As I work on a paper on Native American Economic systems during the post-Thanksgiving melee that happens every year, it’s easy to forget that when it comes to issues of socioeconomic status, and race, Native Americans (known as First Nations in Canada) are often the “forgotten” people.
In the economic front, Native American economics follow a Thorstein Veblen-esque type of model, and places upper limits on consumption. This is how they’ve been able to sustain a resource-rich environment for eons. The problem in modernity is not the lack of resources, but government’s allowing Native Americans access to those resources, whether under a Native economic system, or a western capitalist economic system.
There are a lot of “native only” issues that far overshadow anything race or social class, and in a bad way. Here’s a few of them, which speak for themselves (click on each chart for larger image):
It’s without the equal access to resources that we see Gini coefficients rise, and is the quagmire that western economies face today. So assuming that Native Americans have access to resources that would allow them to educate their people, give them a decent home to live in, and access to better levels of health care, whether Native-based or western based, I can find few things wrong with a model that provides for the equal distribution of resources. That after all, is the very definition of Economics.
And, Native Americans are the only group of people required by the Federal Government in both the U.S. and Canada to carry a card stating their race.