Tex Hall: Hunting Indians at Capitol Hill hearing
"This week in our nation’s capital, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is chairing a hearing on the provisions of the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program. The 8(a) program, created by Congress in the 1960s, provides disadvantaged businesses, whether veteran-owned, Hispanic-owned or female-owned, with contracting opportunities with our federal government. It also has a special provision for tribal-government-owned and Alaska Native Corporation-owned firms to promote participation by communal enterprises to reinvest any business success into social and cultural programming of America’s first peoples.

Any opportunity to educate Congress and be reminded of the American history that swallowed millions of acres of native lands to build this great nation is a good thing. We realize that Sen. McCaskill may not be focused on that history and does not see our tribal firms as they are — vehicles for commerce that are one of our best chances to reverse the economic destruction caused by Manifest Destiny that left millions of our people homeless in our own homelands. It is a history worth understanding.

McCaskill is attempting to isolate the progress of Alaska Native Corporations and espousing this progress as if these corporations that Congress created in 1971 should not succeed, or that the minuscule success in comparison to privately owned corporations in government contracting means something is wrong. The simple truth is the growth of native companies, full-blooded American companies that hire American, buy American, and are American, has been less than 1 percent.

It appears that the McCaskill hearings are hunting Indians, when they should be used to figure out how to replicate and grow 1 percent to 10 percent across Indian country. Our success as tribal firms is the country’s success. We don’t move our operations overseas, we don’t have foreign investors, we don’t cut and run when the economy slows down — we’re home, no matter what state — Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, even Missouri."

Get the Story:
Tex Hall: McCaskill Hearing an Opportunity to Educate on American History (Roll Call 7/14)

Committee Notice:

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Alaska Native corporations under more scrutiny (5/19)