As the bold new world of e-commerce continues to evolve, it raises questions about the future of tribal lending.
The sovereign rights of Native American tribes includes – and should always include – the right to economic self determination and self reliance. The tribes have the legal standing to make their own decisions about their future, their finances, and welfare of their tribal members.
This includes the ability to license and regulate activities on tribal lands, and to levy taxes and foster the growth of commerce as they see fit.
In the past the tribes activities, including tribal lending, were trapped in between the borders of their land.
E-commerce has changed the way business is done. How should it impact the tribes and their commerce?
Why is Tribal Lending So Important?
It is a popular misconception that all Native tribes profit from gaming. In fact, out of hundreds of sovereign tribes, only a handful of them benefit from gambling or gaming.
A great many more tribes engage in tribal lending as a way to generate revenue for the tribe. This gives more tribes the ability to grow and diversify their local economies, and to foster economic independence.
Many tribes are located remotely from major population center. E-commerce helps them overcome this geographic isolation and reach a much larger markets.
In essence, tribal economies need the availability of outside commerce. To shut down tribal lending and inhibit the rapid growth of e-commerce, it unduly damages the tribes and their ability to earn.
What is the Problem with E-Commerce?
The only problem with tribal lending is that the profits go to the tribe and not the state or federal government. Tribal sovereignty means the tribe itself gets to set the terms and control the commerce.
The government does not like it when they do not get a percentage of any business transaction.
Although tribal lending makes up a tiny percentage of the U.S. economy, it still translates to billions of dollars every year. The government would like a taste of that money. This is why they constantly seek to undermine tribal sovereignty and impose new rules or limits on established laws.
In other words, there is no problem with tribal lending!