Cheyenne River Reservation


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Native Americans are often described as "the invisible minority" - one that is not even mentioned with other groups in the U.S. Yet there are children living in poverty on some of these reservations that rivals that of 3rd world countries, including a shortage of clean drinking water. Understand how poverty impacts those living on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

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Cheyenne River Reservation

  1. 1. Home of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation
  2. 2. <ul><li>About 8,500 people live on the reservation, among the rolling, grass-covered prairies of north central South Dakota </li></ul>
  3. 4. The temperature drops to 30° below zero in the winter. The average temperature in the summer is 80° but will range from 69° to 110° from June to August. The area suffers from occasional droughts in the summer and severe blizzards in the winter. The spring and fall are very pleasant.
  4. 5. <ul><li>The unemployment rate on the reservation is </li></ul><ul><li>86% </li></ul>
  5. 6. The 2008 poverty rate of 54% was the highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Nearly a quarter of all Native Americans live below the poverty line
  6. 7. The Cheyenne River Reservation leads the nation in child poverty, with living conditions that rival developing nations
  7. 8. The child poverty rate at Cheyenne River is 70.1% The statewide child poverty rate in South Dakota is 18.3% Nationwide, the child poverty rate is 18.5%
  8. 9. <ul><li>Homelessness is nearly 14% </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>One third of the people are classified as disabled </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>The average life expectancy </li></ul><ul><li>is only age </li></ul><ul><li>48 </li></ul>
  11. 13. Lake Oahe with the Oahe Dam and Cheyenne River Reservation
  12. 14. <ul><li>In 1944 the United States Army Corps of Engineering and the Bureau of Reclamation developed the Pick-Sloan Plan, as part of the Flood Control Act enabled by Congress, creating reservoirs and dams across the Missouri River Basin. This plan resulted in the flooding of more than 200,000 acres of Lakota land and it caused more damage to tribal land than any other public works project that has taken place in the USA. The Lakota were only informed of the plan after it had been approved and their treaty rights were violated as they were forced to give up their best agricultural land and resources on the Missouri River. </li></ul>
  13. 15. In August 1948, construction started on the Oahe Dam, one of the five main projects of the Pick-Sloan Plan. The creation of the dam and the Oahe Reservoir swallowed up nearly 105,000 acres of the Cheyenne River Reservation. The largest town on the reservation and the original tribal headquarters – the Old Agency on the Cheyenne River – and two other smaller settlements were completely submerged. The tribe lost schools, hospitals, their police headquarters and other public facilities that they had built with tribal dollars. More than 180 families and 30% of the tribal population were forced to leave their homes and move 60 miles inland from the Missouri to the prairie town of Eagle Butte. The dam’s precious water resources are now used for hydro power to create billions of dollars of electricity a year, but the tribe sees little of these benefits.  
  14. 16. The population of the reservation rely on groundwater sources of often poor quality. At the community of Eagle Butte, the water supply exceeds federal standards for maximum levels of impurities and contains unacceptable amounts of iron, fluoride and dissolved solids. The high concentration of fluoride in the water is enough to damage the enamel of children’s teeth and the mineralized water has many other adverse side effects. Not only is the water unsuitable for consumption, it is also difficult to find and deep wells need to be sunk through heavy shale .
  15. 18. On January 22, 2010, a blizzard and ice storm swept across the reservation, downing 3,000 power lines and leaving thousands of residents without power or heat. The tribe’s aging and inefficient water system, which was unable to cope with the added pressure, collapsed, leaving the residents without running water for nearly a month.
  16. 22. Although a state of emergency was declared, the situation did not initially receive much attention in the media or from legislators.
  17. 24. <ul><li>Contact: T Carter, President </li></ul><ul><li>Native American Alumni Association </li></ul><ul><li>George Mason University </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>She will be glad to speak to your organization and send information on how you can contribute to this tribe. </li></ul>
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