Domestic Outsourcing

Work for the other Indians.


Many Americans get nervous when companies ship work overseas. But what if work goes abroad and comes back again?

Take South Dakota's Pine Ridge reservation, home to the Lakota Sioux. Poverty is high, life expectancy is low, and unemployment stands at about 80 percent. One bright spot is a Native American?owned marketing and Web design company called Lakota Express, which has become an unexpected beneficiary of outsourcing.

In a typical set-up, American companies will employ Chinese firms to enter handwritten cards into electronic databases, then employ Lakota Express to vet the often imperfect work. The English skills of the Chinese can only take them so far with sloppy American handwriting, and Native Americans can pick up the slack without leaving the reservation.

The Associated Press reports that Lakota Express has trained more than 100 part-time employees and expects to handle more contracts soon. The Sioux aren't the only Native Americans benefiting from the domestic outsourcing boom; at four reservations in Utah, similar startups have created more than 150 jobs and are bringing in millions of dollars in revenue.?