"Tribal leaders hear all about how they should run their governments to achieve economic success: “Separate business from politics.” “Seek out and form partnerships with the federal government and private industry.” “Create more pro-business laws.” “Become more active in federal Indian economic policy-making.” All of this sounds good.
I believe many tribal leaders are taking this advice to heart and trying to implement positive change that would benefit their economies and ultimately, their people. So why are many tribal economies not taking off as everyone hoped they would?
Do you think that with all we expect our tribal leaders to do and be. … are we just setting them up for failure? I mean, we want them to all at once be national leaders, in that they must continually keep abreast of and stay involved in Congressional activities to ensure that the federal government honors its “government-to-government relationship” with Indian tribes. This requires that tribal leaders possess savviness with the Congressional legislative and regulatory decision-making process.
We also expect them to be corporate leaders because they are required to make decisions about tribally-owned businesses, such as whether to invest in a casino expansion or enter into a commercial joint venture in some other industry. We want them to be comfortable reading financial statements and business plans, not to mention negotiating complicated business transactions."
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Tracey Fischer: Help wanted: Superheroes
(Indian Country Today 11/30)