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NATIVE AMERICANS TODAY
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  1. NATIVE AMERICANS TODAY

  2. THEIR NUMBERS • Conquest by Europeans resulted in genocide, great poverty and oppression for all Natives across the Americas • About 22% of our country’s 5.2 million Native Americans live on tribal lands • Still speak more than 100 different languages • About 40% of American Indians reside in rural areas, compared to 18% of whites and 8% of blacks

  3. RESERVATIONS • 300 federal reservations in the United States • There are 52 million acres left from the original Native American homeland of about 6.1 billion acres • Majority west of the Mississippi • 21 state reservations, most of these in the East • Some reservation land is owned, rented and occupied by non-Indians • The largest reservation is held by the Navajo tribe

  4. RESERVATIONS (Continued) • Living conditions on the reservations have been cited as "comparable to Third World“ • For many Native Americans there is no possibility to make a living by farming without the use of chemicals and in some reservations commercial hunting and fishing are prohibited

  5. HOUSING • There is a housing crisis on Native American reservations • There are 90,000 homeless or under-housed Native American families • 30% of on-reservation housing is overcrowded • Less than 50% of it is connected to a public sewer • About 40% of on-reservation housing is considered inadequate

  6. HOUSING (Continued) • Waiting list for tribal housing is long • The wait is often three years or more • Overcrowding is inevitable • Not uncommon for 3 or more generations to live in a two-bedroom home • Most Americans take running water, telephones, and electricity for granted; many reservation families live without these amenities

  7. EMPLOYMENT • Tribal and Federal governments are the largest employers on the reservations • Many households are overcrowded and earn only social security, disability or veteran's income • Scarcity of jobs and lack of economic opportunity • Four to eight out of ten adults on reservations are unemployed • Most American Indians who are employed are earning below poverty wages

  8. POVERTY LEVEL • Overall percentage of American Indians living below the federal poverty line is 28.2% • American Indians living below poverty on the reservations is even greater, reaching 38% to 63% • Pine Ridge reservation (South Dakota) 46% of the American Indian children are considered poor, which is higher than the poverty rate among adults • Extended families pool their meager resources as a way to meet basic needs

  9. HEALTH • Average life expectancy for Native Americans trails that of other Americans by almost 5 years • Indian Health Care Improvement Act only meets about 60% of health needs • Pharmacies and doctor's offices outside of hospitals are completely non-existent in some communities • Pressure to shift from a traditional way of life toward a Western lifestyle has dramatically impacted the health and welfare of the Native peoples

  10. HEALTH STATISTICS • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Native Americans • Due to the link between heart disease, diabetes, poverty, and quality of nutrition and health care, 36% of Natives will die before age 65 compared to 15% of Caucasians • Native Americansare 177% more likely to die from diabetes

  11. MORE HEALTH STATISTICS • Native Americans are 500% are more likely to die from tuberculosis • They are 82% are more likely to die from suicide • Cancer rates are higher than for other Americans • Infant death rates are 60% higher than for Caucasians

  12. NATIVE AMERICAN TEENS • Native American youth frequently live in homes that are more violent, more crowded, and poorer than those of other youth • Highest rate of school drop outs (about 54%) • Highest rate of teenage suicide ( 18.5 per 100,000) • Highest rate of teenage pregnancy

  13. QUOTE (Native American Youth/ Ages 18-24): “At an age when most young adults are benefiting from full time work and close interpersonal relationships, these youth will not have connected to the labor force; most will lack social support systems. About sixty percent will be men; of these, over half will be in prison, while the remaining young men will be mired in protracted spells of long-term unemployment. By age 25, nearly all of the young women will have started families; however, most of the young mothers will face the daunting challenge of raising their children alone with little income, or with the help of their own impoverished families.” --Wald and Martinez (2003)

  14. SCHOOLS • Reservation schools have the highest rate of teacher turnover • Lack the means for school supplies and sufficient staff • Lack of formal education fuels unemployment, poverty, teenage pregnancy, criminality and drug abuse

  15. CRIME • The violent crime rate for Native Americans (124 violent crimes per 1,000) is more than twice the rate for the Nation • Native American reservations have violent crime rates that are more than 2 ½ times higher than the national average • Nearly a third of all Native American victims of violence are between ages 18 and 24 • This group of Native Americans experienced the highest per capita rate of violence of any racial group considered by age • About 1 violent crime for every 4 persons of this age.

  16. CRIME (Continued) • American Indian women are 10x more likely to be murdered than other Americans • Rape or sexually assault is 4x the national average (more than one in three women having either been raped or experienced an attempted rape) • Government does not pursue rape charges on reservations 65 percent of the time • 61 percent of cases involving charges of sexual abuse of children on the reservations have been dismissed • Strangers were reported to have committed 46% of the violent crimes against American Indians

  17. ALCOHOLISM • 8 families out of 10 have problems with alcoholism • 1 in 10 Native American deaths related to alcohol • 2 leading causes of alcohol-related deaths were traffic accidents and liver disease • Next: homicide (6.6 percent), suicide (5.2 percent) and injuries in falls (2.2 percent)

  18. ALCOHOL ABUSE (Continued) • 68 percent of the Indians whose deaths were attributed to alcohol were men • 66 percent were people younger than 50 years old • Seven percent were less than 20 years old • Alcohol helps to cope with feelings of inadequacy during periods of rapid personal, cultural or social trauma

  19. WHY? • Native Americans are predisposed to alcoholism because of differences in the way they metabolize alcohol • American Indians are allergic to a number of the foods brought by Europeans, especially grains (e.g., wheat, barley, oats, etc.) • Food allergy symptoms include fatigue, mental confusion, depression, physical aggression and suicide attempts

  20. WHY? (Continued) • After repeated exposure, intense cravings for the allergen and physical addiction resulting in withdrawal symptoms are the response • The proper processing of corn, traditional diets of buffalo, fish, turkey, deer along with roots, vegetables, nuts and wild fruits are now seen as important to the treatment of both diabetes and alcoholism for Native Americans • Obtaining these foods once involved considerable exercise

  21. WHY? (Continued) • Indigenous peoples are suffering increased problems with diabetes and alcoholism • Forced off their native lands • The adoption of refined western foods • Even after sobriety, hypoglycemia and maladaptive allergic responses continue • After years of sobriety, many sober alcoholics not treated for hypoglycemia remain depressed, irritable and anxious; often hostile and paranoid • The genocide continues

  22. PUBLIC OPINION • “I blame the Indians for much of what happens to them; they refuse to blend in. They insist on keeping to their old ways. After all, they are a conquered people.” --Birdie Ward, Winner, SD (2007)

  23. PLIGHT OF NATIVE AMERICANS • Confrontation with continual unemployment • Environmental destruction • Decay of the reservations • Lack of positive future prospects • Lack of leisure time activities • Living in a world where fixed gender norms and exclusive spheres of authority no longer meet social and legal standards of propriety, Native American men struggle to reclaim those portions of their past

  24. FAMOUS MODERN NATIVE AMERICANS • JIM THORPE: Winner of Olympic Gold Medals in the decathlon and pentathlon • WILL RODGERS: American humorist • BILLY MILLS : Gold Medal Winner in Olympic track and field • NOTAH BEGAY: Professional golfer

  25. NATIVE AMERICAN ACTORS • Wesley "Wes" Studi • Eddie Spears • Russell Means • Adam Beach