Pine Ridge Reservation (Rez) is home of the Native American Indians and one of the poorest and remote Reservations, with the nearest city 2 hours away. Pine Ridge Rez spans over 2 million acres;more expansive than Rhode Island, Delaware and the District of Columbia combined. Out of all these acres, only 3% is usable cropland, with much of the Rez being made up of the Badlands.
Unlike many other Reservations, income from petroleum products to the Tribe is non-existent and there is no large casino income on the Rez. Per capita income is approximately $4,000 per year, with the unemployment rate is estimated between 80-90%. About 70% of the population lives below federal poverty levels and is often equated to poverty and living conditions of Haiti. The poverty on Pine Ridge can be described in no other terms than third world. It is common to find homes overcrowded, as those with homes take in whoever needs a roof over their heads. Many homes lack proper and safe housing and are without running water, electricity and without sewer.
Public Health problems are arising from this extreme poverty which include higher than the national average rates of alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cervical cancer, tuberculosis, and suicide. Pine Ridge Reservation has one of the lowest life expectancy in the United States.
Tribal Government records show 38,000 enrolled members living on Pine Ridge Rez. Every treaty ever made by the Federal government with the Lakota has been broken, which has contributed to Historical Trauma.
…… Time has come for change. As members of the Lakota tribe have said, “We will no longer live in Fear, but in Hope.”
The Oglala Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation are a proud people with a rich heritage, descendants of Chiefs Red Cloud, Black Elk, and Crazy Horse. The Oglala’s culture is one filled with a deep commitment to family, respect, kindness, and generosity.