Indian tribes are among the most economically distressed groups in the United States. In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate among American Indian and Alaska Natives was almost twice as high as the population as a whole--27 percent compared with 15 percent. Residents of tribal lands often lack basic infrastructure, such as water and sewer systems, and sufficient technology infrastructure. Without such infrastructure, tribal communities often find it difficult to compete successfully in the economic mainstream. This testimony statement summarizes GAO's observations on (1) five broad categories of unique issues that may create uncertainty and therefore affect economic activity in Indian country and (2) tribes' use of special gaming and small business contracting provisions. It is based on prior GAO reports.
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