Indian Country, especially its new middle class, wields formidable purchasing power, spending millions upon millions of dollars annually on goods and services. Yet “[o]n most reservations, there are few retail stores and tribal members must go off reservation and pay state taxes on everything they buy. Nationwide, this amounts to $246 million annually in tax revenues to state governments.” Although the infrastructure needed to support a robust reservation retail sector is largely still lacking in Indian Country, tribal citizens can still buy Indian/local, most notably via the Internet, where all varieties of tribal retail goods and services are available for sale. Indeed, "when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community." This is especially true in Indian Country.
To the extent there are retail stores and/or tribally authorized sales taxation on a reservation, "locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base."
Indian Country, starting this Black Friday and throughout this holiday season, buy Indian, buy local; buy early and often. Hopefully if you give Indian, you shall receive Indian. Either way, make the effort to buy from your tribal community or to buy from the inter-tribal economy via the Internet, rather than buying from non-tribal economies. Yes, we can.
Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm. He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California. He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via galandabroadman.com.