Kalt, a joint author of the study, is that the impressive success derives from federal support for tribal self-determination, formally inaugurated by President Richard Nixon.
Tribal gaming, he added, is a subset of this policy. Economic gap remains ''If you look at the policy of self determination,'' Kalt told Indian Country Today, ''you would conclude that it is the best policy in or years for solid progress in taking the tribes out of poverty.
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There was some concern, in fact, that the gains shown in the study would obscure the enormous economic gap that remains between Indian country and the dominant culture. Co-author Jonathan B. Taylor noted that although real per capita income grew at a much faster rate for Indians than for the U.
Kennedy School of Government. He is also co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, which has produced hundreds of studies of tribal governance and sponsors an annual award for outstanding tribal programs. Taylor, a Research Fellow at the Harvard Project, has also written a number of contract studies on the economic impact of tribal gaming through a private consulting group.
In releasing the report, Harvard acknowledged financial support from the National Indian Gaming Association but emphasized university and Kennedy School policy denying outside funders any editorial control over its content. One of the most telling categories in the report was personal income. For Indians living on reservations, real adjusted for inflation per capita income grew 33 percent in the '90s, compared to the U. Yet in the U. Source of money Furthermore, this wasn't the fastest growth in recent decades. During the s, the reservation income grew by 49 percent.
But the difference is the source of the money. The '70s growth came largely from government programs, and when these abruptly ended in the Reagan years, reservation income dropped off too. By the end of the s it had fallen by 8 percent. The '90s growth came in a period of continued federal cutbacks. But casinos were by no means the whole story of the Indian economy. Kalt and Taylor used a series of methods to break out what was really going on and found to their surprise that in one broad look income grew faster for non-gaming tribes than gaming tribes.
Eliminating distorting factors, they arrived at a growth rate of 36 percent for gaming reservations, three times the national rate, compared to 21 percent for most non-gaming reservations, nearly twice the national rate. This result might confound the stereotypes of the mass media, but it fits the realities of Indian country.
Regis Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in Upstate New York, make relatively little profit from their remote casinos and for years actually suffered losses under previous non-tribal management. Some of the analysis used by Kalt and Taylor corrected for the extreme wealth earned by tribes with small populations and so gave a truer picture.
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