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3rd World Living Conditions Found In US Tribes

 LOS ANGELES -- Marc Victor and Mary Jo Christian went out to visit American Indian Reservations to put together an incredible Native American competition where one tribe will win a wind and solar generation system and tech school for an upcoming TV show, Dream Catcher – Search for the Ultimate Warrior.  When they arrived on some reservations they discovered American Indians right here in the United States living in less than third world conditions!

The South Dakota, Lakota tribe are a people living in what most would call an unsatisfactory state. With poverty conditions that rival some global developing regions and the lowest life expectancy in the Western hemisphere, the average current life span for women on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 52 years and 48 for men.

With 97% of the population at Pine Ridge living under conditions that fall beneath the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services definition of poverty, things that most American people call staples, the Lakota tribe sees as luxuries. Income levels are as low as $5-10 dollars per day resulting in neglected substandard homes that sometimes go without electricity, water or gas. Bitter winters force many families to spend up to 70% of their income to heat their homes. Therefore, hypothermia is a powerful threat in winter months. According to the College of American Pathologists, deaths from hypothermia occur as frequently indoors as outdoors. Conditions leading to hypothermia in the elderly Lakota women often occur due to poor health and lack of resources.

President Barack Obama stated, "Native Americans have also served in the United States Armed Forces with honor and distinction, defending the security of our Nation with their lives. Yet, our tribal communities face stark realities, including disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, crime, and disease. These disparities are unacceptable, and we must acknowledge both our history and our current challenges if we are to ensure that all of our children have an equal opportunity to pursue the American dream."

Native Americans to date have garnered more purple hearts and Medals of Honor than most other cultures or races in this country, as was spoken by Senator Dorgan at the United Tribes Technical College.

"People here die from lack of proper health care. Should there be a need for medical attention it is a five hour drive to the hospital from where we are located," said Tommy Christian, Tribal Executive Board Fort Peck Tribes of Assiniboine-Sioux,Montana.

The current Oglala Sioux Tribe president Theresa Two Bulls said, "We are American Indians suffering under extreme poverty right here in the United States' [in our own] back yard. I have never quite understood people who travel oversees and put forth so much effort to help those in under developed countries, when we have a place right here in the U.S. that has third world conditions."


STORY TAGS: NATIVE AMERICAN, INDIAN, NATIVES, MINORITIES, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY



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