Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Discipline

Economics

New!Should Tribes Legalize Marijuana?

Author:Amber Seachord and Barbara Leigh Smith

Marijuana legalization has been gaining momentum in the United States in recent years, yet heated controversies continue to surround the issue. The central focus of this case is on the question of whether tribes should legalize marijuana.  The case begins by briefly describing the history of marijuana, what is known about its impact, and the changing policies at the state and federal level. It then discusses the various ways tribes are exploring the “opportunity,” the ways they might become involved in the marijuana business, and the pros and cons of various forms of tribal involvement.  

New!Darkness to Dawn: Columbia River Native Tribes’ Science and Salmon Restoration Success

Author:Brian Footen

From the start of its 1243 mile journey in the Canadian Rockies all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River drains the heart, soul and bounty of the Pacific Northwest. In this water is a history of a river and people that goes back 15,000 years. The bountiful water has supplied the world with food and energy. The development of the river for hydro-power and irrigation has played a critical role in modern history. This development, however, has come at great cost to the original inhabitants of the area and the primary resource that they thrived on: the salmon. The Nez Perce, NiMiiPuu, lived in the Columbia River basin for thousands of years. This existence was altered by the arrival of European settlers, and in 1855, the Nez Perce signed a treaty that defined an area over which they had jurisdiction and rights to the resources, including salmon, vital to their culture and survival. Since then salmon populations have declined. Dams and the resulting habitat degradation have had negative impacts on salmon survival. Some populations have been listed as endangered, and policies regarding how these fish are treated have complicated the recovery process. Recent efforts by the Nez Perce tribe, however, have shown that in spite of a mechanized river and political resistance, the river still has enough bounty to bring back a salmon run that was nearly extinct.

New!Pebbles of Gold or Salmon of Time: Pebble Mine and the Cultural and Environmental Economics of Alaska Natives

Author:Brian Footen

Alaska’s Bristol Bay is home to the most productive salmon runs in the world. For over 9,000 years, the indigenous people of the region have survived because of the salmon. In 2005 the Pebble Mine Project was proposed by the Pebble Partnership (PLP). The project proposal is to extract massive deposits of copper, gold and other minerals from the mountains making up the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The proposal has polarized people within the Native communities of the region. This case explores the trade off that is often made when jobs and profit are pitted against environmental protection.

Distributive Justice in Indian Country: Should Indian Tribes Share Casino Revenues?

Author:Sarah S. Works, J.D.

This case examines the philosophical concept of distributive justice and its role in debates about whether or not revenue from Native American casino operations should be shared, with whom, and why. This case illustrates the complexities associated with questions of distributive justice within Indian Country. Specifically, this case presents issues raised in tribal-state negotiations regarding whether tribal gaming revenues can or should be shared with either State governments or other Indian tribes.

Environmentalism Across Cultural Borders

Author:Sarah S Works, J.D.

This case examines competing views about environmental protection strategy among predominantly white, mainstream environmental advocacy groups and two major Indian tribes in the American Southwest. This case illustrates the complexities associated with nation building that relies on funds generated by natural resources development, and the dangers that exist when strategies for environmental protection collide between cultures. Specifically, this case presents the controversial decision of the Hopi Tribe to ban the Sierra Club and other mainstream environmental groups from its Reservation in 2009 and describes economic factors related to a coal economy that contributed to that decision.

Dam Removal on the Elwha River

Author:Peter Dorman

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, whose ancestral home is on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula, has made a remarkable recovery from dissolution and poverty, reclaiming tribal status and acquiring land and fishing rights. Critical to this process will be the restoration of salmon runs on the Elwha River, which had been terminated by the building of two dams early in the twentieth century. Among the steps leading to dam removal was a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This study, which was filed in 1995, forms the centerpiece of this case. Due in part to the CBA’s conclusion that the economic benefits of dam removal would exceed the economic costs, resistance to this precedent-setting decision was overcome. The case centers on an examination of the CBA and the ways it both does and does not incorporate matters of concern to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

So You Want to Buy a Pony? A Case for Financial Literacy

Author:Michelle Aguilar-Wells

This case is about the financial considerations made in everyday life such as buying a car, house, or any large purchase on credit.  This case is introductory and intended to start participants on the path of financial literacy.  Many students have not had the opportunity to learn the basic principles for financial stability and success.  Too many people learn these lessons the hard way; through bankruptcy, loss of property, avoidable poverty, and poor credit management.  This case is best taught as an interrupted case with discussion, written work, or research required at the end of each section.

