Buy Indian Act: Support Native Small Businesses

There are nearly a quarter-million Native-owned businesses in the U.S. today, said Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, in his 2014 State of Indian Nations address. And if Thomas Carlson has his way, all those businesses would be listed on a new website he launched this past January called, a digital resource that aims to connect Indian Economic Enterprises (IEEs) with products and services made or sold by other Natives.

“The Indian Act is a good thing, but it could be even better if tribes could get together and start focusing their resources back into tribal-owned businesses and recirculate the money,” said the 43-year-old entrepreneur and enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Ojibwe) in Baraga, Michigan. “Let’s put Native resources back into the Native community.”

The name of Carlson’s website is a little misleading. He makes it very clear that his site has nothing to do with the government regulation of the same name. “The goal of this website is an effort to expand on the Buy Indian Act to include supporting purchases from all Indian-owned enterprises, whether or not they are engaged in federal contracting,” he he wrote on his site. “I tried to get, but the name was already taken.”