Charles Carlyle: Indian Country still lacking in basic infrastructure

A tractor on the Ak-Chin Indian Community in Arizona. Photo by Patricia

Charles L. Carlyle, a member and business leader from the Ak-Chin Indian Community in Arizona, outlines some of the challenges facing tribes as they seek to grow their economies:
Infrastructure is a hot issue being discussed now by city, county and even country leaders.

That's because government officials and policymakers know that sufficient infrastructure has always been a key factor in attracting and retaining business interests.

Tribal leaders are also concerned about infrastructure, but their focus is not just on obsolescence; it's on having the basic infrastructure in the first place. The Energy Information Administration estimates that 14 percent of households on Native American reservations have no access to electricity, 10 times higher than the national average.

In Arizona Native nations like the Hopi and Navajo, 40 percent of the reservations' homes do not have running water. Moreover, according to the 2015 FCC Broadband Progress Report, 85 percent of rural tribal members lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband.

While cities, counties and states can rely on property and business owners to generate tax revenue for schools, roads, communications, water and electric systems, Native American reservations do not have this same revenue stream since the land on which they live is held in trust by the Federal Government, not owned by their residents.

Read More on the Story:
Charles L. Carlyle: Native American reservations need basic infrastructure to be economically sustainable (The Phoenix Business Journal 10/18)

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