Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Theme

Economic Development


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!Alaska Native and American Indian Policy: A Comparative Case

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

Federal policy directed to settle Alaska Native land claims was shaped in a later time period and in a much different demographic, ecological, and economic context than earlier federal Indian Policy. This study begs the question why, despite these major differences, the two policy streams resulted in similar outcomes when analyzed at the macro level with national statistics. At the same time, significant cases of successful outcomes for Alaska Natives and for American Indian Tribes of the Lower Forty-Eight challenge the hypothesis of similar outcomes. Alaska Natives and American Indian Tribes created unique and innovative programs in response to these policies. By changing the scope of policy analysis from broad aggregated statistical outcomes to a kaleidoscope of detailed cases we shift the analysis to ask questions about what kinds of indigenous responses to the general federal policy streams might be most effective. Many new questions arise. Would similar responses work for both Alaska Natives and the Tribes of the Lower 48? Do distinctive differences in effective policy responses exist depend on specific factors? What kinds of indigenous policy initiatives break the mold and open the way to success and sustainability?

New!Hide and Skin: An Alaska Tannery Conundrum

Author:Jeri Rubin and Irfan Ahmed

Kellie Olanna and Roger Nayokpuk were co-managers of Shishmaref Traditional Industries (STI), a tannery and small enterprise in the village of Shishmaref, Alaska. The village is located on Sarichef Island in the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait and five miles from the Alaska mainland. STI custom tans furs and hides and retails tanned furs and hides as well as finished fur and hide products. STI is facing an uncertain market, an unreliable supply chain, and dated machinery that inhibits its ability to excel in its business. STI has made a decision to seek funding for new machinery and facilities expansion. In order to justify and support the decision to expand the tannery and undertake a major investment, Olanna and Nayopuk need to conduct industry and market analyses to determine the attractiveness of STI’s industry and market.

The Twilight Saga and the Quileute Indian Tribe: Opportunity or Cultural Exploitation?

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith

This case explores the impact of a blockbuster series of books and films, “The Twilight Saga,” on the Quileute Indian Tribe and the small town of Forks, Washington. The Quileute Indian Reservation and the town of Forks are the setting for the “Twilight” series. Twilight is a story of teenage love between Bella Swan, and a vampire, Edward Cullen. The character, Jacob Black, portrayed as a member of the Quileute Tribe and a werewolf, is also vying for Bella’s affection. Numerous fan clubs have organized around Club Jacob and Club Edward. The case raises questions about the impact of popular culture and the dynamics of community economic development. The case also raises the question about whether this is a story of opportunity or cultural exploitation?

New!Water Quality, Environment and Ethics Under Conditions of Climate Change: Who Speaks for the San Francisco Peaks?

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

This case explores a place where religion, culture, politics and science intersected in the San Francisco Peaks controversy. The controversy began in 1908 when the Peaks first became part of the Forest Service system. When the Arizona Snowbowl, a private resort concession, came to the mountain, pressures grew: corporate owners saw limitations of profit-making proposals as an unfair limitation. Expansionary developments threatened the religion and cultural practices of 13 Arizona Tribes. Concern for pristine natural values associated with the Peaks deepened after designation of the Kachina Wilderness Area in 1984. Drought and climate change strained the mountain’s role in recharging the Inner Basin, and the ski resort’s existence. This case deals with the conflict of values around religion, water, scientific interpretation and land use under conditions of climate change.

New!Sustaining Oomingmak, Sustain Us: Alaska Natives and the Muskox Adapt to Social and Ecological Change

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

This case explores evolutionary adaptation from biological and social-cultural perspectives. Evolutionary forces, including climate change, cultural, and economic change accelerate adaptation and underline the need for adjusting interactions between people and their environment. New relationships between the muskox (Obivos mochatus) and Alaska Natives are evolving. This case leads to questions about what science, economic institutions and traditional knowledge can do to support useful adaptations that contribute to healthy futures for the muskoxen and Alaska Natives. It raises further questions about the domestication of wild species and the impacts of climate change.

