Article | Missouri Law Review | Fall 2011

Leveraging Tribal Sovereignty for Economic Opportunity: A Strategic Negotiations Perspective

by Gavin Clarkson and James K. Sebenius


Indian tribes and U.S. states often find themselves at the bargaining table, often negotiating "compacts" to govern gaming operations on tribal lands. The operational success of the Pequot gaming operation in Connecticut, Foxwoods, and the substantial revenue shared with Connecticut have become almost mythical in nature, with other states often misunderstanding the lessons of the Foxwoods experience. The real story behind the Pequot gaming compact, however, is one of strategic negotiation and the leveraging of tribal sovereignty into economic opportunity. By examining the sovereign nature of tribal governments, the history of tribal sovereignty, the origins of Indian gaming, the legal framework that governs tribal gaming activities, as well as an analytic approach to negotiations, this paper explains the Foxwoods deal and its implications for tribal-state compacting in the face of changing circumstances, both within and outside of the gaming context.

Keywords: Strategy; Ethnicity; Negotiation Tactics; Race; Social Issues; Relationships; Government and Politics; Economics; United States;


Clarkson, Gavin, and James K. Sebenius. "Leveraging Tribal Sovereignty for Economic Opportunity: A Strategic Negotiations Perspective." Missouri Law Review 76, no. 4 (Fall 2011): 1045–1112.