American Indian tribes once operated regional trade centers, with broad geographical impact. With the arrival of European traders and settlers, this system began to erode, and later, the treaty and reservation system effectively eliminated the regional Indian economic market. Under the policies of measured separatism and assimilation, American Indians had no broad geographic power. Recently, as the policy of self-determination has taken hold, Indian tribes have begun to assert their economic power through federal government contracts, casino gaming, and trade agreements with foreign governments. This Article argues that this rising involvement has caused a backlash, and that holdover American government policy favoring assimilation and dependence threatens to frustrate emerging tribal participation in the broader economy.
Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Indian Tribal Businesses and the Off-Reservation Market, 12 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1047 (2008).