Poverty In America: Native American Tribes

opinion Essay
1320 words
1320 words

As a White American, I have been virtually unaware of the harsh living conditions that Native Americans have been enduring. This past summer I was fishing and camping at a resort in northwestern Minnesota with my family. I realized that this resort was located on the White Earth Indian Reservation. As I drove around the towns that the resort was near, I saw that the Native Americans were terribly poverty-stricken. Besides the resort that my family and I were staying at and a small casino that was nearby, most of the buildings and houses were in poor condition. The majority of the houses were trailers and not something that I would call “livable.” This raised a few questions in my mind: Why are people on Indian reservations living this way and what other things besides housing are Native Americans lacking? As I began research on these questions, I found three major issues. Poverty, health, and education are three tribulations that, at this point, remain broken on American Indian reservations.

Although poverty rates on some reservations are getting better because of gambling enterprises and natural resources, most reservations have unusually high poverty rates. In 2000, the poverty rate of the entire United States was about 11.3%. Compare that to a 25.9% poverty rate for Native Americans living on reservations. The poverty rate of Native Americans in 2000 was higher than the peak of the poverty rate of the Great Depression, which was 21.7% (Native American Statistics”). This statistic alone shows that Native Americans are not doing well financially.

Location is a significant factor that determines how economically well certain reservations are doing. Reservations that are located in places with abundant natural resources and near metropolitan areas, tend to do better than reservations in remote areas. This is because with more resources available and more people to support businesses, the economy is more likely to thrive.

For reservations that are located in places with few resources and in remote areas, there is a lack of opportunity. Jobs are less available and the unemployment rate is high. This pertains to most reservations in the United States (Alvarez). In the United States, the unemployment rate in 2010 was 9.6%. The unemployment rate for Native Americans in the same year was 21.3% (“Labor Force Statistics”). Not only is there a dramati...

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...eb. 20 Sept. 2012. .

"American Indian & Alaska Native Populations." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. .

Bouchard, Jen. "Native American Education and Employment." N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. .

"Labor Force Statistics." Bureau of Labor Statistics Data. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. .

"Living Conditions | American Indian Relief Council." Living Conditions | American Indian Relief Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. .

"Native American Statistics." N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. .

"Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives." National Center for Educational Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. .

In this essay, the author

  • Describes how they were unaware of the harsh living conditions of native americans on the white earth indian reservation.
  • Compares the poverty rate of native americans living on reservations to that of the great depression, which was 21.7%.
  • Explains that location is a significant factor that determines how economically well certain reservations are doing. reservations that are located in places with abundant natural resources tend to do better than reservations in remote areas.
  • Explains that the unemployment rate for native americans in the united states is high and there is a dramatic difference between them and non-native americans.
  • Opines that the indian housing authority (iha) has been working on reducing the number of homeless or under housed native american families, but the waiting list for tribal housing is long.
  • Explains that the indian health services (ihs) is responsible for serving the health needs of native american populations.
  • Explains that 55% of native americans rely on ihs services for medical care, yet the indian health care improvement act only meets about 60% of health needs.
  • Explains that native americans are 177% more likely to die from diabetes than other non-native americans, due to the link between heart disease, diabetes, poverty, and poor quality of health care.
  • Explains that tribal schools are more likely to cancel classes, hire less qualified teachers, and use teachers from other subjects to fill vacancies.
  • Explains that native american students have a dropout rate twice that of the national average, which is the highest of any racial group.
  • Explains that poverty, parental alcoholism, and drug abuse are serious problems in tribal schools. far fewer native american students attend college than other ethnic groups in the united states.
  • Opines that native americans are oppressed and living in terrible conditions. it is time to work together to solve the issues of poverty, health, and education on native american reservations.
  • Cites alvarez, annette. "native american tribes and economic development." centers for disease control and prevention.
  • Analyzes the bureau of labor statistics data's report on native american education and employment, and the living conditions of american indian relief council.
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