Overcoming Challenges to Business and Economic Development in Indian Country. Legal, Historical, and Cultural Context of Tribal Economic and Business Development


BD/ED and welfare reform in Indian country are taking place in a unique legal, historical, and cultural context. The legal status of tribes creates opportunities and challenges for their BD/ED. Historical events disrupted or destroyed many traditional tribal economies, and the legacy of these events continues to reverberate through tribal economies. Cultural values, norms, and expectations exert a strong influence on tribal BD/ED. The federal government has promoted BD/ED in Indian country through specific programs and legislation as well as through support of Indian self-determination and self-governance. This chapter discusses key principles of Indian law, special legal provisions for Alaska Native villages and tribes, historical and cultural circumstances that shape tribal BD/ED activities, and current federal support of tribal BD/ED.

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