Some of the most impoverished rural communities in the United States are on Native American reservations. No more is this the case than on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Most of the 2.7 million acres that make up the South Dakota reservation lie within Shannon County and Jackson County, two of the poorest counties in the U.S.
Unemployment on the Reservation hovers around 85% and 97% live below the federal poverty level. Adolescent suicide is 4 times the national average, and many of the families lack even basic services such as electricity and telephone service. The population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the entire Western Hemisphere (47 years for males and just over 50 years for females), and the infant mortality rate is five times the United States national average.
Watch for a photo blogging post on Pine Ridge Reservation later this week.