Harvard Project on Indigenous Governance & Development

McGirt and Rebuilding Tribal Nations Toolbox

Year

The McGirt decision has changed the legal landscape and created new opportunities for tribal nations starting with the Five Tribes in Eastern Oklahoma and potentially for tribal nations across Indian Country. It also has been the source of confusion, hyperbole, and alarm among some commentators.

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and University of Oklahoma Native Nations Center McGirt Colloquium Toolbox contains a series of briefing papers that explain the ramifications of McGirt in various areas important to tribes and clarify what is and what is not at issue. These briefing papers help affected tribes chart a pathway toward the effective exercise of post-McGirt tribal powers and productive collaboration with state governments. The briefing papers offer ideas and examples of what these processes and outcomes might look like. In particular, they consider at least eight areas through the lens of a tribal government’s responsibilities to its citizens, to other Indians, and to non-Indians on trust lands and fee lands within the external borders of recognized reservations.

We hope these papers will be shared, and the ideas disseminated, in ways that tribal governments and other partners identify as useful for creating dispassionate, helpful guidance to tribes and states in the post-McGirt era.

Resource Type
Citation

McGirt Colloquium Toolbox. 2021. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and University of Oklahoma Native Nations Center. https://sites.google.com/g.harvard.edu/mcgirt-rebuilding-nations/home. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Retrieved on March 2, 2021.

Business Enterprises Toolbox

Year

What do successful businesses and economic development look like in a Native nation? Find out with case studies and research reports on successful and awarded efforts from around the world. Understand how to build and implement business codes, launch your own Limited Liability Company (LLC) and a Federally-Chartered Section 17 Corporation. Read step-by-step examples of codes, charters and by-laws that various Native nations have used to structure their businesses. Explore the breadth and diversity of award winning and internationally recognized programs built and managed by Native nations. Bring lessons to life with beautiful and innovative examples curated through Google Cultural Institute online exhibits. This easy-to-use tool supplies narrated videos, viewing notes, maps, and carefully selected online exhibitions to share the stories of successful business enterprise and programs.

Resource Type
Citation

Business Enterprises Toolbox. 2020. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and Native Nations Institute. https://sites.google.com/view/businessenterprisestoolbox. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Retrieved on March 14, 2023.

Economic Development Corporation: Ho-Chunk, Inc. Winnebego Tribe of Nebraska

Year

Chartered under the laws of the Winnebago Tribe and wholly owned by the Tribe, Ho-Chunk, Inc. was launched in 1994 to diversify the Tribe’s business interests while maintaining a separation between business and tribal government. The general purpose company promotes economic self-sufficiency and creates jobs through its actively managed enterprises, joint ventures and passive investments, which include hotels, convenience stores, websites and an order fulfillment center.

Native Nations
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Citation

"Economic Development Corporation: Ho-Chunk, Inc. Winnebego Tribe of Nebraska ." Honoring Nations: 2000 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2000. Report.

Potawatomi Leadership Program

Year

Proud of the increasing number of citizens pursuing college degrees, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) leaders became concerned that their talented students were not getting enough education in what it means to be Citizen Potawatomi. To nurture the nations’ future political leadership, the tribe launched the Potawatomi Leadership Program, which gives students an unforgettable “crash course” in CPN government, economy, and culture. In doing so, program graduates are armed withthe cultural and political knowledge they need to become the leaders they were born to be.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Topics
Citation

"Potawatomi Leadership Program." Honoring Nations: 2014 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2011. Report.

Insights from Congressional and Tribal Leaders: Coronavirus Relief for American Indian Tribal Govt

Year

In March 2020, American Indian tribes celebrated their historic inclusion in the CARES Act, receiving nearly $11 billion in direct relief. The Act recognized that tribal governments are confronting extraordinary demands parallel to those faced by state and local governments. The relief dollars, however, have been slow to reach Native Americans. While tribal governments have put forth unprecedented efforts to serve their citizens in crisis, restrictions on the use and timing of federal relief monies have hindered tribes’ capacities to do all they are capable of. Now, as Congress returns from their summer recess to debate additional coronavirus relief packages, including potential additional direct aid to tribal governments, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development will host a diverse panel of Congressional and tribal leaders to look ahead and discuss how Congress might come together on a bipartisan basis to enhance support for Indian Country’s pandemic recovery efforts. Please join us for an informative session, featuring:

  • U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
  • U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS)
  • President Shelley Buck, Prairie Island Indian Community
  • Governor Stephen Lewis, Gila River Indian Community (HKS MPA 2006)
  • Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid, Jr., Crow Tribe of Indians
  • Moderated by Prof. Joseph P. Kalt, Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development

