Friends of the Lakota Nation

For You to Know…

The general statistics below are provided for those that are unfamiliar with the issues and the urgent need to focus on the future of the Lakota Nation. Despite the hardships that the Lakota Nation faces on the reservation, they are a resilient and beautiful group of people. Their spirit keeps us fighting for social justice and a positive future for generations to come. In no way does a set of statistics wholly define a population. We recognize that there are a myriad of issues that need attention, which can only be brought about with monumental change. The purpose of addressing these statistics is to provide some understanding of the circumstances that many of our nation’s populations find themselves within either through current trends or historical practices of marginalization and oppression. Poverty is a worldwide issue that deserves attention and the populations in our country, either on the reservation, in large cities, or even within our own communities, need support. Please take a quick glance through some of the more prevalent issues the Lakota face. Our hope is that our organization, however small, can get others involved or assist others in understanding the struggles many impoverished populations face within our country. Thank you.

*The population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere: Approximately 47 years for males and 52 years for females.
* The infant mortality rate is five times the United States national average and the adolescent suicide rate is three times the United States national average.
* Members of the reservation suffer from a disproportionately high rate of poverty and alcoholism.
* Native Americans on the reservations have the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, and disease of any ethnic group in America.
* On the Pine Ridge Reservation, homelessness is at 30% and unemployment at 80-90% Sioux Indians in South Dakota have the poorest health of any minority group in the United States.
* The average number of people per home on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 15.
* One-third of homes on the reservation do not have electricity or running water.
* South Dakota Indian Reservations have 5 of the top 7 poorest per capita income counties in the United States, averaging just over $6,286 per year.
* Nationwide figures show that American Indian teenagers commit suicide at three times the national rate; are involved in alcohol-related arrests at twice the national average, and die in alcohol-related incidents at 17 times the national average
* Death rate due to diabetes is 3 times higher than the national average.
* The state of education on the reservation is severely lacking in multiple areas. The school drop-out rate is over 70%, and the teacher turnover rate is 800% that of the U.S. national average.
* As of 2011, the reservation has little economic development or industry. No banks or discount stores are located on the reservation, so prices for basic goods are often way above average.
Statistics for any population are never fixed. For more detailed information, consult the latest published statistics derived from sources such as the U.S. Census. Another useful source can be found on the following website: American Indian Humanitarian Foundation

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