Charles Carlyle: Tribes develop economies for the seven generations

Sunset on the Ak-Chin Indian Community in Arizona. Photo: Patricia

Charles L. Carlyle, a member and business leader from the Ak-Chin Indian Community in Arizona, explains how some tribal governments approach economic development issues in ways that other communities might not:
When non-Native American developers consider land deals, decisions for the best use of the land are routinely determined by the use that offers the best financial return. When Native Americans consider a lease, investment or land use decision, they typically view it as interconnected with life that has physical, economic, social and spiritual implications, and all of these impacts must be carefully weighed.

This interconnectedness, known as “seven-generation thinking” is how Native American people are taught to think about their long-term sustainability —about making decisions that ensure that their land, air, and water can support all forms of life for seven generations to come. While each American Indian tribe is unique, most tribal people believe there is a responsibility to be considered in balance the with the economic opportunity.

While this is a sacred philosophy for most Native people, most non-Native businesses are not prepared to evaluate decisions from this multifaceted perspective. Generally, more thought, deliberate discussion and due diligence are required to close a deal with a tribal government or Native American business than for a business transaction off reservation.

Read More on the Story:
Charles L. Carlyle: Understanding tribal differences needed for successful development (Phoenix Business Journal 1/31)

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