Daniel Stewart Co-Edits Book on Business in Native American Communities

Daniel Stewart, Ph.D.

Published November 23, 2019

‘Creating Private Sector Economies in Native America: Sustainable Development through Entrepreneurship’

SPOKANE, Wash. — Daniel Stewart, Ph.D., professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in the Gonzaga University School of Business Administration, has co-edited the book “Creating Private Sector Economies in Native America: Sustainable Development through Entrepreneurship.”

The book, published by Cambridge University Press, explores issues related to increasing the prevalence of entrepreneurship and private business ownership in American Indian communities. While not a traditional textbook, it is intended to be adopted in upper-division and graduate-level courses that cover economics, business, and tribal law.

Stewart said he became involved in the project after discovering that he and co-editors Robert Miller and Miriam Jorgensen share an interest in economic development on American Indian reservations. Jorgensen focused on economics, Miller’s focus was law, and Stewart’s was entrepreneurship.

“In order for Native American communities to build robust economies, private sector entrepreneurship must be encouraged,” Stewart said. “This text provides some guidance on policies and practices that will help increase the rates of entrepreneurship and individual small business ownership. Our message is hope: tribes and individual tribal members can control their own destinies once they create their own economic resources.”

Expert authors address the underdevelopment of the private sector on American Indian reservations, with the goal of sustaining and growing Native nation communities to thrive on their own terms.

Chapter authors provide the language and arguments to make the case to tribal politicians, Native communities, and allies about the importance of private sector development and entrepreneurship in indigenous economies. The book identifies key barriers to expanding the sector, provides policy guidance, and describes several successful business models — thus offering students, practitioners, and policymakers the information they need to make change.

Issues covered in the book are more large-scale, focusing on economic and legal policies that can help increase the rate of entrepreneurship amongst tribal members. Other topics include a focus on strategies and tactics that can be implemented by individual businesses. While the text aims to be implemented in classrooms, it can also aid anyone who is interested in Native American economic development, like policymakers or practitioners.

“We hope that all readers gain a better understanding of the current economic situation in Native American communities,” Stewart said. “Although some tribes have been able to better their position through successful tribally-owned ventures, Native American communities continue to exhibit incredibly low rates of private business ownership. Moreover, poverty continues to plague most reservations.”

In 2017 Stewart also co-edited the textbook “American Indian Business: Principles and Practices,” authoring a chapter titled “Business Strategy: Building Competitive Advantage in American Indian Firms.” Along with Charles F. Harrington and Carolyn Birmingham, he co-authored the chapter “American Indian Entrepreneurship.”

While “American Indian Business: Principles and Practices” is aimed more at business at the level of the single firm, this new text addresses policy issues at the level of tribal governance.

Comparatively, both texts support the thesis that entrepreneurship is a critical component in achieving true tribal sovereignty and self-determination within Native American communities.

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