"It is time for tribal and Indian economic entrepreneurship to take a central role in Indian policy. While it is often argued that there can be no significant or enduring tribal sovereignty without economic development and the production and control over economic assets, federal Indian policy should inherently emphasize the economic development of Indian country.
Winning legal and political battles to see our children live in poverty and with limited opportunities will not take us far, and in the long run will not preserve tribal communities, governments, or cultures. The American social welfare system is still necessary for most Indian communities, but it does not propose a clear plan, or any plan at all, for future community and individual development.
Many tribal governments since the 1960s have become bureaucratic social service centers for tribal communities. Much of Indian policy is focused on tribal sovereignty issues and that is as it should be. However, the future attainment and preservation of tribal sovereignty needs broader goals and strategies. The present-day federal programs only serve part of the long-term needs of tribal communities, and provide only temporary and usually inadequate fixes to poverty, health care, justice and tribal cultural continuity. We need long term Indian policy strategies that yield sustained tribal economies that will empower possibilities for community, political and economic decision making among tribal members and communities."
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Toward a more prosperous Native America
(Indian Country Today 2/20)