Indigenous Perspectives on Corporate Governance

53 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020 Last revised: 28 Aug 2022

See all articles by Grant Christensen

Grant Christensen

Stetson University - College of Law

Date Written: July 31, 2021


The foundation of the modern corporation is built upon the separation of labor and capital. These entities were anathema to most Indigenous peoples when the Virginia Company was chartered in 1606 for the purpose of settling American lands. Over centuries of colonization federal law worked to assimilate Native Americans. Tribes were encouraged, even forced, to create their own corporate entities. Indelibly, consistent with their inherent sovereignty, Indigenous groups fused autochthonous legal principles into these corporate structures. Today, in the shadow of the #BLM movement and societal demands that corporations become more responsive to their communities and to the environment, shareholder primacy has reached its nadir. As corporate governance seeks to replace it with something stakeholder centered autochthonous principles gleaned from Indigenous corporations offer a way forward. These proposed reforms are as varied as the chthonic law they are built upon and range from making nature itself a corporate shareholder to issuing shares that gain voting rights only after they have been held to maturity.

Keywords: Indian, Indigenous, Native American, Tribe, Tribal Governance, Corporate Governance, Corporate Law, Sustainability, Autochthonous, Chthonic, shareholder, stakeholder, shareholder primacy

Suggested Citation

Christensen, Grant, Indigenous Perspectives on Corporate Governance (July 31, 2021). 23 U. Penn. J. Bus. L. 902 (2021), Available at SSRN: or

Grant Christensen (Contact Author)

Stetson University - College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States

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