The heartbreaking problems and difficulties that families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation must endure are hard to face. In this blog, we will discuss the hardships affecting those in need and what our Foundation is doing to help alleviate some of those struggles.
Problems Facing the Reservation:
Indigenous Native Americans who reside on the Pine Ridge Reservation face severe health problems. Tuberculosis, diabetes, suicide, and alcoholism are significantly higher on the reservation compared to the United States as a whole and distress the community. These problems stem from many systemic factors including lack of adequate housing, lack of employment opportunities, and provide a large part of the hardship faced by the families in Pine Ridge. With so many problems facing this community, our foundation has made it our goal to provide what we can for those in need.
The financial burden of drug or alcohol addiction for example can be particularly severe for young people and families in Pine Ridge, who may not have a steady source of income. The costs can get out of hand, leading to debt, eviction, and eventually homelessness. This strain can be felt most by older and younger generations with 58% of grandparents raising their grandchildren.
Many homes within Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are without water, electricity, insulation, and even basic sewage. Substandard homes contribute to health issues within the community and can be even more harmful during 110 degree summers and -50 degree winters. Another difficulty facing this community is the lack of Industry to employ tribal members with 89% of the tribe’s work force being unemployed and those who have jobs having a very low income.
Perhaps the saddest of all the issues to face this community is the fact that it has the highest suicide rate in Indian Country with teen suicide 150% higher when compared to the United States. There are only six mental health professionals on the entire reservation. (“Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Struggles with Suicides Among Its Young,” New York Times, May 1, 2015). The Teach Them To Fish Foundation has been providing general necessities such as clothing, food, propane fuel, shoes, snow boots, winter coats, and school supplies for more than 15 years to the children in need on Pine Ridge Reservation. In addition to providing needed school supplies, we helped to renovate and support a safe house for children at risk for homelessness, abuse, or suicide.
By helping this community we have saved more than 4,700 children from suicide, abuse, and homelessness.
Contact us for more information on how to donate to help the youths in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation who face these problems. Together, we can make a greater impact for these youth. Let’s make a difference and help these young people succeed.
For additional information please visit our Pine Ridge Reservation page at https://teachthemtofish.org/what-we-do/support-pine-ridge-indian-reservation/