“The Sovereign Model of Economic Development” at Wiring the Rez

March 5, 2021
Wiring the Rez 2021

On February 4, 2021, NNI Research Director Miriam Jorgensen was a featured panelist in the opening session of the 2021 Wiring the Rez conference, "The Sovereign Model of Economic Development".

In her talk, “Supporting Citizen Entrepreneurs,” Jorgensen argued that the pandemic has underscored the importance of citizen entrepreneurship as an economic diversification strategy for Native nation. As the number of private sector businesses on a reservation grows, both the number of industry sectors represented in the economy and the number of job opportunities available to tribal citizens also grow. These “thicker” economies are more resilient to economic shocks, such as the wave of hospitality business shutdowns caused by COVID-19

Jorgensen also highlighted the ways that sovereign tribal governments can spur reservation-based private sector development. These include establishing and protecting an independent tribal court, creating certainty in tribal business law, providing a sensible regulatory environment (for example, creating clear zoning rules for commercial establishments), working to increase citizens’ financial literacy and business acumen, supporting the Native CDFI sector, investing in workforce development, and enacting “buy Indian” and “buy local” rules.

For more information on ways that tribal governments can help grow the private sector on their lands, see:

The annual Wiring the Rez Conference is sponsored by the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law.