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On the Reservation

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.

One Response to “On the Reservation”

  1. Bob Gunzenhauser
    February 17th, 2006 17:52
    1

    So, why do you think this is, Brian? What is it about the Pine Ridge Reservation that makes things so terrible? Is it lack of good soil to farm? Lack of industry? Or is it socially based? Yes, it is definitely an issue, but what is causing it, and how can it be alleviated?

    Are the people there not motivated to make a better life for themselves as long as the govt welfare keeps rolling in? Maybe they don’t have to work too hard…I don’t know the answer. Any ideas?

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