The Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues provides the people of Indian country with pragmatic research products that can be employed to improve the quality of life for Native Americans throughout the US. The Center fulfills this mission by bringing the resources of the University to Native communities; developing collaborative, community-driven research projects; providing technical assistance and training; and hosting public events.
In this thesis, I will assess the various factors that are believed to have a significant impact on economic conditions on American Indian reservations. Drawing upon literature related to the lingering effects of colonialism, social fragmentation and ineffective government institutions experienced by American Indian tribes and Native Alaskan villages, this study hypothesizes that the rate of poverty and the rate of unemployment on designated American Indian Areas (AIAs) is directly related to measures of dependency on the federal government, social cohesion on the reservation, and strength of governance institutions. In order to test these predictions I have analyzed a data set containing information on 352 American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native villages in the United States. I will measure these factors with the use of ordinary least squares regression (OLS) techniques. I am interested in answering the general questions: What are the factors and conditions that contribute to economic prosperity on reservations? Exactly why are some tribes economically prosperous, while other tribes struggle? In order to answer these questions, I examine a set of frameworks relating to measures of dependency on the federal government, social cohesion, and strength of governance.
This report presents findings from a recently completed pilot project that examined fatality and injury rates involving pedestrians and motorists on main thoroughfares in or near Indian country in Humboldt County, California. Every year thousands of motorists die and millions more are injured on the nation’s roadways. But while the number of fatal crashes nationally has declined by 2% over the past 25 years, the number of vehicle-related fatalities in or near Indian country has increased over 50%. In order to understand the reasons for this increase and to begin developing safety countermeasures, we need better data documenting the problem. This pilot study combined analysis of CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) database and other sources of crash data with GIS mapping to document the areas in or near Indian country in Humboldt County with the highest rates of vehicle related injuries and fatalities over the past five years. The report includes analysis ofrates of traffic collisions involving fatalities in or near Indian Country over a five-year period (2004-2009) in Humboldt County; the number of these collisions involving youth, pedestrians, alcohol, and DUI; and the effect of a new casino on the rate of collisions involving fatalities and severe injuries. The report concludes with recommendations for next steps that might be taken to improve traffic safety in Indian country, including identifying hotspots, working with tribal police to document all traffic injuries, andworking with tribal members to assess risk conditions and evaluate safety efforts. The results of the analysis will be used to help Native nations document the dangers associated with roadways that, while they run through Indian country, are the responsibility of the state to ensure safe passage.