Tse-Whit-Zen: An Ancient Klallam Village Reclaimed… Territory Taken but not Forgotten

Author:Arlene Wheeler and Barbara Leigh Smith

This three-part interrupted case tells the story of an extraordinary archaeological find, the ancient tribal village, Tse-whit-zen, during the construction process replacing the Hood Canal Bridge. This case offers important insights on inter-governmental decision-making and cultural preservation. Part 1 of the case provides background on the Bridge replacement project and the early stages of the planning process. This part of the case is written largely from the point of view of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Part 2 is written from the standpoint of a member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe as the discovery of the ancient village unfolded and everyone struggled with the impact of that discovery, trying to balance cultural considerations with the urgency surrounding the bridge replacement and the impact on the local economy. Part 3 of the case describes the most recent issues surrounding the case after the discovery of substantial numbers of human remains and the ensuring controversy about whether the project should be shut down.

Salmon and Contamination in the Columbia River

Author:Lambert, Lori

Thousands of years ago the lands and rivers around Celilo Falls were huge trading areas where as many as 5000 people would come to trade for Salmon. It was a time for abundance and socialization. In the later part of the 1950s, after the development of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia, the tribal people lost the sacred falls, their Salmon, and their way of life. Today, the Columbia River is used as a major transportation artery as well as a source of hydroelectric power. The waters of the Columbia River are contaminated, dams have slowed the flow of the river, and in some cases the migration of the Salmon is impeded. The Salmon are contaminated with hundreds of toxins and the people who eat them are suffering from cancer and other ailments.

The Last Stand: the Quinault Indian Nation's Path to Sovereignty and the Case of Tribal Forestry

Author:Stumpff, Linda Moon

This case tells a story of forestry management policies on the Quinault Reservation. In the early years, the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) and later the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) acted like a landlord, allocating large timber sales to non-Indian timber companies. The Dawes Act fragmented the Quinault Reservation into many small individually owned allotments: the Tribe retained little for the general purpose. Years of mismanagement of Reservation forest lands by the BIA left devastated lands and waters. Legislation and actions by leaders like Joe De La Cruz pushed the envelope to reform the U.S. tribal trust relationship, eventually returning land use decision-making to the Quinault Indian Nation. The Tribe took over planning, timber sales, and decision-making for forestry as they came to work in partnership with the BIA and neighboring agencies. The challenge was great---large areas of the landbase were cut-over. New decisions about forestry management were made to acquire allotted lands and to transfer them into the tribal ownership so they could be restored.

Native Gaming in the US

Author:Hai-Jew, Shalin

Native gaming has been a part of the US landscape for decades. This case examines this phenomena through an economic, social-cultural and political lens.

Case 1: "All In? Economic Factors to Consider in Native Gaming"
The economics frame focuses on the context of the need for economic development on Indian reservations. This offers a range of considerations for Native economic development. It also looks at the pros and cons of Indian gaming as an economic choice within a full economic development strategy. This asks learners to consider issues of economic development and empowerment.

Case 2: "Smallpox or the New Buffalo: What's the Right Analogy for Indian Gaming?"
The social and cultural frame surfaces issues of traditional beliefs and Native identity, the projection of authentic tribal culture, and the importance of tribal unity historically. This case asks learners to consider how to maintain these values in an environment of economic globalization, which may force the issue of economic development and Native American self-sufficiency.

Case 3: "Setting the Rules for Native Gaming"
The political frame uses a legal, policy and procedure focus to approach the regulation of Indian gaming. With relevant external laws and internal tribal ones, this political frame asks readers to consider important tribal leadership structures and policies to support effective Indian gaming.

Sacred Sites Sustaining Tribal Economies: The Mescalero Apache

Author:Henderson, Martha L.

The Mescalero Apache traditional homelands were what is now known as central New Mexico. Sierra Blanca, along with three other mountains surrounding the White Sands area, was the territorial markers of their area. These mountains were a source of cultural identity, geographic navigation, and subsistence. Today, the Mescalero Apache Tribe occupies a reservation in central New Mexico. The reservation boundaries include Sierra Blanca. Sierra Blanca is a significant sacred site in Mescalero Apache culture. This case study investigates the intersection between sacred sites, traditional native identity, boundaries, and contemporary tribal economic development.

Child Care Considerations at the Skinny Raven Casino

Author:Gawlik, Dennis, Kate Lancaster, and Linda Lovett

This case looks at several of the key social justice and social equity issues surrounding the availability of health-care and child-care at a fictitious tribal casino. This casino supports a fictitious Native American tribe, the Xamish. The case examines the social impact of the business operation of a casino on its employees, particularly in the area of health care. This case reviews various aspects of social equity - employee turnover, financial and economic concerns, and tribal considerations. Students are challenged to discuss social justice and social equity impacts of a tribal-based business on individual employees as well as on the tribe it supports.