Northwestern Events Calendar


IPR/CNAIR Joint Seminar: B. Redbird (Sociology) - What Drives Native American Poverty?

When: Wednesday, January 29, 2020
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: 617 Library Place, IPR Conference Room, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Patricia Reese   (847) 491-8712

Group: Institute For Policy Research

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


"What Drives Native American Poverty?" by

Beth Redbird, Assistant Professor of Sociology; IPR Fellow; and CNAIR Fellow (2019-20)

Reception following.

IPR and Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) Joint Seminar

Abstract: It has been nearly 40 years since the last large-scale comprehensive assessment of Indian economic well-being. Since that time, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 gave rise to increased tribal sovereignty and manifested in changes to tribal institutions and policies. Indian nations rewrote their constitutions, generated their own tax and business regulatory structures, set up welfare systems, remade school curricula, and gained control over their land. However, we continue to lack a basic understanding about the economic well-being of America’s first peoples. This talk will examine the development of new tribal institutions and seeks to disentangle the complex interwoven aspects of modern tribal economies that drive economic security. Using a decomposition model, Redbird finds that changes in residence (returning to reservations), family structure, and lack of education play a small role in Native poverty, whereas she identifies that the structure of employment is the most significant cause in the poverty increase. Her findings suggest that the changing nature of tribal labor markets is having significant and unpredicted impacts on Native poverty and inequality.

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