25-4 Summer 2014 “Nation Building” Resource Guide

Volume 25, No. 4 - Summer 2014
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPrint this page

Nation building is a complex and multidimensional process. Indeed, the term “process” limits our understanding—but so does “issue,” “theme,” or even “endeavor.” In a sense, nearly any source that engages the social, political, economic, historical, or cultural development of American Indian nations encompasses some facet of nation building. Of course one of my jobs as editor of the Tribal College Journal is to set thematic parameters. When receiving story ideas for this issue, it seemed to me that natural resource exploitation and economic development were central to Native nation building efforts. Many tribal lands hold a tremendous amount of mineral or natural wealth, as the title of Helen Hu’s feature article, “Soil and Oil, Trees and Seas,” makes clear. And this wealth is being harnessed by Native nations to strengthen their respective economies and improve infrastructure.

Tribal college and university leaders also recognize this and have therefore increasingly invested in programs designed to train students for jobs and positions that tap into this natural wealth. At the same time, however, a deep respect for and connection to the Earth remains a—perhaps the—cornerstone principle of many Native cultures. Unbridled exploitation, as carried out by many unscrupulous, profit-driven energy companies, is anathema to most Indigenous cultures. Hence, a balancing act is needed, allowing Indian people to at once rebuild their respective nations, and care for Mother Earth.

Many of the sources listed below engage this dichotomy in some respect. I tried to include reference materials that encompass economic development and environmental consciousness. Similarly, as a historian, I think it imperative to include sources that uncover the roots of modern Native nation building—or rebuilding. Indeed, Indigenous peoples throughout North and South America had constructed vibrant societies, stable political systems, and sustainable economies prior to the European invasion.

I have organized this resource guide into three sections. First, are important U.S. government acts from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries that have had profound effects on American Indians’ efforts to rebuild their nations. Some, such as the General Allotment Act, worked to tear down tribal societies; others, such as the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, have strengthened them. The second section is a short list of government and corporate reports pertaining to various facets of nation building. I have included reports on gaming, natural resource development, environmental impact assessments, as well as more general statements on economic development. Third, is a cross section of scholarly books and articles that I hope readers will find useful.



Adult Indian Vocational Training Act, P.L. 959, August 3, 1956, 70 Stat. 986.

Alaska Native Reorganization Act, May 1, 1936, U.S. Statutes at Large, 49.

Energy Policy Act, P.L. 109-58, July 29, 2005, 119 Stat. 594.

Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act, P.L. 97-451, January 12, 1982, 96 Stat. 2457.

General Allotment Act, February 8, 1887, 24 Stat. 388.

House Concurrent Resolution 108, August 1, 1953, 67 Stat. B132.

Indian Environmental Regulatory Enhancement Act, P.L. 101-408, October 4, 1990, 104 Stat. 883.

Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, P.L. 100-497, October 17, 1988, 102 Stat. 2467.

Indian Mineral Development Act, P.L. 97-382, December 22, 1982, 96 Stat. 1938.

Indian Reorganization Act, June 18, 1934, 48 Stat. 984.

Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, P.L. 93-68, January 4, 1975, 88 Stat. 2203.

Indian Timber Contracts Act, March 4, 1933, U.S. Statutes at Large, 47, pt. 1:1568–1569.

Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58, August 8, 2005, Title V, 109th Cong., 1st sess.

National Indian Forest Resources Management Act, P.L. 101-630, November 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 4532.


Cornell, S., Kalt, J., Krepps, M., & Taylor, J. (1998). American Indian gaming policy and its socioeconomic effects: A report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Cambridge, MA: Economics Resource Group.

Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. (2000). Tribal governance success stories: Honoring nations 2000. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. (2008). The state of the Native nations: Conditions under U.S. policies of self-determination. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Hillabrant, W., Earp, J., Rhoades, M., & Pindus, N. (2004). Overcoming challenges to business and economic development in Indian Country. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Meriam, L., Brown, R.A., Cloud, H.R., Dale, E.E., Duke, E., Edwards, H., …Spillman, W.J. (1928). The problem of Indian administration: Report made at the request of the honorable Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior, and submitted to him, February 21, 1928. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press.

National Indian Gaming Commission Report to Congress. (1991). White House Office of Records Management, Indians subject file (Box 3, Folder 296253-301061). College Station, TX: George Bush Presidential Library.

Second Indian Forest Management Assessment Team. (2003). An assessment of Indian forests and forest management in the United States. Portland, OR: Intertribal Timber Council.

