For most American young people, entering adulthood poses many challenges and thought-provoking questions relative to employment and seeking to embark on a lifestyle of their own; however, for Native Americans these challenges have a far greater impact. Since most recognized Indian reservations are situated west of the Mississippi River, the most popular relocation areas are Phoenix and Los Angeles. As of the 2012 census, approximately one million still reside on a reservation where they are afforded both existence in their tribal nation as well as having constitutional rights granted to naturalized Americans. Remembrance of Shakespeare’s famous words “to be or not to be,” is definitely thought-provoking if the question is ‘to leave or not to leave the reservation.’
Some Reasons to Consider Leaving a Reservation
According to the 2010 Census, 4-to-8 of every 10 Native American adults are unemployed. An estimated 50 percent of these individuals exist beneath the poverty line.
In terms of hygienic conditions, 30 percent of reservation households consist of multi-generational families with 50 percent of these households living without amenities such as running water, electricity or telephones. Despite the fact that Native Americans living on reservations are dependent on Indian Health Services for basic medical care, the majority of reservations have no medical offices or pharmacies outside of the primary healthcare facility.
For Native Americans, life expectancy poses a harsh reality as opposed to that for their fellow American brothers and sisters. Taking into consideration the standard list of health issues ranging from heart disease and diabetes to nutritional issues, 36 percent of Native Americans die prior to age 65 as opposed to 15 percent for their Caucasian counterparts.
While the average American citizen can name at least one or two of the individuals occupying Forbes financial listing “America’s Wealthiest 1%” such as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, how many can name even one of “America’s Least Affluent 1% ?