Indian Country

Indian Country Currents
Minneapolis Fed Appoints Patrice Kunesh as Co-Director of Center for Indian Country Development
Coming soon: The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis will establish a Center for Indian Country Development.
October 2014 fedgazette explores population growth on American Indian reservations.
The U.S. Treasury's CDFI Fund has awarded a total of $12.4 million to organizations that serve Native American communities.
Tanya Fiddler, executive director of Four Bands Community Fund, has been appointed to the federal Community Development Advisory Board.
Narayana Kocherlakota's welcoming remarks at the Conference on the Law and Economics of Indian Country Economic Development.
Citi Foundation has awarded the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance $141,000 to support a new statewide entrepreneurship initiative.
Four Ninth District organizations are among 16 Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) selected to attend The Leadership Journey, a new capacity-building training program from the CDFI Fund.
What's different about economic development in Indian Country? Narayana Kocherlakota's speech at Growing Economies in Indian Country: A National Summit. May 1, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

Economic Development in Native Communities

The Minneapolis Fed’s Community Development Department has been engaged in promoting economic development in Indian Country for more than 15 years. Our emphasis is on helping tribes build governance, infrastructure, financial access, and resources to support sustainable private business development in Native communities. For more on our approach, please visit the Business Development Model page.

We focus our efforts in four primary areas:

  1. Developing Native entrepreneurship and small business ownership and
  2. Broadening access to capital for Native-owned small businesses.

    Community Development is a founding and active partner in Indian Business Alliances that work to promote entrepreneurship and capital access in the Ninth Federal Reserve District’s Native communities. Currently, there are active Indian Business Alliances in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. For more information, visit the Indian Business Alliances tab on this page (above).

  3. Developing tribal legal infrastructure to support business activity.

    In many Native communities, private business development may be hindered because federal laws and procedures governing matters such as lending, commerce, and property ownership are absent or insufficient. Since 2002, Community Development has worked closely with the Uniform Law Commission and tribal representatives on initiatives to help tribes select and build a sound legal infrastructure that can support private business development in Indian Country.

  4. Highlights:

    Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act. Completed in 2005, the Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act is a flexible, culturally appropriate model law designed to facilitate a type of lending that is crucial for starting and sustaining private businesses. Community Development serves as a national leader for outreach and training on the Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act.

    For further reading:

    For information or technical assistance on tribal legal infrastructure development, contact:

    • Sue Woodrow
      Branch Executive
      Helena Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
      (406) 447-3806

    Model Tribal Probate Code. Community Development serves on a Uniform Law Commission steering committee for the development of draft tribal legislation that will address the significant issue of fractionated trust land—an issue that severely affects the use of land value as collateral in seeking capital. Proposed next steps in the initiative include researching the barriers and potential solutions for freeing up the value held in trust and restricted lands while preserving land ownership, tribal jurisdiction, and tribal sovereignty.

  5. Supporting Native financial education and Native credit counseling initiatives.

    Community Development supports financial education initiatives by working with the Indian Business Alliances and statewide financial education coalitions, such as the Montana Financial Education Coalition; by publishing information on Native financial education; and by hosting educational events.

    For further reading:

    For further information: