Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Native American Indians and Large Corporations: Examples of Successful Collaborations

We read a fair amount in the media, in various scholarly studies and journal articles, and from activists and NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) about how corporations are exploiting or using indigenous peoples and their lands. Common examples of such negative associations between corporations and indigenous peoples includes mining companies and their various projects around the world (such as with the Dongria Kondh indigenous people and Vedanta Resources), oil and gas companies and their exploitation of natural resources on indigenous lands (such as in Ecuador with oil drilling impacts to the A'ingae and Cofan indigenous peoples), or in terms of intellectual property and bioprospecting (such as with drug discovery, biological diversity, and intellectual property rights). However, what we don’t often hear about is how indigenous peoples have also successfully worked and collaborated with many large companies for the mutual benefit of both.

Reminded by a query from a colleague about a roundtable session I organized and chaired at the 2007 annual Society for Applied Anthropology conference entitled Indigenous Strategies for Mitigating Impacts from Large-scale Natural Resource Exploitation, I decided to ask some of my friends and colleagues if they could think of some positive examples of Native American Indian tribes working collaboratively with large corporations.

Several examples came back:

  • The Hilton Chain and Pojoaque Pueblo
  • The Hyatt Chain and Santa Ana Pueblo
  • Jicarilla Apache Nation and John D. Jones Engineering Inc.
  • Jicarilla Apache Nation and Advanced Resources International
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Golder Associates, Inc.
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Legacy Energy Corporation
  • Harrah’s and the Eastern Band of Cherokee
  • Seminole Nation of Florida and Agricultural Production
  • Osage Tribe and Dauben International Energy Consultants
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
  • Northwest Alaska Native Association and TechCominco and Advanced Resources International
  • Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes and GCRL Energy Ltd.
  • Ute Indian Tribe and Black Coral LLC
  • Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation and Marathon Oil Company

I highly doubt these are all the examples out there. If you know of an example or two of a successful collaboration between Native American Indians and large corporations, please leave a comment and contribute it to the list. Together we can make this an informative and useful resource.

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