At the beginning of the 1980s the average income of an Australian Indigenous male was 50.5 per cent of his white counterpart. In the US the Indigenous income ratio was 58.3 per cent. By the end of the decade the relative income position of the two Indigenous groups had reversed. The Aboriginal income ratio increased 10 per cent and that of our sample of Native American men decreased 17 per cent. The paper documents the reasons for this change.