Indian Struggles on Reservations

By: Alaine Ruggless, Taylor Bartolozzi, Ellie Tjelmeland.

Unfortunate Times

Native Americans reservations have always been an issue since they were founded. These issues have proliferated. Health, alcoholism, drug abuse, poverty, insufficient housing, and crime are all problems that have escalated over the years, cause major struggles for natives on reservations. In the 19th century, American Indians were forced onto reservations in America where they continue to suffer from many cultural, social, and economic hardships today. The amount of hardships will continue to rise until something is done about them. -ET/AR

  • The picture to left shows an American Indian embracing the moment when he found his reservation. -ET
  • The picture below shows the map of the United States of American. This map is specifically designed to show all the Indian Reservations in American. -ET
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Poverty Stricken Families

Poverty has affected American Indian reservations since the late 1800’s. Today the poverty rates continue to decline. The income for the average American Indian is $35,000 compared to the average non-hispanic family which was approximately $55,000. Looking and comparing these two numbers together shows how much less the people living in reservations have. Looking at statistics from the 2000 census, showed that 27% of American Indian families were living below the poverty line. -TB


  • This picture below shows the types of houses that Native Americans used to live in when reservations were first created. -ET
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Inadequate Housing on Reservations

The amount of Indian families living on the reservation with no adequate home is very critical. In fact, one legislator investigated to find that nearly 30% of Indian families are living in overcrowded houses. Not only did he find that but also approximately 50% of those families are connected to the public sewer system. This can cause serious problems with the half of this families living by the public sewer. In an 2004 study, it was found that nearly 90,000 American Indian families are living without housing or living with inadequate housing. This is a huge number especially when it is common for 3 at least generations of families to live together in one house. Think about it. Imagine living in a 2 bedroom house with 3 generations of your family with no heating, cooling, pluming, or adequate kitchen facilities. -TB

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  • The picture to the left is showing a man by his house located on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This picture shows what a normal house on Reservations look like. -TB

Health Issues affecting life on Reservation.

In 1832, Heath was a huge impact on peoples lives and still is today. Life on reservations all depended on your health. Indiana Health Service facilities are crisis-driven and preventative health care for many Native Americans on the reservation. Pharmacies and doctor’s offices outside of hospitals were completely nonexistent in some communities. If your health was inadequate while you were out traveling for reservations, It was very unexpected to recover from the illness. The the four main health issues during this time was fetal alcohol syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and prenatal care. Hospital trips were extremely expensive, most people could not afford to take their family on an average two to three hour trip to Cherokee. -ET

  • This picture underneath shows the sign of the Cherokee Indian Reservation. -ET

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Alcoholism and drugs.

Alcoholism has become a generational problem in the American Indian reservations. Meth rates in particular have reached 30%. 63% percent were struggling with alcohol compared with 42% in other communities. “The drunken Indian” was a Hollywood typical stereotypes. The meaning behind this meant that Indians are physically unable to handle alcohol. In one year, The Pine Ridge Reservation purchased 4.5 million cans of beer. Alcohol is outlawed on reservations, people will cross reservation borders where it is legal to buy the alcohol. Then they will come back into the reservation. All of this is due to poor monitoring of this situation. In one year on one single reservation, 4.5 million cans went over boarders. -ET

Hidden America: Children of the Plains

Crime and VIolence Strike Reservations

Crime and violence on American Indian reservations is a widespread and growing problem. Offenses such as rape, murder, and assault are among a variety of offences that are more likely to happen on reservations. Most of the time, women and young children are the biggest targets for these crimes. The justice department put out a statement claiming that American Indian women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than women of other races. Also, women of the American Indian race are assaulted or raped at a rate that is 4 times the national average and more that 1 in 3 native women have experienced attempted rape or have been raped in the past. These terrifying statistics can be caused by many different factors, but the biggest cause is insufficient law enforcement on the reservations because of the lack of funding from the government. Most of the time violent crimes are left unprosecuted. In 2011, federal prosecutors failed to file charges in 52% of cases involving rape, assault or murder. Since, cases are left uninvestigated, many natives believe that they can get away with these crimes. The violent crime rates will continue to rise until something is done to stop it. AR

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