The pandemic may have hit Tribal economies hard, but it has also shone a light on a difficult yet necessary to face truth: that Tribal Nations must reduce federal dependency and become more self-sufficient. Because the day will come when another global or national turn of events will impact Indian Country and Tribal economies. So Tribes must insulate and prepare.
Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation Chairman Mark N. Fox emphasized this during the Native Business Virtual Summit (NBVS) live broadcast in November 2020 — that asserting Tribal self-reliance is the only pathway to economic and cultural preservation.
“There’s a hard lesson to be learned here in this pandemic for all Tribal Nations. And that lesson is that you do things for yourself, you plan ahead for calamities such as this. You reserve your capital, you strengthen your ability to stand by yourself,” Chairman Fox said in a one-on-one interview with Native Business Founder, Publisher and CEO Gary Davis during the NBVS.
“Because what we’re finding out during the pandemic, especially our Tribe, is that we’ll be left out in the cold when it comes to the United States government and restimulating our economy, restimulating our energy development, and basically helping accommodate for our losses. We aren’t even close to 25% in revenue from the federal government in comparison to our losses.”