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Impact of natural resource extraction on Native American land

Extraction affects Native American economies in a number of ways, though the effects can vary widely depending on the level of extraction on a given reservation and the details of the lease agreement.
Little data exists to measure the economic impact of extraction on Native American economies, both at the tribal and individual levels and at the national level.

Gross domestic product and jobs

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau do not collect Native American-specific information related to the extractive industries. The closest indicator for the extractive industries’ effect on Native American economies comes from the Department of the Interior’s Economic Report (PDF). See page 12 of this annual report for estimates of the direct economic contribution, total economic contribution, and total value added by DOI’s activities, as well as the total number of domestic jobs supported by those activities.


In addition to generating revenue and creating jobs, extractives production also brings associated costs to Native American communities. No information could be found on costs to tribes associated with water, emergency services, or transportation.


The Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program governs reclamation on Native American lands, as it does on all lands in the United States.
Reclamation activity has occurred or needs to occur on 17 reservations. Three tribes have had the most extensive reclamation activity in the past: the Crow, Hopi, and Navajo. These tribes also regulate their own AML programs. These three tribes are all certified, meaning they have reclaimed all of their Priority 1 and 2 AML sites and may now use AML funds for a wider range of activities.
AML reclamation work has been conducted with 14 additional tribes that do not regulate their own AML programs. These tribes, and states like them, are called non-primacy tribes. The majority of identified reclamation has occurred; only five tribes (plus the Navajo Nation) have unfunded reclamation needs.
OSMRE’s annual evaluation reports on Native American AML programs provide more information on the state and history of each AML program, including its status, unfunded costs, and completed costs. The OSMRE Grant Resources page provides annual grant reports.