Issues of Native American Workforce

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The Native American Workforce has some issues and some assets. The workforce has been a fluctuating issue for a long time. There has always been higher than normal unemployment rates, higher mortality rates, and flocks of people would leave reservations and their families just for a low paying job unavailable on the reservation. There are Acts and programs, like the Public Law 102-477, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Act, with the government to help but they are still limited. Casinos have made an enormous difference in the unemployment rates but they are still lacking. Improvement has been made but not enough to even be within a percent or two with the rest of working-class America. This is a big and important reason 24.8% of Native Americans on reservations are below the poverty line, and even ones who are slightly above still struggle and that is an issue.

There are some positives in the Native workforce. One would be the government programs and Acts. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs has nine programs and internships listed on their site. They have things like forestry, real estate, water, and power programs. These are all opportunities for high school graduates on reservations. This is also valuable because it can inspire more teens on the reservation to graduate high school, which currently has low graduation rates. If they don’t use those opportunities many take advantage of the numerous jobs casinos give out. In most states laws say casinos are only legal when owned by Native American Tribes. They also higher mostly natives and locals.

The author of an article by the Economics Bureau, Linda Gorman there is currently around 30,000 Native Americans employed by casinos. This makes a tremendous difference in copious ways. The NBER, National Bureau of Economic Research, says “Examining the effects of casinos after at least four years of operation, we find that positive changes include: young adults moving back to reservations, fueling an 11.5 percent population increase; adult employment increasing by 26 percent; and a 14 percent decline in the number of working poor. In counties with or near a casino, the employment- to- population ratio has increased and mortality has declined.” These are all exceptional stats that show the clear difference employment and casinos is making. There are becoming more opportunities for Native Americans in the workforce.

Even though there have been all of those improvements there is still a ways to go and still some big problems. Even with success in casinos and the jobs it provides. Many tribes farm animals like cattle and for a few that can bring in a profit but for most tribes it makes them more dependent on the government and even put some people in debt from having to care from the cattle and not getting enough profit to balance the losses. This same thing happens to families who own small shops on reservations or gas stations. That isn’t even the worst of it, many people don’t even have the opportunity to work, some ride in rodeos or do little temporary jobs for some money but, it’s never enough to support one person, no less a family.

These are all big issues but there is also always the chance of a casino closing. This would make hundreds lose their jobs and the tribes economy would crash. This could also make many losing jobs resort to drinking which is already a large problem in most reservations. That problem also causes the issue of many people to drink and then go gamble and lose tons of money or miss work and get fired, all leading to more struggle and unemployment. These are all factors in a considerable matter which is ever changing.


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Issues of Native American Workforce. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/issues-of-native-american-workforce/

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