Indigenous Economics: Sustaining Peoples and Their Lands

Regular price $ 30.00

by Ronald L. Trosper

University of Arizona Press

8/23/2022, paperback

SKU: 9780816533459


What does “development” mean for Indigenous peoples? Indigenous Economics lays out an alternative path showing that conscious attention to relationships among humans and the natural world creates flourishing social-ecological economies.

Economist Ronald L. Trosper draws on examples from North and South America, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and Australia to argue that Indigenous worldviews centering care and good relationships provide critical and sustainable economic models in a world under increasing pressure from biodiversity loss and climate change. He explains the structure of relational Indigenous economic theory, providing principles based on his own and others’ work with tribal nations and Indigenous communities. Trosper explains how sustainability is created at every level when relational Indigenous economic theory is applied—micro, meso, and macro.

Good relationships support personal and community autonomy, replacing the individualism/collectivism dichotomy with relational leadership and entrepreneurship. Basing economies on relationships requires changing governance from the top-down approaches of nation-states and international corporations; instead, each community creates its own territorial relationships, creating plurinational relational states. This book offers an important alternative to classic economic theory. In Indigenous Economics, support for Indigenous communities’ development and Indigenous peoples’ well-being go hand-in-hand.


"In this powerful exploration of Western and Indigenous thought, Trosper challenges the conventional understandings of economic theory to imagine how the relational viewpoints of Indigenous communities can inform more just and sustainable practices and institutions.  This book offers a new way of imagining our shared interests in social and environmental goods, one situated within Indigenous, placed-based value systems that honor all aspects of the natural world and the obligations we share with past and future generations.  Relationships are omitted from conventional economic theory, but they are fundamental to Indigenous sustainability.  This key insight can guide a new era of policy innovation as we manage our current climate crisis."—Rebecca Tsosie, Regents Professor of Law, University of Arizona

“By showing how Indigenous worldviews give rise to an Indigenous economics that is different from the neoclassical standard, Indigenous Economics points to an important alternative path forward for Indigenous peoples’ well-being.”—Miriam Jorgensen, co-editor of Creating Private Sector Economies in Native America: Sustainable Development through Entrepreneurship

About the Author:

Ronald L. Trosper, professor at the University of Arizona, has published in American Indian studies, ecological economics, economics, policy studies, forestry, and anthropology. His PhD in economics is from Harvard University. He is also the author of Resilience, Reciprocity and Ecological Economics: Northwest Coast Sustainability. He is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana.