What Have You Done For You Lately?
Indian Country Today
By Mark Fogarty March 14, 2011
The driving force behind recent gains in American Indian and Native Alaskan economic prosperity is not funding from state and federal programs but rather self-determination and sovereignty, a new study has found.
“The per capita income of American Indians on reservations has been growing approximately three times more rapidly than the United States as a whole since the early 1990s,” according to the report, “American Indian Self-Determination: the Political Economy of a Policy That Works.”
Those per capita increases are 30 percent for non-gaming tribes, 36 percent for gaming tribes, and 11 percent for the whole country, according to authors Stephen Cornell of the University of Arizona and Joseph P. Kalt of the John. F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. “This burst of economic development is starting from a low base, but is manifesting itself in improving social conditions and other indicators of development,” wrote the authors in the study, published in November 2010 by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, which each year recognizes economic development projects in Indian country. “The switch from federal administration to tribal administration is being manifested in investment in long-neglected infrastructure, as streets, water systems, schools, health clinics, and the like are rapidly being upgraded.”