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.

Is Anybody Listening?

Author:Charles Luckmann

By relocating 15,000 Navajos, did the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act, Public Law 93-531, violate the civil rights of Navajos living on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona? This case examines the law’s purpose, legal and historical antecedents, and alleged connections to mineral interests coveting the resources on Black Mesa. The case examines the lived experiences and cultures of the Navajos and Hopis affected by P.L. 93-531. It also examines the role the federal government, lawyers, and mineral interests played in precipitating the crisis. The case highlights those Navajos resisting the law. It examines their appeals to the U.S. judiciary for protection of their civil and religious freedoms, and why these appeals failed. The case is an example of how Western-based property law has undermined traditional Native American practices of collaboration and consensus.

Cape Wind and the Sacred Sunrise of the Wampanoag: A Victory for Whom?

Author:Kathleen M. Saul

This is a two part case. Part I of this case explores the technical aspects of the Cape Wind project: the use of turbines to harness the power of the wind and generate electricity, the key factors for wind farm location, and some of the environmental, cultural, and policy issues specific to the construction of Cape Wind. It concluded by asking the question, “Despite tribal resistance to the development, can the outcome of the events surrounding this project be considered a victory for Native American rights?”

Part II of the case begins many months later when it has become obvious that the initial optimism about the inclusion of Native Americans in the decision-making was very short-lived. After exploring the current status of the project, the case briefly demonstrates how existing Acts and legislation fail to protect Indian interests in situations like this one. The case concludes by asking readers to consider what types of actions might cause the government and perhaps even Cape Wind executives to reconsider the decision to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound.

Alberta’s Oil Sands and the Rights of First Nations Peoples to Environmental Health

Author:Lori Lambert, PhD, DS

This case examines health and environmental issues of Alberta’s Cree First Nations and the rights of the Province of Alberta and lease-holders to develop the oil sands to extract petroleum. Although there are many environmental issues associated with the process of extracting the bitumen from the oil tar sands such as climate change, destruction of the boreal forest, and contamination of wetlands and muskegs, this case focuses on the tailings ponds and the environmental health issues that they are causing.

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.

The Indian health paradox: Honoring a treaty right or raising real dollars?

Author:Mark N. Trahant

The United States has a legal and moral obligation to provide health care for American Indian and Alaska Natives. This is a responsibility that has been expressed through treaties, executive orders and federal law. The Indian health system began when the government sent doctors to reservations to inoculate against small pox. Over nearly two centuries, however, the system has evolved into a complex example of government-run health care. Make that two alternative systems: There are direct services delivered by the Indian Health Service. Many tribes say that even though that system is underfunded, it represents the United States fulfillment of treaty obligations. A second system is tribally or tribally-sponsored community health clinics that receive money from a variety of sources, including the Indian Health Service. Is the second system the wave of the future?

What are the Prospects for Energy Futures on Tribal Lands?

Author:Robert S. Cole

This case explores the scientific principles behind renewable energy conversion systems, including solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and biofuel and biomass energies. The intent is to build a basis for understanding the current and potential future uses of renewable energies on tribal lands. The case suggests resources for students to investigate what tribes are already doing with the various types of renewable energies. The case also suggests resources for students to learn about the potential of renewable energy as a source of tribal employment, and to consider what training might be necessary for a career working with various types of renewable energy. This case is a research-based case that has the students doing work outside the classroom. The pedagogical method of this case is to break up a class of students into small groups, each of which will work on a different topic, or a different aspect of a given topic. For example, students might research and one of the following topics: solar power, wind power, biofuel and biomass production, energy conservation, or the energy management of tribal resource. The task for the students working in small groups is to research their topic, and to present their finding back to the class as a whole.

