By Joe Mont
Some of those involved with such businesses are now striking back against critics and defending the practice.
The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC) describes itself as an advocacy group comprising "like-minded tribes and tribal members that are committed to protecting the sovereign rights of Native Americans to pursue business and economic opportunities for their tribes nationwide."
In a statement issued yesterday, the group lashed out against critics, specifically the Community Financial Services Association of America, an organization "dedicated to advancing financial empowerment for consumers through small dollar, short-term loans." NAFCC alleged "discriminatory behavior and impeding Native Americans from lawfully exercising the rights of Native Americans to the same economic opportunities available to members companies of the CFSAA."
NAFCC is taking umbrage at a recent CFSAA statement, issued as a press release, that said those involved with online short-term lending affiliated with tribal lands are "a group of Internet-based lenders who choose not to license themselves in the states in which they operate."
The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC) is a representative organization comprised of members from Choctaw, Seminole, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Citizen Potawatomi Nation and other tribes committed to protecting the sovereign rights--well settled in US law--of Native Americans to pursue business and economic opportunities for Native Americans nationwide. The NAFCC is committed to improving economic conditions and protecting the treasuries for our tribes. We are also committed to protecting our historic and cross-generational hard-fought gains toward maintaining and protecting tribal identity and culture.
The NAFCC acknowledges the many contributions made by US companies to engage with Native American tribes resulting in the establishment of numerous business and employment opportunities for our tribal members. At the same time, the NAFCC will challenge any action or attempt to prevent Native American tribes from lawfully exercising the rights of Native Americans to generate income.
Citizens of our country and the United States Government have long recognized the fact that Native American tribes are free to engage in commerce unhindered by bias or discrimination. We believe that those seeking to deny Native Americans of their business development and entrepreneurial rights are on the wrong side of this issue, and on the wrong side of history.
The NAFCC is therefore committed to the protection of Native American Sovereign immunity and view any campaign to single out Native American-owned businesses that operate under the laws of the United States to be nothing short of discriminatory.
We remain hopeful that the government, regulators and the electorate will join with us to help safeguard the solemn right of Native American people to protect our culture and livelihood and join with us to pursue any actions that will impede Native Americans from protecting our rights to the fullest extent of the law.
And SavetheTribe.org ("tribe" should be plural, but never mind): Does this mean these tribes will wither away without their payday loan companies? Even though they have casinos? Hmm.
If the point of this coalition is to defend "short-term loans," why not say so? What's there to hide if this is an honest, even noble, business? Let's talk about the honor of loaning money to people in need at exorbitant rates.
I also like the slogan at the top of the page: "Freedom Comes with Responsibility." Does that mean the tribes are planning to exercise more responsibility? Or that they want more freedom without responsibility? I don't know.
In short, NAFCC defends the tribes' sovereign right to make predatory loans. With language that tries to obscure the exact nature of the business. I don't trust anyone who's not open and straightforward, and NAFCC's customers shouldn't either.
For more on the subject, see Payday Loans Violate Native Values and Rocky Boy Payday Loan Company.