Digital governance in Indian Country

Traci Morris, Karen Mossberger, Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Information and communication technologies are powerful resources and tools for Tribal governments (as with all governments) to engage with their citizens, deliver services, conduct efficient and transparent administration, interact with other governments, and carry out policies to promote economic development, education, and health care. American Indian nations are sovereign nations; as domestic dependent nations, they have a distinct legally defined relationship with the Federal government, the Trust Relationship. As part of the family of American governments, Federal, State, and Tribal, complex relationships can arise with these other entities. Because of this need for communication and coordination, digital governance may in many ways be even more critical for tribes than for many other governments. Yet, the lack of physical infrastructure and lower levels of information technology accessibility for Native populations are barriers to realizing the potential of digital governance for many Tribal Nations. In this chapter, we discuss digital governance for US Native Nations. We begin by first explaining Tribal self-governance in its intergovernmental context. We then ask how information technology matters for self-governance and capacity in several key policy areas. Finally, we consider challenges for digital governance in Indian country, which has the lowest rates of broadband and internet use in US. We discuss Tribal government efforts to address these inequalities and needs for Federal support as well as better data to inform initiatives and empower tribal communities in their pursuit of self-determination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on E-Government
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781786437259
ISBN (Print)9781786437242
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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