Native economies - header

Header - where we work

Where we work

Native economies - bennett freeze

For 40 years, a federal policy called the Bennett Freeze banned development on 1.6 million acres of tribal land in northeastern Arizona. Now that the ban has been lifted, the Trust is supporting economic development and tourism in the region that is consistent with cultural and community values. Our volunteer program is helping artists, vendors, and small business owners build the infrastructure they need to grow their local economies. 

Sarana Riggs

Native Economies - Little Colorado River Gorge

Little Colorado River Gorge

Building up businesses on tribal lands near the east entrance of Grand Canyon National Park.

Native economies - alternative work

Tribal lands abut Grand Canyon National Park, yet the Navajo Nation captures only a small portion of tourist dollars flowing into the region.

Learn more about what we're doing to support culturally appropriate economic development on the Navajo Nation ›

Volunteer - shots from the field

Shots from the field

Native economies - before and after vendor booths

Vendor booth after windstorm


Vendor booths along Highway 64, where artists sell jewelry and other authentic Navajo crafts, were in need of repairs after years of withstanding stiff winds. 


Vendor booth after repairs


Student volunteers gave the vendor booths face-lifts, taking down old lumber, building new booths, moving rocks, and picking up trash. 

Students in action

Native economies - why it matters

Why it matters

Small-scale, community-driven economic development on tribal lands offers an alternative to mega developments, like the Grand Canyon Escalade, that don't align with cultural values. 

Volunteer - CTA (volunteer with us)

Volunteer with us!

Volunteers in Action Blog


This year we had the privilege of working with a few volunteers who went above and beyond.

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Building a movement for climate justice on the Colorado Plateau.

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Research and Stewardship Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Winters gives an update on the recently concluded volunteer season. Now she's back planning trips for next year!

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