Choctaw successes: beacon for other tribes
The current Indian economic Cinderella story is that of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw located near Philadelphia, Miss.
Members of this tribe managed to attract a General Motors wire harness assembly plant in 1979 and an American Greeting Card operation in 1981 to their 18,000-acre reservation. The factories for these operations were built by a tribally owned construction company that has also put up a number of new homes, a high school, tribal offices, a hospital, and a day-care center recently.
Choctaw development director Earnest Tiger says reservation unemployment has been reduced from 44 percent to 28 percent and increase per capita income from $ 1,600 in 1970 to $5,600 in 1980. And he points with pride to their low absentee rate (2 percent) and to the high GM quality index which gives Choctaw workers a score of 143 out of 145.