As studies conducted by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development have repeatedly made plain, economic progress on reservations is not possible absent stable self-determination institutions, a strong legal infrastructure, and the firm rule of law.
Commerce is not possible without the rule of law embodied in commercial codes that secure collateral and allow the free flow of credit between persons inside the outside the reservation. Access to affordable credit is a fundamental component of sustainable economic development in all modern private market economies.
Furthermore, reservation-wide, strategic planning is arguably the cornerstone of good tribal governance.
DED therefore funds:
- Nation Rebuilding Training
DED sponsors "executive training" for tribal leaders who seek to improve tribal governance and foster a regulatory climate more hospitable to business growth and outside investment.
- Exploration and Development of Commercial Codes
DED makes available to tribal nations online examples of commercial codes other tribes have enacted, including secured transactions codes based on a model code adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and a working group of tribal officials. The model provides a set of rules that specify how security interests may be created, perfected, and enforced, and who has priority when two or more competing creditors have legally enforceable interests in the same collateral.
- "Indigenous Planning"
On a competitive, juried basis, DED funds tribes to retain consultants to assist them in preparing long-term, comprehensive, reservation-wide strategic plans which reflect what community members envision for their reservation over the next five to twenty years.