Native American Poverty

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Indian reservation Pages: 7 (2659 words) Published: April 30, 2012
Poverty Among Native Americans
W.E.B Du Bois once stated “to be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships” (qtd. in Rodgers 1). The Native American culture is often overlooked by many people in the United States today. What many people do not realize is that about twenty-five percent of Native Americans are living in poverty (Rodgers 1). A majority of the poverty among Native Americans is due to the United States breaking treaties that promised funds for their tribes. When non-Native Americans first began migrating to North America, the Indians were slowly having their land stripped away from them, and being pushed to live on small, poorly kept reservations. As well as taking their land, non-Native Americans fought wars with the Indians, wiping out large numbers of their population (Jenkins A9). Living in poverty has caused many early mortalities, alcoholism and crime. Today the few Native American tribes that are still in existence have had enough. They are ready to take control and make their comeback, in hopes of preserving their culture and livelihoods (Gorospe 95). Several tribes have begun opening and operating their own casino resorts, some have failed, but several have been successful (Nykiel 51). President Obama has also been making promises of funds to the Native American tribes, hopefully these promises will be kept, and improve the Native Americans way of life (Nasaw 1). Native Americans are beginning to find the determination needed to make a comeback. Much of this determination in from anger, so much has been taken from them that their angry emotions towards the non-Native Americans is quite understandable. Land has been taken from the Native Americans, they have been forced to relocate several times. While relocating their economic resources are taken from them and they are not given any chance to provide for themselves. The reservations in which the Native Americans are forced to relocate to are hardly livable. Un-fair wars have been forced upon them and no respect has been shown to Native Americans (Jenkins A9). One main reason for poverty among Native Americans is the United States Government being unable to provide the billions of dollars that have been promised to Native American tribes. A leader from the Sioux tribe states that “they were riding to overcome the poverty, alcoholism and despair that had engulfed their people for more than a century, and said real healing would not be possible until the U.S. Government lived up to its treaty obligations” (Walsh 8).

Native American reservations are small and isolated. The living conditions are poor due to the lack of money, so as a result this can cause many health problems for Native Americans. There are poor roads and no sidewalks, which makes it difficult to travel in and out of the reservation, so this would be a main reason for their isolation. No forms of public transportation are provided for the reservations since there is no money. There is no money for the Native Americans because the United States Government has not provided the funding that they have promised (Gorospe 96). Basically it is a domino effect that is not benefiting the Native American population in anyway. Before the Europeans migrated to America, Native Americans did not face many diseases. Post-arrival of the Europeans, diseases such as smallpox, influenza, measles, typhus, malaria, leprosy, and several others began to effect the Native American population (Grandbois 1002). Presently these diseases and many other disabilities can be one of the many reasons why Native Americans are in poverty. It is inconvenient for Native Americans to seek help when it comes to being ill, so a majority of the time they rely on natural cures or do not seek help at all. In many Native American cultures they live with their extended families who will provide the disabled member of the family with whatever...

Cited: Donelan, Brenda. “The Unique Circumstances of Native American Juveniles Under
Federal Supervision.” Federal Probation 63.2 (1999): 68
Gorospe, Martha G. “Overcoming Obstacles and Improving Outcomes.”
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Grandbois, Donna. “Stigma Of Mental Illness Among American Indian And Alaska
Native Nations: Historical And Contemporary Perspectives.” Issues in Mental Health Nursing 26 (2005): 1001-1024
Jenkins, Alan. “Inequality, Race, and Remedy.” The American Prospect 18.5 (May
2007): A8(4)
Marshall, Catherine A. “The Older Native American Indian With Disabilities:
Implications for Providers of Health Care and Human Services.” Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development 22.3 (1994):182-194
Nasaw, Daniel. “Obama Vows to End Native Americans’ Neglect.” The Guardian
(2009): 30
Nykiel, Ronald A. “A Special Look at Indian Gaming.” UNLV Gaming Research &
Review Journal 8.2 (2004): 51-56
Rodgers, Tom. Spotlight on Poverty. 2009. 12 Nov. 2009. .
Walsh, Catherine. “Perspectives.” America 173.11 (1995):8. Academic Search Premier.
EBSCO. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. .
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