemez Pueblo  Health  Care  

Mississippi Choctaw  Health  Clinic  

A CiGzen  Potawatomi  DenGst  

In family  welfare…   The Chickasaw Nation’s Chuka Chukmasi Home Ownership Program makes home loans to any enrolled Chickasaw anywhere in the US. But to get a loan, you have to pass the nation’s own courses on home buying, credit and budgets, home maintenance, and responsible borrowing.

In the  provision  of  jusGce…  

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne After years of conflict, the MCA and the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs are working together. Among other things, they have built a justice system that both asserts their jurisdiction and provides justice for their people and others on their lands.

So what’s  behind  it?     •  Gekng  government  grants?   •  Having  a  great  locaGon?   •  Having  educated  people?   •  Natural  resource  endowments?   •  Picking  the  right  projects?   •  Partnering  with  Big  Business?   •  Community  support?   •  Luck?  

All these  things  help.  But  more  than   twenty  years  of  research  point  to  four   factors  that  maler  more:   •  JurisdicGon  (real  decision-­‐making  power)   •  Capable  governance…   •  …that  reflects  Indigenous  ideas  of  how   authority  should  be  organized  and   exercised  (cultural  match)   •  Leadership  

Osoyoos  Indian  Band  

OIB s businesses bring in more than 7 times as much money each year as OIB receives from the Canadian government

What s the key? Among other things: in the mid-1990s they put in place bullet-proof and rigorously enforced financial practices and policies. In short: governance

What has been the key to the Whitecap Dakota First Nation’s development success? Governance – legislation, laws, policies – and their rigorous enforcement   Constitution   Land Code   Business Licensing Bylaw

  Careful use of taxing power   Responsible partnerships

The Policy  Choice   •  AssimilaGon  –  Promote  the  integraGon  of   Indigenous  people  into  the  mainstream,   as  individuals.  “We’re  all  Canadians”    (or   Australians,  or  Americans)     •  Self-­‐determinaGon  –  Give  NaGve  naGons   the  substanGve  power  to  determine  their   own  paths  

Three countries,  Three  policies   Australia

Individual Assimilation



Collective Self-Determination

US Evidence    

The federal  policy  of  collecGve  self-­‐ determinaGon—of  empowering  NaGve   naGons  to  make  decisions  for  themselves— which  has  been  in  place  since  the  late  1970s,   is  the  only  policy  in  more  than  a  century  to   produce  sustained  improvement  in  socio-­‐ economic  condiGons  on    American  Indian     lands  

For example‌ Percent Change in Real Median Household Income: 1990-2000 Outside Oklahoma Statistical Areas 40 36%




10 4% 0


Gaming Source: U.S. Census 1990, 2000

Total U.S. - All Races

For example‌ Child Poverty Rate All Indian Areas (including statistical areas) 60 55% 47% 44% 40











Gaming Source: U.S. Census 1990, 2000



Total U.S. - All Races

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe (Idaho) has partnered with the off-reserve city of Coeur d’Alene to jointly build and manage a medical and wellness center that has improved the quality of health services available to both populations.

Owned and operated by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Salish Kootenai College today draws  students  from  more     than  100  Indian  naGons—and  alracts  non-­‐NaGves  as  well

In the 2000’s the Red Lake Band of Chippewa partnered with federal and state entities to bring the walleye back to its Native waters from the brink of collapse

White Mountain Apache Tribe

Partnered with McDonnellDouglas to produce parts for the Apache helicopter for the US Dept of Defence

Bethel Acres, Oklahoma

The community asked the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to provide it with legal and judicial services

Implica2ons/Lessons •  For  First  NaGons   •  For  Government   •  For  Public  AdministraGon  

For First  Na2ons   •  Push  the  jurisdicGonal  envelope:  “Just  do  it”   •  But  only  if  you  can  back  it  up  with  capable   governing  insGtuGons.  The  challenge  is  to   govern  well.   •  Leadership  is  important.  But  it’s  the   insGtuGons—and  the  tradiGons  behind  them —that  last  over  Gme.  

For Government   •  Get  out  of  the  way.  Recognize  the  opportunity   costs  of  the  Indian  Act   •  Give  First  NaGons  real  power   •  But  invest  in  First  NaGons’  insGtuGonal   capacity   •  Abandon  one-­‐size-­‐fits-­‐all  fantasies  about  how   First  NaGons  should  govern  

Laguna Pueblo   There are six villages, each with representation on a central council. Laguna citizens describe these councilors as “elected officials.” But there are no contested, western-style elections at the Pueblo. Each village gathers and, in its wisdom and by processes not written down, chooses who it wants to serve. As one councilor says, “When you become a councilor, you’re not given power. You’re given responsibility.”

CochiG Pueblo  

Six officers are chosen by the senior spiritual leader each year.

•  The Governor  has  secular  responsibiliGes,  the  War  Captain   has  spiritual  responsibiliGes     •  Anyone  appointed  to  one  of  the  six  posiGons  is  a  member  of   the  legislature—the  Council  of  Principales—for  life   •  To  the  outside,  the  Governor  looks  like  the  most  important   person,  but  inside,  the  War  Captain  is.  The  Governor’s  job  is   to  protect  the  sacred  core  of  Pueblo  life  from  the  outside   This way of governing—partly ancient, partly an adjustment —allows Cochiti to deal effectively with the outside world but still maintain its own ways, “to protect the things we cherish”

Navajo NaGon   The Navajo Nation has no written constitution. But it has created an innovative court system that relies on both Navajo and western methods •  Trial  courts,  peacemaker  forums,  appeals  courts     •  Reliance  in  all  courts  on  Navajo  customary  law   The Nation is now working to apply lessons from this plural court system to other branches of government. The system addresses the needs and culture of Navajos but (thanks to documentation) is increasingly easy for nonNavajos to accept and understand.

Gitanyow Gitanyow First Nation governance is split, taking advantage of two very different kinds of leadership Traditional territory, land management, resource stewardship, culture

Council of Hereditary Chiefs

Elected Chief & Council

Administration of social programs, dealings with Indian and Northern Affairs

For Public  Administra2on   •  SGck  to  best  principles  (e.g.,  the  rule  of  law,   which  is  an  Indigenous  tradiGon)  but  recognize   that  best  pracGces  may  be  situaGonally  diverse   •  Invest  in  understanding  what  works  in  First   NaGons  sekngs,  with  First  NaGons  cultures,   and  in  providing  professional  preparaGon  for   those—especially  First  NaGons  ciGzens—who   want  to  work  in  those  sekngs  

A First Nations Renaissance

Presentation Copyright 2011 Board of Regents, University of Arizona



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