Beautiful Children

Fourth World Eye

Taxing Tribal Resources


States’ governments like the US, Canada and Mexico are looking for new revenue sources that can be tapped without much political blow-back from voters. Tribal natural resources and economic activities inside tribal territories are increasingly the targets of legislator seeking to prop up the sagging states’ government revenues.

Tribal resources have always been extremely valuable to the US, Canadian and Mexican economies especially as long as those resources remained accessible for little or no cost. Indeed, as long as the US and its states scratch to find more tax revenues the confiscatory efforts will continue at both the direct extraction and taxation levels.  As long a Indian governments and indigenous assemblies fail to preempt the state, counties and federal government, these governments will continue to move toward raising revenues from tribal resources.

Tribal governments must impose their own taxes on businesses (non-Indian included) and use their taxation powers to promote policies that advance tribal rights, tribal member economic security and tribal jurisdiction.  The movement toward such full blown exercise of governmental power has been timidly approach for more than 45 years.  It is now time to institute tribal taxation with tribal regulation in accord with tribal customary laws.

Non-Indians have been making enormous profits off of tribal lands through leased and owned land and tribal governments have too often been modest about their taxation powers.

With the incoming states’ governments swinging right I think we will all agree that federal legislation in all three governments to protect Indian governments from infringements and tax encroachments will not see the light of day.  Indigenous governments must act themselves to preempt external encroachments.

Posted in Economy

One Comment

  1. In light of the revelations in Cobell v Kempthorne regarding theft of tribal royalties and leasing revenues by corporations in collusion with the Department of Interior, it's clear that tribal sovereignty has little hope of surviving the economic turmoil brought on by the Wall Street heist of 2007-8. As the crisis intensifies, predation and scapegoating can be expected to escalate as well. Without an adequately funded independent communications infrastructure, tribal governments are at the mercy of the corporate media, which in turn represents those interests committed to further plundering tribal resources. As the only power remaining to tribes is that of moral sanction, making their case through mass communication is essential.

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