Unlocking the Wealth of Indian Nations

Dr. Andre Le Dressay, the Director of the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics, contributed to the recent publication "Unlocking the Wealth of Indian Nations" with the paper: Unlocking the Wealth: Past Efforts and Future Opportunities. The paper chronicles two First Nation economic strategies over the last 40 years – rights and title and building institutions of governments. The paper suggests that the Tsilhqot’in decision provides a catalyst that reconciles these strategies because the institutional strategies provide a mechanism to convert the rights and title recognized by the Tsilhqot’in decision into ownership and jurisdiction. 

Most American Indian reservations are islands of poverty in a sea of wealth, but they do not have to remain that way. To extract themselves from poverty, Native Americans will have to build on their rich cultural history including familiarity with markets and integrate themselves into modern economies by creating institutions that reward productivity and entrepreneurship and that establish tribal governments that are capable of providing a stable rule of law. The chapters in this volume document the involvement of indigenous people in market economies long before European contact, provide evidence on how the wealth of Indian Nations has been held hostage to bureaucratic red tape, and explains how their wealth can be unlocked through self-determination and sovereignty.