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Economic Development in Indian Country: Redefining Success

Introduction

Mary Emery, Milan Wall, Corry Bregendahl, Cornelia Flora

American Indian societies are phenomenally resilient. In the last several centuries, they have faced winds of economic, political, and cultural change that have blown as fiercely over them as over any people in history. These winds have brought military violence and subjugation, epidemics of disease, seizures of land and property, vicious racism, and economic deprivation. Yet, as the twenty-first century approaches, hundreds of distinct Indian nations built upon dozens of cultural lineages still persevere and grow, variously bound together by ties of family, language, history, and culture. The lesson from Indian Country is a lesson of strength. This strength is still being tested. Among the most formidable challenges facing native peoples today are those rooted in economic conditions. American Indians living on the nation's nearly 300 reservations are among the poorest people in the United States. On most reservations, sustained economic development, while much discussed, has yet to make a significant dent in a long history of poverty and powerlessness.

(Posted Online on August 30, 2006)

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Economic Development in Indian Country: Redefining Success
Mary Emery, Milan Wall, Corry Bregendahl, and Cornelia Flora