Strengthening Native American Communities & Economies
First Nations Development Institute offers several reports on financial education research.
This report, co-authored with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, provides an overview of issues related to financial capability in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Four key components of financial capability are examined: making ends meet, planning ahead, managing financial products, and financial knowledge and decision-making. While on par with African-Americans and Hispanics in many of these areas, the research suggests that Native Americans are facing many challenges related to financial capability. The report draws on the FINRA Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), one of the largest financial capability studies in the country and one of the most inclusive with a sample of nearly 600 Native American respondents.
This report provides an overview of financial capability programs serving reservation-based Native communities in the Northwest Area Foundation region. After discussing a conceptual framework for understanding financial capability in Native communities, a literature review is presented. The report then discusses promising strategies for increasing financial capability, and provides an environmental scan of successful programs serving Native communities in the eight-state Northwest Area Foundation region. This paper concludes with recommendations on how to support financial capability programs, and suggestions for how to most effectively promote these strategies in the region.
This report covers an innovative experiential learning approach to Native youth financial education. In October 2012, First Nations piloted a financial simulation fair for Native high school students based on the Mad City Model that lets youth get a taste of the real world. The students were given an opportunity to make a series of spending and saving choices based on their fictitious family profile that identified occupation, debt, and family member information.
In October 2012, First Nations held a reality fair specifically tailored to Native individuals receiving a minor’s trust payment. The $pending Frenzy provided youth with fake money in the amount of their trust fund payment to learn about a range of spending and investing options. This report assesses the strengths of the experiential learning technique.
Learning to use resources wisely and to plan financially for the future are important steps on the road to asset building, wealth creation, and self-sufficiency. They are particularly important skills for Native American youth, who come from lower income backgrounds than non-Native youth and have more ground to cover to reach financial security. This report looks at high Native-enrollment schools in South Dakota to better understand the barriers and possibilities of school-based financial education.
On August 13, 2008 the MHA Tribal Chairman Marcus Wells, Jr. sent a letter to First Nations Development Institute to request that they deliver financial education trainings in the small regional communities of Twin Buttes, Mandaree, and White Shield. This report provides an overview of those trainings.
Chapter 2 begins with two introductory sections that demonstrate the importance of both developing financial management skills and increasing research related to the potential effects of increasing financial education opportunities in Native communities. The chapter is then broken into three sections focused on topics seen as essential for developing greater financial management and investment skills in Native communities.
This paper identifies challenges related to family economic success in Native communities, discusses unique issues related to Native communities, and outlines a framework for economic success that will reflect the unique opportunities and challenges in these communities.
This briefing paper serves as a resource for tribes, policymakers, researchers, advocates, and community practitioners. It was also designed as a working document for discussion at the Native American Financial Literacy Coalition national policy development forum on Financial Literacy in Indian Country held on May 28-29, 2003 in Denver, Colorado.