On the Reservation: Toward a Job Guarantee Program for American Indian Nations

  • Michael J. Murray
Part of the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity book series (BISP)


The chapter proposes a job guarantee (JG) program for residents of American Indian reservations to combat chronic poverty and unemployment. The chapter furthers research on the racial wealth and employment gap; and serves as a case-study on the social costs of unemployment and the moral necessity of full employment. The chapter details the social and economic injustice laid upon American Indians from 200 years of US policy geared toward assimilation, termination, and acculturation. This history contextualizes the failing, pro-capitalist, Euro-centric policies of today which struggle to combat chronic poverty and lasting unemployment. Instead these mainstream policies further encroach on American Indian sovereignty. The chapter makes a case for a new progressive approach to development that centers on the non-profit nature of job guarantee proposals to sustain economic growth, enrich cultural development, and strengthen American Indian sovereignty.


  1. Cornell, S., & Kalt, J. (1992). Reloading the Dice: Improving the Chances for Economic Development on American Indian Reservations. In S. Cornell & J. Kalt (Eds.), What can Tribes Do? Strategies and Institutions in American Economic Development. American Indian Studies Center.Google Scholar
  2. Cornell, S., & Kalt, J. (2006). Two Approaches to Economic Development on American Indian Reservations: One Works, the Other Doesnt. In M. Jorgensen & S. Cornell (Eds.), Resources for Nation Building: Governance, Development, and the Future of American Indian Nations. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  3. Darity, W., & Hamilton, D. (2012). Bold Policies for Economic Justice. Review of Black Political Economy, 39(1), 79–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Forstater, M. (2002). Unemployment. In J. King (Ed.), The Elgar Companion to Post Keynesian Economics (pp. 374–380). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  5. Forstater, M. (2013). Neighborhood Unemployment Councils and the Importance of Grassroots Support for the Policy Success of the Job Guarantee. In Employment Guarantee Schemes: Job Creation and Policy in Developing Countries and Emerging Markets. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. Jorgensen, M., & Taylor, J. (2000). What Determines Indian Economic Success: Evidence from Tribal and Individual Indian Enterprises. In Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Cambridge: John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  7. Minsky, H. (1986). Stabilizing an Unstable Economy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Smith, A. (1986). The Essential Adam Smith. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar
  9. Tcherneva, P., & Wray, L. (2005, May). Can Basic Income and Job Guarantees Deliver on Their Promises. Working Paper 42, Center for Full Employment and Price Stability, Kansas City, MO.Google Scholar
  10. Treuer, A. (2010). Ojibwe in Minnesota (People of Minnesota). Saint Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.Google Scholar
  11. Treuer, A. (2012). Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask. Saint Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.Google Scholar
  12. Wisman, J. (2010). The Moral Imperative and Social Rationality of Government-Guaranteed Employment and Reskilling. Review of Social Economy, 68(1), 35–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Wisman, J., & Reksten, N. (2013). Rising Job Complexity and the Need for Government Guaranteed Work and Training. In M. Murray & M. Forstater (Eds.), The Job Guarantee: Toward True Full Employment (pp. 5–38). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Woodrow, S. (2007, May). Tribal Update: Nation Building in the Ninth District. Community Dividend, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBemidji State UniversityBemidjiUSA

Personalised recommendations