The Challenges of American Indian Land Tenure and the Vastness of Entrepreneurial Potential

Creating Private Sector Economies in Native America: Sustainable Development through Entrepreneurship, Robert J. Miller, Miriam Jorgensen, Daniel Stewart eds, Cambridge University Press, 2019

28 Pages Posted: 12 May 2020

See all articles by Jessica A. Shoemaker

Jessica A. Shoemaker

University of Nebraska - College of Law

Date Written: January 22, 2019

Abstract

This chapter explores the link between entrepreneurship and the larger project of reservation land tenure reform. Many scholars draw a connection between land-tenure design and economic development generally. This chapter provides a more detailed analysis of current reservation land tenure dynamics and the specific challenges these systems can create for private economic development. Despite this current system’s widely recognized economic and non-economic perils, successful reservation land reforms have proven incredibly difficult to achieve. In order to encourage more land-tenure innovation, this chapter flips the land reform conversation on its head. Instead of focusing solely on land reform strategies to promote economic development, this chapter explores how supporting entrepreneurship itself might, in turn, drive more experimental, innovative, and flexible Indigenous-led land reform. Entrepreneurs tend to thrive in the kind of uncertain legal environment that is otherwise seen as a problem in Indian country, and entrepreneurs might therefore be uniquely well suited to navigate reservation legal landscapes in creative ways. Entrepreneurship can be a powerful catalyst both to improve reservation economies and to support Indigenous efforts to reclaim and sustain local land ethics and community property law choices.

Keywords: Land Tenure, Land Reform, Entrepreneurship, Indigenous, American Indian, Economic Development, Tribal Government, Property System Change, Adaptive Property Law, Trust

JEL Classification: K11, O13, P14, P48

Suggested Citation

Shoemaker, Jessica A., The Challenges of American Indian Land Tenure and the Vastness of Entrepreneurial Potential (January 22, 2019). Creating Private Sector Economies in Native America: Sustainable Development through Entrepreneurship, Robert J. Miller, Miriam Jorgensen, Daniel Stewart eds, Cambridge University Press, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3477317

Jessica A. Shoemaker (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska - College of Law ( email )

103 McCollum Hall
P.O. Box 830902
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
United States

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