The Lakota And The Sioux Indigenous People: Tale Of Two Tribes

2023 words - 8 pages

The history of Native Americans is rich in cultural customs, philosophies, and fundamental ideologies. This history has also been marked by injustice, tragedy, and suffering. No discussion of Native American tribes and the present land they possess, their reservations, can be complete without the mention of poverty. Many Native American tribes like the Oglala Lakota Nation are waist deep in poverty and economic conflict. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples has recognized the plight of native peoples all across the world that are experiencing the same disenfranchisement as the Lakota peoples. In the mid 200’s the United Nations set a goal to establish the Declaration on the Rights for Indigenous People. Nearly 143 countries in the world adopted the declaration. None of those 143 countries was the United States. The neglect that the government has given Native American tribes throughout its history is appalling and continues to be a reason why many tribes such as the Lakota have struggled for so long. Yet, there are some tribes like the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux who have profited in recent years. The economic disparity between the Lakota and the Sioux are extreme and only through an analysis of past history, current issues, and future endeavors can this difference be truly observed.
Of course the United States has moved beyond the violence and deception that was so long the theme of Native American affairs in this country. However, there is still a natural feeling of distrust among some Native American tribes which is warranted. The Sioux arguably have one of the strongest cases to be skeptical of the government. In 1862 the U.S. government failed to honor a treaty to the Sioux. When the Sioux desperately asked for government assistance because their people were starving the government refused. According to Jodi Byrd, author of the journal article Living My Native Life Deadly, a U.S. government representative responded to the pleas of the Sioux people by stating, “ “If they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung” (Byrd). The lack of promised support by the U.S. government eventually led the Sioux people to fight for what they needed to survive. This conflict was known as the Dakota War and led to the removal of the Sioux from much of their ancestral lands in Minnesota. Historical stories like these are common place for many Native American tribes. The false acts of the national government was one of the first steps in leading many American Indians into poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “most [Native] Americans earn a medium annual income of $33,630” (Heise). Tom Rodgers’ article Native American Poverty sheds further light on the economic situation in most Native American tribes, “One in every four (25.3 percent) lives in poverty and nearly a third (29.9 percent) are without health insurance coverage” (Rodgers). Nearly all Native American reservations are seen by the U.S. Census Bureau as having the...

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