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Division of Indian Affairs Presents “Successful Model in Business Development” Information Series The Division Created in 1953 when the Utah State Legislature adopted “Indian Affairs Act”, and the first director was hired in 1956.

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the division

The Division

Created in 1953 when the Utah State Legislature adopted “Indian Affairs Act”, and the first director was hired in 1956.

primary role
Our primary role is to promote positive intergovernmental relations with and between all:Primary Role
  • Utah Indian Tribes
  • Office of Governor
  • Federal and
  • State agencies
  • Local entities.
primary service
Primary Service

Our primary service is

  • information and
  • referral

as it pertains to assisting Utah Indian Tribes.



To assist Utah Indian Tribes and Urban Indian Communities to seek alternatives in solving problems and to strengthen their way of life socially and economically.


In the past, attempts have been made to help Indian People, but those attempts have been based upon prescribed methods of helping white Americans.

Those methods don’t work.

utah american indian reservation statistics
Utah American Indian Reservation Statistics
  • Current population of Utah American Indians living below the federal poverty guidelines: 57.4%
  • Average Per Capita Income: $6,738
  • Currently 46.4% of the individuals living on reservations do not have even a high school diploma.
  • Only 4.5% of Utah Indians on reservations get post high school diplomas.

Statistics extrapolated from the Dixie, Fishlake & Manti-LaSal National Forests Forest Plan Revision Social and Economic Assessment

udia s philosophy

UDIA’s Philosophy

American Indian people must begin to solve American Indian problems.

self determination is the key

Self Determination is the Key

Indian people must begin the healing process, learn coping skills necessary to overcome systemic failures, acquire management skills and learn to become competitive in business. Take charge!

the cart before the horse
The cart before the horse

In the past, tribal governing bodies were entertaining complex business development opportunities prior to mastering governance and establishing stable governments. When tribes failed to follow-through with plans, it contributed to further failures.

this failure became cyclical

This failure became cyclical

Failure to address educational deficiencies and chronic social problems contributed to weak governments which lead to failed businesses

cycle of defeat
Cycle of Defeat

Social Dysfunction: economic plight, criminal behavior, substance abuse, maladministration

Highly complex governmental and corporate business models launched without allowing for Tribe self-determination

Mismanagement, Delinquency, Negligence, Exploitation

udia believes it is critical to break the cycle of failure
UDIA believes it is critical to break the cycle of failure

This requires self-examination and acknowledgement of the seriousness of:

1) educational deficiencies

2) chronic social problems

3) cultural differences that complicate all other circumstances.

cultural differences
Cultural Differences


  • Patriarchal
  • Scientific
  • Linear
  • Competitive
  • Ownership of land
  • Control of nature
  • Analytical
  • Hierarchy


  • Matriarchal
  • Spiritual
  • Holistic
  • Cooperative
  • Land held in common
  • Harmony with nature
  • Creative
  • Egalitarian
unless cultural differences are acknowledged

Unless cultural differences are acknowledged…

A pattern of confusion and blaming will continue to dominate discussions about solutions to these problems

we must learn to crawl before we can walk
We must learn to crawl before we can walk
  • Start at the bottom with education first
  • Then work our way to the top
  • Improve our leadership potential
  • Improve our management of government programs
  • Collaborate with other tribes
pyramid of success
Pyramid of Success

Business Development

QualityManagement & Governance

Leadership & Community Development


udia has learned of two new significant developments

UDIA has learned of two new significant developments:

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development

The Choctaw Model of Success

the harvard project on american indian economic development
The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
  • Study covering the change between 1990-2000 in the economic development of Indians on reservations
  • Although substantial gaps remain between the Native population and the rest of the U.S., rapid economic development is taking place among gaming and non-gaming Tribes alike.
the udia solution what we have learned from the harvard project
The UDIA Solution – what we have learned from the Harvard Project:
  • Tribes must master governance principles
  • Tribes must have stable governments
  • Tribes must be aware of cultural differences
  • Tribes must learn to develop long range plans that lead to sound business execution
what udia has learned
What UDIA has learned:
  • Overcoming problems in education will result in a well trained work force
  • A trained work force will lead to improved managerial leadership
  • Better management will lead to better planning and marketing
  • Tribes should develop commercial codes to encourage lending on the reservation lands
choctaw model of success

Average schooling 6th grade level

No education offered after 10th grade and no kindergarten

70% without basic housing needs covered

No running water or indoor plumbing, homelessness high

80% unemployment rate – those employed are sharecroppers

Alcoholism, teen pregnancy, abuse prevalent

Choctaw Model of Success
the groundwork
The Groundwork


  • Put in their own superintendent, restructured education, and standardized curriculum
  • Trained Indian teachers from preschool-secondary levels
  • Opened adult education program
    • Taught classes in Family life, home management, thrift and economy, agricultural science, preservation of wildlife and natural resources
  • Opened Youth Rehabilitation Center
business development
Business Development


  • Planned 30 acre industrial park
  • Established Chahta Enterprise as supplier for Packard Electric
  • American Greetings opened a plant
  • Choctaw Manufacturing opened
  • Printing/direct mail/telemarketing firm
  • American Plastics
  • Silver Star Casino
  • 2nd largest employer in State of Mississippi
  • 12,000 jobs; 172.6 million payroll taxes
  • 5.8 mil property tax
  • Prestigious Hammer award for outstanding education reform
  • 85% speak Choctaw as their primary language, English second
  • Bok Chitto Elementary selected to be a world finalist for International schools Cyberfair
does an education crisis exist in utah
Does an Education Crisis Exist in Utah?

Indian student dropout rates in rural areas range from 60-80% statewide.

The current state of education for Indian children is appalling. They are consistently at the bottom of every standardized test given to Utah’s children.

if so what do we do about it
If so, what do we do about it?
  • First of all, acknowledge that a severe educational gap does exist.
  • Then take action to institute non-traditional approaches to counteract the failure.
    • Brain Gym
    • Brain Train
    • Auditory Discrimination Endepth
    • Small student/teacher ratio
    • Games
    • Key Boarding
phase i governance phase ii business
Phase I – Governance Phase II - Business
  • Leadership training
  • Policies and procedures
  • Property and supplies management
  • Indirect costs management
  • Single audit act requirements
  • Personnel training
  • Access to affordable housing, jobs, and healthcare
  • Long range planning
  • Feasibility studies
  • Business plans
  • Business partnerships
  • Financing plans
  • Investment planning
  • Investment

Technical and professional assistance to tribes in the following areas:

  • marketing analysis
  • feasibility plans
  • business plans
  • trouble-shooting business failure
  • long range economic development planning
  • financing information (federal, state, and private sources), and affordable housing.
  • Utah Tribal Leaders
  • Utah Tribal Education Directors
  • Westminster College
    • -School of Business
  • Rocky Mountain American Indian Economic and Education Foundation, Inc.
  • Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots project
  • American Express
  • Mental Health Asso. in Utah
  • National Indian Justice Center, Santa Rosa, CA
  • Utah Division of Indian Affairs
  • Utah American Indian Housing Council
  • University of Utah
    • School of Business
written by forrest s cuch

Written by Forrest S. Cuch

Editing and Graphics by Rebecca Nelson