Reservation "Capitalism"


Reservation "Capitalism"

Economic Development in Indian Country

Robert J. Miller
Foreword by Tom Daschle

220 pages


November 2013


$25.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Native American peoples suffer from health, educational, infrastructure, and social deficiencies of the sort that most Americans who live outside tribal lands are wholly unaware of and would not tolerate. Indians are the poorest people in the United States, and their reservations are appallingly poverty-stricken; not surprisingly, they suffer from the numerous social pathologies that invariably accompany such economic conditions. Historically, most tribal communities were prosperous, composed of healthy, vibrant societies sustained over hundreds and in some instances perhaps even thousands of years. By creating sustainable economic development on reservations, however, gradual long-term change can be effected, thereby improving the standard of living and sustaining tribal cultures.

Reservation “Capitalism” relates the true history, describes present-day circumstances, and sketches the potential future of Indian communities and economics. It provides key background information on indigenous economic systems and property-rights regimes in what is now the United States and explains how the vast majority of Native lands and natural resource assets were lost. Robert J. Miller focuses on strategies for establishing public and private economic activities on reservations and for creating economies in which reservation inhabitants can be employed, live, and have access to the necessities of life, circumstances ultimately promoting complete tribal self-sufficiency.


Author Bio

Robert J. Miller is a professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, chief justice of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde in Oregon, and a citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.  He has also been appointed to the Navajo Nation Council of Economic Advisors. He is the author of Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Manifest Destiny, available in a Bison Books edition. Tom Daschle is the former U.S. Senate majority leader from South Dakota.



"Robert Miller delivers first-rate advice on the politics, law, and economics of reservation development. Indian nations--indeed, all nations--can learn from this book's insights. . . . Robert Miller has pulled together an impressive range of scholarly theory, real world experiences of Native leaders, and data. As a result, this book provides a mountain of sound advice to tribal, state, and federal policymakers. The advice is delivered without apology by an author who lives and respects his subject."--Professor Joseph P. Kalt, codirector, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development

"Robert Miller's Reservation 'Capitalism' promises to be the definitive book on Native American entrepreneurship. This is both a legal and policy primer on the impact of financing contemporary business in Indian Country. Perhaps the most original and significant impact of the book is the early and historic treatment of more than four hundred years of interaction between the two cultures culminating in the twenty-first-century economic and technological changes on reservations. Professor Miller examines the fiscal and economic tools that tribes can--and indeed must--use to help their people reach the level of economic prosperity that will help the Indian Nations sustain their lives, families, communities, cultures, and economies."--Rennard Strickland, Phillip Knight Distinguished Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, University of Oregon; Senior Scholar in Residence, University of Oklahoma Law Center

"Miller's Reservation 'Capitalism' is a manifesto of big-picture thinking about the problem of the 21st century for Indian country--diversifying and growing reservation economies. Miller brings together law, history, economics, and culture in a brilliant work that speaks to Native and non-Native policymakers and lawyers as much as it does to scholars."--Matthew L. M. Fletcher, professor of law and director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law

"Reservation 'Capitlaism' is worth reading for the opening chapters alone, but Professor Miller also analyzes modern reservation economies, covering a range of tribes from throughout Indian Country with detailed examiniation of specfic tribes. . . . Miller also provides a thorough recitation of the rise of Indian gaming as an economic powerhouse. . . . While Miller's fluid style makes his book accessible to the casual reader, the level of research and extensive endnotes make this book a viable choice as the primary textbook for a course on tribal economic development."--Gavin Clarkson, Great Plains Quarterly

"Miller's book is not only practical but also realistic and timely. It subtly underscores the fact that tribal economic successes to date have occurred when tribes were in control, and he presents that as the basis for the next chapter of economic development in Indian country. This is recommended reading for tribal leaders, planners, Indian and non-Indian entrepreneurs and anyone interested in seeing a glimpse of the economic potential that lies in Indian country."--Douglas Nash, Indian Country Today
"Professor Miller's book is a timely, realistic, and practical work that should be studied closely by tribes as well as individuals--Indian and non-Indian--who have an interest in operating a business in Indian country. It provides a positive and hopeful prognosis for the economic well being of Indian tribes and their members."--Seattle Journal for Social Justice

Table of Contents

Foreword by Tom Daschle
1. Introduction
2. Historic American Indian Economies and Property Rights
3. Euro-American Impacts on American Indian Economies
4. Current Economic Activity in Indian Country
5. Tribal Gaming
6. Attracting Investments
7. Indian Entrepreneurship
8. Creating Reservation Economies
9. Conclusion
Selected Bibliography

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