Daniel Garza: Broken promises keeping Indian Country behind

"The Yakama Nation covers an area of approximately 1.2 million acres, has about 10,000 enrolled members, and is overseen by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

There are 566 such Indian reservations across the United States whose members have endured years of broken promises and failed policies resulting from their treaty agreements with the United States government. You would think having the coffers of the U.S. government at one’s disposal would offer the joys of utopian life liberals dream of.

But a utopian life is not exactly what members in the reservation enjoy. Not even close.

Although it varies from reservation to reservation, Native Americans have the highest poverty rate in the nation at 26 percent. The Blackfoot Reservation in Montana last we checked, for example, has an unemployment rate of 69 percent. It doesn’t help when Indian people own private businesses at the lowest rate per capita for any ethnic or racial group in the United States.

What’s more, Indians have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America, and suddenly an astonishing 66 percent are born to single mothers, and in some tribes the rate of alcohol dependence is as high as 70 percent of the population. They are 40 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites, and among American Indians age 25 to 34, the rate of violent crime victimizations was more than 2½ times the rate for all persons the same age."

Get the Story:
Daniel Garza: Under the Reservation Sky (Indian Country Today 10/12)

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