Ted Simons: ASU and the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona have released a new report, titled "The State of Indian Country Arizona." It's an effort to document the social, legal, and economic impact of the 22 tribal nations in the state. Jacob Moore joins me now, he's the tribal relations coordinator at Arizona state University. Thank you for joining us. Let's talk about this report now. What exactly is the focus?
Jacob Moore: The focus of the report is really to showcase the 22 tribes that are in Arizona, and it's based on the series of reports that office of public affairs has done, based on the national urban league, similar to state of black in the United States. And there's a state of black Arizona, state of Latino Arizona, so this is a continuation of that series of reports on our diverse populations in Arizona.
Ted Simons: What does the general public need to know about American Indians in Arizona?
Jacob Moore: A couple things. We spent a lot of time as we tried to decide how do you describe 22 tribes in less than a hundred pages? And really, I think for the general public it's an opportunity for them to understand the 22 tribal nations are independent tribal governments, and that legal framework is really what establishes the tribes' relationships with the state, with counties, with other entities in the state, and its relationship with each other.
Ted Simons: The idea of sovereign status of tribes, explained in the report?
Jacob Moore: Yes, it is.
Ted Simons: OK. Is that something you still find people don't quite understand?
Jacob Moore: Absolutely. I think there's very little understanding. And I don't think it's people are not interested in it, it's one of those questions that, who do you ask? Or, that often times in the work that I do, often times people that are not from tribal communities don't know, they're a little bit not sure how to ask that information. So what we attempted to do was to provide a primer for anyone, really, to understand who the tribes are, the diversity, the cultural richness of the tribes in Arizona, and really the vitality and impact they have on the state as a whole.
Ted Simons: When you talk about the impact, economic impact, would I imagine would be chronicle here, what is the economic impact of the tribes?
Jacob Moore: You know, we did a number of reports, and again, this is a compilation of reports that were done by faculty and others that contributed, and in the economic development portion, something that was pointed out and really from a report that was done today, Arizona gaming association, is that if the 22 tribes were a single employer in the state of Arizona, they would be the third largest employer in the state.
Ted Simons: I saw that. And I also saw that there's in terms of energy production and energy distribution, tribes are big players there.
Jacob Moore: Absolutely. The majority of our mineral resources are on tribal land, the two major coal-fired generating stations are on Indian land.
Ted Simons: This is the kind of thing, are they understanding of this? Do policymakers need to be reminded of this? How do you see that dynamic?
Jacob Moore: I think it's all of the above. This is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the role the tribes play, and sometimes it's not just the confusion, sometimes I think even from a tribe's perspective, there's a certain degree of anonymity that comes with being able to protect what you have. But on the other hand, I think it's an opportunity for whether it's state legislators or the business community to understand the dynamics of those relationships and why it's important not only to the future of tribal communities, but for all communities in the state of Arizona.
Ted Simons: Indeed. And I think the report also mentions what is described as the inherent influence of tribes in Arizona. Talk about that. Things we don't even realize are based in some of these 22 tribes.
Jacob Moore: The inherent influence I think is an introduction, one of the things we describe was that in 1885, when the territorial legislature was established in the normal college, the teaching college, at that same time the tribal governments were in the process of trying to figure out tribal leaders, were trying to figure out how they were going to survive on reservations as a result of the Indian removal process or policies. So if you look at the history of tribes in Arizona, bottom line was that the tribes were here first.
Ted Simons: Indeed. But the culture- Just people don't even realize that- Well, some realize I think most realize they were here first, but the things they were here with have survived, changed, and have become in many respects part of all of us.
Jacob Moore: Absolutely. One of those things are sustainability. What we try to impart in the report was as well was some understanding of some of the traditional belief systems of tribes in terms of protecting mother earth and some of those sacred values. And things that were based on time tested generation from generation, teaching of how we take care of one another, and I think it's important that even in today in our -- In all the progress that's happened and all the technology, that there's certain things that are time tested that I think are valuable lessons to share with the state.
Ted Simons: The report also emphasizes the diversity reflected in the differing tribes. Talk about how diversities tribal populations are. How diverse these tribal populations are and how does that diversity impact relationships between tribes, relationships with the state?
Jacob Moore: As mentioned in what we tried to focus on was this idea that there are independent tribal nations that have the ability to decipher themselves. And I think in the process of developing the profiles, our partnership was with the Intertribal Council of Arizona on preparing this report, so there was participation from the tribal perspective. And what we did was we could have easily had described the 22 tribes in individual profiles on the back of the book, but what we chose to do was group them by their ancestral relationships among themselves. And some ways it's a regional relationship. So, for example, the Colorado river tribes are not all tied together, but they're regionally along the Colorado river, you have the Apache tribes, the Pai tribes; Yavapai, Havasupai. Obviously a lot of issues going there, but the fact of the matter is there's this deep relationship going on with the tribes themselves. And we tried to show inherently that it's not- It's more than just one dimensional in terms of who are the tribes here in this area.
Ted Simons: What are the challenges in dealing with so much diversity? If you're dealing with A, you start dealing with B, a whole different set of issues might pop up.
Jacob Moore: Right. You know, in the end I think there's commonalities among the tribes, it's not different than the general public. Good homes, good jobs, safe communities that are inherent. But again, this idea of the independent nature is probably sometimes why we plan out the opportunities, we also recognize the challenges, whether it's education, or health care, the health care disparities is significant in our tribal communities, in our educational level, or the achievement of our students are at the lowest level. And it's difficult to pull tribes together as a block and address those issues. We talked about the idea that the single third largest employer, but on the other hand, because of that independent nature, they have the ability to decipher themselves how they participate and when they participate.
Ted Simons: Last question, you kind of answered it right there, but I want to expand this quickly. We have about a minute left. The title of "The State of Indian Country Arizona." What is the state of Indian country Arizona?
Jacob Moore: Shorter answer, it depends. Are we talking about economic development, great opportunities, particularly as a result of gaming to provide revenues to help pay for those types of programs? Significant challenges in health care, education. So as any group, it depends on what we're talking about. But I think overall the state of Indian country looks good for the future.
Ted Simons: There's more promise than challenge.
Jacob Moore: More promise. Part of putting the report together for me was that something that my- Our grandchildren can read and say what happened in 2013.
Ted Simons: Very good. It's good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Jacob Moore: Thank you very much. I enjoyed it.