Tanya Fiddler: Encourage private sector in Indian Country

"Jobs, jobs, jobs. They’re on everyone’s mind these days, and Creator knows our reservations are in dire need of jobs. While America has experienced a lingering unemployment rate around the 9th percentile for the past couple of years, our reservations have been enduring unemployment rates much higher than that – sometimes up to 90 percent – for generations. The simple fact is, the quantity of jobs we need to sustain our reservation populations just don’t exist. Since many reservations are located in isolated rural areas, commuting off-reservation isn’t a viable option either. So, how do we go about creating jobs for our Native people?

Some tribes focus on establishing tribal enterprises to create employment opportunities. While these enterprises do bring a steady stream of income to our Native families, they are not creating an opportunity for us to break free from reliance on a governing body, whether the federal government or tribal government. When we depend solely on BIG Government as our source of independence, we are living in a false sense of autonomy because we are still allowing some other entity to provide our options for us. I believe that tribal enterprises have a place in Native economies, but in order to create strong self-reliant tribes, we also need to focus on developing private sectors on our reservations."

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Tanya Fiddler: The Private Sector: More Than a Job Creator (Indian Country Today 3/15)

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