Speaker: Robert Miller

The Role of Entrepreneurship in Achieving Sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples
Friday, April 4, 3–4:30 pm
IRMACS Centre, Applied Sciences Building (ASB) 10900 and live webcast
(Map of how to get to the IRMACS Centre)
As seats are limited, please reserve online.

This lecture will be webcast live and questions during the live webcast can be emailed to gradstudies@sfu.ca or tweeted @SFU_GradStudies (#PDCSFU). We'll read out any questions received during the Q&A period after the lecture. The webcast will be viewable here.

Robert Miller is Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. Robert J. Miller’s areas of expertise are civil procedure, federal Indian law, American Indians and international law, American Indian economic development and Native American natural resources.

An enrolled citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, he is the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of the Grand Ronde Tribe and sits as a judge for other tribes.

The recording of the webcast is now available on Youtube:

Robert Miller: The Role of Entrepreneurship in Achieving Indigenous Sovereignty Lecture Notes

  • 15:30 – Doing nothing is much worse than investing in economies on reservation.
  • 17:30 – It’s false to think that North American Indians don’t believe in ownership. That’s a colonial interpretation that doesn’t reflect that reality that there were property right regimes.
  • 26:00 – We’ve got to do this for ourselves. We can’t rely on the United States to do it for us and, to do so, we need to look back at the ways we’ve always done it. Self-sufficiency is self-determination.
  • 31:30 – In Oregon, for every 1,000 people at large, 81 own a business. For natives in Oregon, only 14 in 1,000 own a business. There is an absence of the private sector on reservation. Obstacles include human and financial capital.
  • 37:32  - He discusses two economic concepts – leakage and multiplier effect – and ultimately argues for the need for private investment on reserve.
  • 45:00 – We have a financial literacy shortfall among American Indians.
  • 45:30 – Tribal governments play a crucial role. You have to have a bureaucracy that functions, and a tribal court that’s independent and unbiased.
  • 49:41 – Tribal councils can assist by being clients of Indian-owned business.
  • 51:50 – Sovereignty is when a political body exercises power that’s jurisdictional over a defined territory and all the people that come there. There’s political and de facto sovereignty. It’s tied into cultural and economic development, namely an ability to support oneself towards supporting others.
  • 53:40 – I’m talking about enriching our communities so they can survive for the next seven generations.

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