President Endorses Focus on Giving Tribes the Tools to Generate Jobs and Economic Development on Their Own Terms
WASHINGTON, DC (November 9, 2015) – The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) today applauded President Barack Obama’s remarks at the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference, where he advocated for working to increase opportunities for tribes to create jobs and build sustainable economic enterprises.
“President Obama is absolutely correct that encouraging long-term economic development opportunities for sovereign tribes that promote their self-sufficiency should be a primary focus for the federal government,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “The President should be commended for recognizing this fundamental need, and for his commitment to preserving tribal consultation rights.”
At the conference, President Obama stated: “We need to do more to safeguard tribal consultation rights across the federal government. … Obviously not every tribe is the same. I mean, there are now tribes that are doing really well because of gaming, or because of natural resources that they’ve been able to harness, have development ideas that they’re moving forward on. And then there are other communities that are having a tougher time. So the first thing is for us to listen to each tribe and find out, okay, what can we do? On almost every measure, whether it’s housing, education, economic development, health care, we’ve been trying to boost resources that are available. And that’s really important, so we’re really focused on how do we build up the infrastructure in reservations that are having a tough time? … We have to think about sustainable development. So the idea is not just that the tribe is getting money from the federal government. The question is how do we give tribes the tools whereby they can start generating jobs and economic development and progress on their own terms within their communities. And I think that is where we have to really focus.”
“The innovative tribes that are members of NAFSA are already hard at work fulfilling the President’s vision of sustainable economic development by leveraging the capabilities of e-commerce and offering financial service products to underbanked Americans,” Brandon continued. “We look forward to seeing the President’s words put into action throughout all federal agencies as NAFSA continues to represent our members on the many relevant issues being debated by policymakers.”
The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.