Alauna G. California

Native American Issues

Native American families living in poverty.

Dear next president:

Numerous Native American families are struggling to live the everyday life. Native Americans face problems such as school dropout, unemployment, overcrowded living conditions, alcohol abuse and the right to manage and control "their land". These issues all lead to living in poverty.

Native Americans have struggled for decades in the school system. Many of their school facilities have been neglected, lacking even the basic essentials such as heat and running water. It could be extremely difficult for a student to learn and enjoy school with a rough learning environment. With the graduation percentages being so low, in the native community, there isn't much motivation for the youth to continue school. This issue could lead to a much larger conflict, that being unemployment. Native Americans current unemployment rate is 11 percent, compared to a white workers which is 6.1 percent. The number of unemployed Native Americans continues to increase while the number of Native American graduates decrease. Improving the schools for the Native youths could help them succeed later in life.

It isn't uncommon to see a Native American family living in an overcrowded home that is falling apart. Many Native families live in substandard housing that lack inadequate plumbing, kitchen facilities, cooling and heating, running water, telephones, and electricity. In addition, overcrowding seems inevitable."There are 90,000 homeless or under housed Indian families, and that 30% of Indian housing is overcrowded." (“Native American Living Conditions on Reservations - Native American Aid”). Most families will not turn down another family member in need of a place to stay. It isn't uncommon for 3 generations to live in the same house. Substandard housing, lack of utilities, and overcrowding can make living extremely difficult.

Another issue Native Americans face is having the right to control their land. Tribes are not capable of owning or managing their land because the government is the legal owner of all land in Indian country. Since Native Americans don't own any land or homes on the reservation, they cannot mortgage their benefits for loans like other Americans. This makes it extremely difficult to start a business in Indian Country. By the reason of tribes not being able to promote growth, tribes remained locked in poverty.

The lives of the Indigenous peoples are in need of help. Give Native Americans the opportunity to change their way of life. Give Native Americans the honor and respect they deserve. They are still here and are ready for a change.


Alauna G.

Yreka High School

American Literature

Yreka High School English III students from Ms. Truttman's class.

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