Blowing in the Wind: The Navajo Nation and Uranium

Author:Jovana J. Brown, PhD and Lori Lambert, PhD, DS, RN

The Navajo Nation was the site of extensive uranium mining and milling in the 1950’s through the 1980’s.  This mining and milling has left a terrible legacy for the people and the land.  Mine and mill workers were left with illness caused by radiation exposure.  Many of these workers have since died.  Abandoned mine and mill sites on the Navajo Nation continue to expose residents to harmful radiation.  Water supplies have been contaminated.  The Navajo Nation banned uranium mining in 2005.  Yet the menace of new uranium mines in and immediately adjacent to Navajo communities continues to threaten the Navajos. This case examines the history of uranium on the Navajo Nation and looks at the question of how new mining in and immediately adjacent to the Nation could occur. An appendix to the case briefly examines uranium mining on other American Indian lands.

Aboriginal Education Funding: Who’s In Control?

Author:Alex Marshall

A budgeting decision made by a Board of Education in a school district in British Columbia, Canada helped address serious budget shortfalls in the School District but it became the basis of conflict between the school district and the Aboriginal communities. They felt the Board had not honored its commitment to support the Enhancement Agreement, a five year educational plan signed in partnership with Aboriginal communities, to improve Aboriginal student success. The Board’s decision to appropriate $44,000 of funding targeted for Aboriginal programs without consulting Aboriginal community representatives retriggered community mistrust of school systems and raised anew concerns about prejudice and racism. This case can be taught as an interrupted case with discussion at the end of Part 1 and then Part 2.

Should the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Invest in a Woody Biomass Co-generation Facility?

Author:Kathleen M. Saul

Decades of fire suppression have left the national forests overgrown, littered with dead branches, leaves, and pine needles, and vulnerable to catastrophic wild fires. Global climate change has prompted an interest in sources of electricity that emit less carbon dioxide than coal. Those two factors come together as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs decide whether to build a facility that uses woody materials (“biomass”) to generate electricity. The case explores some of the environmental, regulatory, and economic factors the Tribes might want to consider in their decision making process.

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.

Should the Navajo Nation Build a Coal-Fired Power Plant?

Author:Jovana Brown and Nora Trahant

This two part case examines the proposal of the Navajo Nation to build a coal-fired power plant to generate electricity on its land. Part A explores the reasons why the Navajo Nation wishes to build the plant.  Part B describes the opposition which questions whether it should be built. The Navajo Nation says that this plant will have the lowest emissions of any coal-fired plant in the United States and will bring important economic benefits to the Navajo Nation by providing jobs and a steady source of revenue.  President Joe Shirley of the Navajo Nation states that the Nation chose to pursue this project as an exercise of its sovereignty. Opponents of the plant, many of whom are Navajo tribal members, say that this plant should not be built.  They say it will add considerably to air pollution already in the area and constitute a serious health hazard.  In addition to Navajo tribal members, the Governor of New Mexico, the Ute Mountain Tribe, and local environmental groups oppose the project. 

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.

Tribes and Watersheds in Washington State

Author:Brown, Jovana J.

A new employee in the Natural Resources Division of X Indian Nation is asked to report on the Washington state Watershed Management Act of 1998. The question is should the tribe join this planning process? In order to make her report, Jane must learn about tribal - state relations, federal and state water policy, Indian federal reserved water rights, water law in Washington state, and the background to the legislation including the tribes participation in the Chelan Agreement in the early 1990's. This case takes the employee through the process of learning about these issues.

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.

Sovereign Still From the Forest to the Plains

Author:Stumpff, Linda Moon

This case chronicles the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes' success in implementing a policy to maintain administrative authority over their lands and natural resources. Set in the early period of the self-determination era, the Tribes confront federal policy to establish their own forestry and wildlife management plan. Their actions honor their culture while developing sustainable plans for their natural resources. The decision of the Tribal government in this case opens the way for broader land and natural resource management strategies for the future.