I was thinking again about my old days as an Indianist in Russia. These memories came to me at an opportune time as I was reading Wipperfurth’s Brand Hijack. Apparently the phenomenon of co-creating the brand is at least one hundred years old and Native Americans pioneered it. However one may ask who’s calling the shots here – Europeans (the fan club, the consumers) or Indians (the tribal brand, the producers). As Native Americans were diminishing in numbers in the late 19th century and widely conceived of as a vanishing race, sympathetic white Americans and their acculturated Indian collaborators initiated a long-term branding campaign by highlighting tribal untarnished purity, aesthetic simplicity, military prowess and spiritual depth. Through the medium of Buffalo Bill shows, arts and crafts exhibitions, museums, performative arts (music, theater), fiction books, ethnological monographs, newspapers and movies, the tribal brand went global. For many modern American Indians the goal is to reclaim its brand without losing the national and international cache that this unique branding campaign has generated. The relative autonomy of tribal lands, their tax-free status and the concurrent phenomenon of Indian casinos exists thanks to the efforts of such a powerful Indian afficionado as John Collier, the architect of the Indian New Deal in the 1930s. The recent Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People (adopted by the general Assembly of the United Nations on September 13, 2007) legitimized collective rights of tribal peoples worldwide, again thanks to the many decades of promoting Native American cultures as possessing inherent group values. We may redirect this observation to answer Ronald Coase’s dilemma, namely why there are companies and corporations in the first place instead of just networks of self-employed and mutually contracting individuals. Transaction costs is one thing. But it is not even marketing or management, it is a survival strategy. Read Piotr Kropotkin on mutual aid or W.D. Hamilton on kin selection. But then comes Ross Mayfield with his thesis that social networks increase choice within companies and drive efficiency. They decentralize companies, flatten internal hierarchies, relax corporate culture, break corporate silos, intensify exchnages between system and its environment, unleash creative potential and thus increase profit. Maybe that’s what happened to such recent tribal brands as the Pequots. Indian tribes used to attract philanthropic support aimed to preserve their ancient cultural core; now their casinos generate tons of revenue and move these ancient cultures into the future. The dialectics of survival: from corporations to networks and back.