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How Are Tribal Economies Faring Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic?

A Center for Indian Country Development Policy Webinar Series session explored solutions to promote tribal economic development

March 24, 2021 | 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. CT
Virtual Video Event

How Are Tribal Economies Faring Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Center for Indian Country Development (CICD) Director Casey Lozar launched our CICD Policy Webinar Series, a set of virtual forums focused on understanding and addressing the systemic limitations and structural barriers that constrain tribal self-determination and the modernization of tribal economies. The series informs policymakers and their advisors on how tribal governments labor to provide an optimal yet shifting mix of public goods and services under conditions of scarcity and limited autonomy. Throughout the series, thought leaders are exploring potential policy actions that can improve the collective good of Indian Country.

The series kicked off on March 24 with a session focused on the question “How Are Tribal Economies Faring Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic?” Due to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on service-oriented industries such as gaming, Indian Country has been especially vulnerable to this period of economic contraction. At the kick-off event, tribal policy experts, economists, researchers, and tribal leaders engaged in a national policy conversation around the delivery of government services and how tribal governments are making difficult choices to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and strategize into the future. Speakers:

  • Provided a snapshot of the challenges and contrived limits tribal governments confront to provide public goods in Indian Country;
  • Discussed how the coronavirus pandemic is amplifying limitations of public infrastructure, and how tribes are responding; and
  • Elevated policy solutions that enhance tribal sovereignty and meet the needs of tribal citizens.


  • Dr. Miriam Jorgensen, Research Director and Research Professor, Native Nations Institute, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona; Research Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Dr. Randall Akee, American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program Chair and American Indian Culture and Research Journal Editor, University of California Los Angeles
  • Leonard Forsman, Chairman, Suquamish Tribe; Board Chair, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
  • Shelley Buck, President, Prairie Island Indian Community; Vice Chairwoman, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council

Watch for information on future events in our CICD Policy Webinar Series, which will focus on tribal enterprise, tribal taxation, growing the tribal economic field, and financing mechanisms and tax tools.

Event Details

Virtual Video Event