Task Force Eight: Urban and Rural Non-reservation Indians. (1976). Report on urban and rural non-reservation Indians. Final report to the American Indian Policy Review Commission. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Taylor, J.B., & Kalt, J.P. (2005). American Indians on reservations: A data-book of socioeconomic change between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress. (1969). Toward economic development for Native American communities. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2000). Drinking water quality in Indian Country: Protecting your sources. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

U.S. Government Accounting Office. (2004). Indian economic development (GAO-04-847). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Articles and Books

Ambler, M. (1990). Breaking the iron bonds: Indian control of energy development. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Bauer, W.J., Jr. (2009). We were all like migrant workers here: Work, community, and memory on California’s Round Valley Reservation, 1850-1941. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Braun, S.F. (2008). Buffalo Inc.: American Indians and economic development. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Carlson, L.A. (1981). Indians, bureaucrats, and land: The Dawes Act and the decline of Indian farming. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Cattelino, J. (2008). High stakes: Florida Seminole gaming and sovereignty. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Chamberlain, K.P. (2000). Under sacred ground: A history of Navajo oil, 1922-1982. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Chandler, D. (2006). Empire in denial: The politics of state-building. London: Pluto Press.

Cohen, F. (1947). Original Indian title. Minnesota Law Review, 32, 28–59.

Cornell, S., & Kalt, J.P. (1992). What can tribes do? Strategies and institutions in American Indian economic development. Los Angeles, CA: University of California, American Indian Studies Center.

Cornell, S., & Kalt, J.P. (1995). Where does economic development really come from? Constitutional rule among the contemporary Sioux and Apache. Economic Inquiry, 33, 402–426.

Cornell, S., & Kalt, J.P. (2000). Where’s the glue? Institutional and cultural foundations of American Indian economic development. Journal of Socio-Economics, 29, 443–470.

Cowger, T.W. (1999). The National Congress of American Indians: The founding years. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Eisler, K.I. (2001). Revenge of the Pequots: How a small Native American tribe created the world’s most profitable casino. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Fixico, D.L. (1986). Termination and relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945-1960. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Fixico, D.L. (2013). Indian resilience and rebuilding: Indigenous nations in the modern American West. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

Grinde, D.A., Johansen, B.E., & Zinn, H. (1995). The ecocide of Native America: Environmental destruction of Indian lands and peoples. Santa Fe, NM: Clear Light Publishers.

Grindle, M.S. (Ed.). (1997). Getting good government: Capacity building in the public sector of developing countries. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Institute for International Development.

Hughes, J.D. (1983). American Indian ecology. El Paso, TX: Texas Western Press.

Lane, A.I., Sr. (1995). Return of the buffalo: The story behind America’s Indian gaming explosion. Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.

Legters, L.H., & Lyden, F.J. (Eds.). (1994). American Indian policy: Self-governance and economic development. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Lemont, E.D. (Ed.). (2006). American Indian constitutional reform and the rebuilding of Native nations. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Lewis, D.R. (1995). Native Americans and the environment: A survey of twentieth-century issues. American Indian Quarterly, 19(3), 423–450.

MacDonald, P., & Schwarz, T. (1993). The last warrior: Peter MacDonald and the Navajo Nation. New York, NY: Orbis.

Mason, W.D. (2000). Indian gaming: Tribal sovereignty and American politics. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Otis, D.S. (1973). The Dawes Act and the allotment of Indian lands. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Parman, D. (1994). Indians and the American West in the twentieth century. Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press.

Prucha, F.P. (1986). The great father: The United States government and the American Indian. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Reno, P. (1981). Mother Earth, Father Sky, and economic development: Navajo resources and their use. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Rosier, P.C. (2001). Rebirth of the Blackfeet Nation, 1912-1954. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Shreve, B. (2006). Up against giants: The National Indian Youth Council, the Navajo Nation, and coal gasification, 1974-1977. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 30(2), 17–34.

Smith, D.H. (2000). Modern tribal development: Paths to self-sufficiency and cultural integrity in Indian Country. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Snipp, M. (Ed.). (1988). Public policy impacts on American Indian economic development. Albuquerque, NM: Native American Studies Institute on Native American Development.

Spence, M.D. (1999). Dispossessing the wilderness: Indian removal and the making of the national parks. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Thorne, T. (2005). The world’s richest Indian: The scandal over Jackson Barnett’s oil fortune. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Ulrich, R. (2010). American Indian nations from termination to restoration, 1953-2006. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

Washburn, W. (1975). The assault on Indian tribalism: The General Allotment Law of 1887. Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott.

Weisiger, M. (1999). Dreaming of sheep in Navajo Country. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

Wilkinson, C. (2000). Messages from Frank’s Landing: A story of salmon, treaties, and the Indian Way. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

Zah, P., & Iverson, P. (2012). We will secure our future: Empowering the Navajo Nation. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

2017 AIHEC Student Poetry Slam


On the opening evening of the 2017 AIHEC Student Conference in Rapid City, students from an array of TCUs entertained conference goers with the spoken word at the annual poetry slam. View the video

Life of a Tribal College Mom


I Am an Ancestor’s Dream

Change, especially institutional change, takes time-and instead of just throwing our hands up in the air we should take it slow, each of us has our own roles to play.

. Read more →