Publication Date

Winter 12-1-2013


This dissertation investigates the long-term impacts of tribal economic development programs on the cultural preservation efforts of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI). Since the 1970s the Mississippi Choctaw have initiated many different economic enterprises ranging from manufacturing plants to resort development, owning and operating a diversified portfolio of manufacturing, service, retail, and tourism enterprises. This history of engaging with western business models offers a unique perspective for analyzing the long-term effects of these practices on a tribal community. My work with the MBCI engages a long debate over the use of capitalist business models in tribal economic development strategies. My research examines the Mississippi Choctaw Nations negotiations with capitalist economic development and western cultural forms as a dialectical interaction. By studying the MBCI's contemporary tribal economic development programs I hope to shift the conversation towards seeing them within an Indigenous paradigm of adaptation, negotiation, and change. In this research I am exploring whether or not the conscious utilization of capitalist economic development programs by the MBCI has reinforced and strengthened their cultural sovereignty.'


Choctaw, Tribal Economic Development, Native North America, Cultural Preservation

Project Sponsors

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies

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First Advisor

Singer, Beverly

First Committee Member (Chair)

Field, Les

Second Committee Member

Lee, Lloyd

Third Committee Member

Watkins, Joe

Included in

Anthropology Commons