Help Pine Ridge

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The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation,  located in Shannon and Jackson counties of South Dakota, is one of the poorest regions in the United States.  It is also the site of some of the bloodiest events in the 19th-century war between the Native people and United States government.
There is isn’t any train, bus, theater, clothing store, drug store, barber shop, restaurant, place to get a car fixed or home delivery of mail.

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A car is the only way to get around, yet a fifth of all Shannon County households don’t have one.  The few shops are fortresses against burglary, with boards or heavy metal mesh covering their windows
 Much of the hardship stems from having few places for the roughly 21,000 residents to spend the estimated $150 million a year from the government.

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 Pine Ridge housing

On the Pine Ridge Reservation, homelessness is at 30% and unemployment at 80%. 60% of its residents live in substandard housing, and the reservation, which is half the size of the state of Connecticut, doesn’t have a single bank[29] “The housing shortage on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is so severe that only 16 people living in a four-bedroom house is considered lucky. Next door there are 23 people in a three-bedroom house” (Rapid City Journal). In the 1876 Treaty following the war between the United States and the Sioux, the United States government promised “a comfortable house”. Despite these promises, hundreds of people on the Pine Ridge Reservation are homeless and thousands live in a crowded or substandard housing. The American Indian Relief Council estimates that 44% of Sioux households lack complete kitchens and 55% do not have a telephone (itvs.org).

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Pine Ridge health

Sioux Indians in South Dakota have the poorest health of any minority group in the United States. The Indian health Service says that for every 1,000 children born on the reservation in the late 1980s, twenty-nine died in infancy, almost three times the national average [30] Death from heart disease, pneumonia, influenza, and suicide was twice the national rate; from alcoholism, ten times; from homicide, more than three times[31] Diabetes rates are six times that of the general white population. Many factors contribute to the Sioux’s poor health; a distrust of standard medical practices, inadequate funding for Indian medical are, few trained physicians on the reservations and limited access due to remote living conditions, poor-eating habits and a high-fat diet, and a high rate of alcohol use (itvs.org). The average life expectancy for the Sioux is forty-eight years[32]

Pine Ridge education

Only 23% of Sioux children graduate from high school, and among that group, only 17% go on to college[33]. Homelessness, poverty, and learning disabilities contribute to the dropout rate, as does the lack of reading and writing experience. Lack of transportation keeps truancy rates high, and lack of electricity in many homes prohibits students from doing schoolwork after dark. Most reservation classrooms are in a deplorable state: many without heat in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer, when outside temperatures can exceed 100 degrees.

Pine Ridge prejudice

Many families have moved off the reservation in the hopes of finding jobs and creating a better future for their children. In Rapid City, a nearby large city where thousands of Indian families have settled, Native people face prejudice and hardship due to differences between their culture and the white man’s world

Some startling facts about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation:

  • 80% unemployment.
  • Poorest county in the USA. Average family income is just $3,700 per year.
  • High rates of alcoholism, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Extremely high rate of diabetes. Almost half of the population over 40 on the Pine Ridge Reservation have diabetes.
  • Life expectancy for men is 48 years.  Life expectancy for women is 52.
  • Highest infant mortality rate in the USA.

It is our mission at NARA to hlep the people of Pine Ridge. You can visit our website to help donate backbacks for the children.  Many are so poor, the parents can bearly afford food, so shcool supplies are a luxury.  You may also doante to the Pine Ridge Fund to help with clothes, heat and food. 

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