According to a recent report published by Wells Fargo in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, titled “Indian Country’s Once-in-a-Seven-Generation-Opportunity: Building Economic Resiliency That Sticks,” what’s sorely needed is more business data and education around how tribal economies operate.
The report says gaps in business data are a major obstacle preventing tribal communities from attracting the capital necessary to grow and thrive. Presently, there is no comprehensive overview on American Indian and Alaska Native markets.
No primer exists that defines tribal economies, describes the industries tribes operate in or provides a breakdown of how tribally owned businesses are structured. Tribal leaders, Native finance practitioners and economic development officials understand the businesses that drive tribal economies, but they face challenges when making the business case for investment in tribal communities because they are largely unnoticed by institutional investors and corporate America.
Tribal communities are unique because in America, entrepreneurs create the businesses and jobs that drive economic activity, while in Native America, tribal governments and the businesses they own – not individual entrepreneurs – are the primary economic actors. This distinction is important for devising potential solutions to attract investment.
The data in the report provides vital tribal economic benchmarks, showcasing revenue trends and geographic distribution while protecting tribal confidentiality. The U.S. Department of the Interior publishes revenue information for sales of tribal natural resources, water and timber. The federal website USAspending.gov provides details on grants and direct payments to tribal governments. It also shares federal contracts awarded to tribally owned businesses.
To learn more, read “Why Tribal Communities Are Being Overlooked by Investors” by Dawson Her Many Horses, the head of Native American Banking for Wells Fargo, the leading provider of capital and financial services to the Native American and Alaska Native markets. He is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.