On the Front Lines: Tribal Nations Take on COVID-19

Year

Like governments around the world, America’s 574 federally recognized tribal nations are racing to protect their citizens from the coronavirus. Impacting tribes at a rate four times higher than for the US population, the pandemic is testing the limits of tribal public health infrastructures. Simultaneously, shuttered casinos and other business enterprises are crippling tribal economies. Coupled with an inefficient federal response, resources to provide critical governmental services are being rapidly depleted, intensifying the crisis. This conversation, facilitated on May 26th, 2020 by Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center, features the following leaders:

  • Dr. Laura Hammitt, Director of Infectious Disease Programs, Johns Hopkins University Center for American Indian Health
  • Prof. Joe Kalt, Ford Foundation Professor (Emeritus) of International Political Economy & Co-Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
  • Mr. Del Laverdure, Attorney. Former Acting Assistant Secretary, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary & Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, US Dept. of the Interior
  • Hon. Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor, Gila River Indian Community, HKS MPA 2006 
  • Megan Minoka Hill, Moderator, Program Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development & Director, Honoring Nations

Determinants Of Development Success In The Native Nations Of The United States: English Version

Year

The poverty of indigenous North Americans, especially those living on reservations, has beenconcerned Indian and federal policymakers for more than a century. After the treatymaking phase and the establishment of the reservation system, federal policies to address Native poverty vacillated between cultural assimilation, forced urbanization, and asset privatization, on the one hand, and governmental reorganization, natural resource exploitation, and welfare assistance, on the other. None of this experimentation brought American Indians to parity with the rest of the United States. American Indians and Alaska Natives have been the poorest category of Americans for decades.

Recently, however, many resurgent Native nations have created economic growth and accompanying political and social development in their homelands. For the first time, the incomes of Indians on reservations rose faster than the American average without an accompanying rise in federal spending. In the 1970s and 1980s, Indian incomes rose and fell as federal program budgets for Indian Country increased and then decreased. By contrast in the 1990s, federal spending on Indian programs did not change much, but Indian incomes rose, both on reservations with casinos and without. The pace of average income growth on the reservations exceeded the US growth in per capita income by a factor of three.

What explains this welcome improvement? Research begun in the 1980s and continuing to the present examines the variation in outcomes across tribes and uncovers the strategies Native nations have used for success. Whereas many Native and federal...

Oneida Advocacy Through Investment Holdings

Year

Thirty years ago, most Native nations in the U.S. had few financial resources available for investment. With the passage of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638) in 1975, many tribes began to reclaim the governance of their nations – and with such assertions of self-determination came successful business enterprise development and thriving economies. Today, Native nations exercise their sovereignty and business savvy across a multitude of arenas, including health care, education, justice, and financial investment.

Resource Type
Citation

"Oneida Advocacy Through Investment Holdings." Honoring Nations: 2010 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2011. Report.

Newtok Relocation Effort

Year

Scientists and politicians spend hours debating the facts of climate change, but in many places damaging changes to the local environment are already a reality. In the past decade, more and more human settlements have been threatened by catastrophic flooding, wildfires, or drought caused by variations in usual climate patterns. Climate change is already having devastating effects on Alaska; a 2003 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that flooding and erosion affect 86% of Alaska Native villages. Faced with deteriorating environmental conditions, residents of the traditional Yup’ik village of Newtok, Alaska decided to relocate and move the village to the site of the community’s summer camp, nine miles away from Newtok’s current location. Rather than wait for the United States or the state of Alaska to develop strategies to assist communities affected by climate change, Newtok took its future into its own hands. In doing so, they have become a model for others.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

"Newtok Relocation Effort." Honoring Nations: 2010 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2011. Report.

Leech Lake Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction

Year

Across Indian Country tribes are strengthening and better defining their governments in order to meet the unique needs of their communities. As Native nations work to expand their sovereign powers, tribal justice departments can play a critical role in achieving those goals. In the early 2000s, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe faced a rising crime rate. Because Minnesota is subject to Public Law 280, county and state agencies controlled the primary resources for law enforcement and judicial processing. But recidivism statistics for its tribal citizens showed that the state system was not addressing the problem. Despite its limited judicial infrastructure, the nation had a strong desire to intercede, and a strong commitment to holistic care rooted in traditional values. It was with this determination that Leech Lake set aside a history of interracial tension to work with neighboring counties to create a Wellness Court that helps people overcome their drug and alcohol addictions.

 

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

"Leech Lake Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction." Honoring Nations: 2010 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2011. Report.