The Future of American Indians

This editorial in Indian Country Today argues that tribal communities need to throw off the yoke of federal assistance and develop their own economic development initiatives (beyond gaming). I’m curious to see the reaction from tribal leaders, especially to this:

Winning legal and political battles to see our children live in poverty and with limited opportunities will not take us far, and in the long run will not preserve tribal communities, governments, or cultures. The American social welfare system is still necessary for most Indian communities, but it does not propose a clear plan, or any plan at all, for future community and individual development.

Indian Country’s next editorial on this issue should identify what it thinks are the kinds of economic development that will sustain Indian communities and lift them to prosperity.  I suspect that an attitudinal shift–one that calls for more social and economic integration–will be necessary, along the lines of what the Amish are starting to do, which was recently spotlighted in this New York Times story.

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