Economic Development & Commerce


Released in conjunction with the 2013 State of Indian Nations, this report shows areas where tribes are exercising their sovereignty right now, diversifying their revenue base, and bringing economic success to their nations and surrounding communities.

Download: Securing Our Futures Report 

Tribal nations make critical contributions to the economic health of their communities and surrounding regional economies. Since enactment in the 1970s, the tools of self-governance have transformed economic systems in Indian Country and beyond. Investments in Native economic development and job creation bring benefits to tribal nations and the nation as a whole.

Native people are America’s most rural population, and tribal lands consist over five percent of the nation’s land base - an area that would make Indian Country the nation’s fourth largest state. Tribal nations own significant assets but cumbersome bureaucratic barriers often undermine their capacity to fully benefit from those resources. Tribal communities are among the poorest in the country and unemployment rates in Indian Country often stand above 50 percent. However, new forms of economic development and commerce present substantial opportunities to contribute to emerging Native economies.

NCAI is actively working with Indian Country to advocate for investments in tribal economies, to stimulate and implement innovative economic policy and to remove barriers to economic development. Honoring tribes as governments and fully investing in modern infrastructure for Indian Country offers immense economic promise for tribes and the American economy. 

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