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Poverty In Native Americans

Powerful Essays
Since Europeans first set foot onto the Western Hemisphere, the Indigenous people of the United States have been subjected to incredibly poor standards of living, right in the heart of what is supposed to be the best country in the world to live in. Despite thousands of years of living in this very nation, The Native people of this land have been forced to take a backseat to pave the way for an industrialized world, all leading up to present day United States, in which Native Americans are hardly better off. Because of this, many Native American Reservations all over the United States have some of the highest poverty rates in the nation, while at the same time being one of the least talked about issues our nation faces. The source of which…show more content…
This very difficult problem in Native homes can be traced back hundred of years, stemming from many centuries of torment for the Indigenous people. According to John Lowe of “The Journal of Community Psychology”, “Some researchers have argued that the use of boarding schools, relocation to urban areas, and the past termination policies of the federal government have all played a role in the life of disintegration of the culture and health of Native Americans” (3). This claim supports the notion that the incredible generational trauma Native Americans have endured for so long is the primary cause of the people’s drug addiction and dependence. Naomi Schaefer Riley of USA Today states, “High rates of addiction in Indian country stem from the violence and cultural destruction brought upon Natives over the past 200 years, resulting in generational trauma” (Riley 1). This statement, like that of Lowe’s, means to suggest that because of the many abuses inflicted upon Native tribes since Europe first began to colonize, the Native people have been forced to endure extreme poverty and life threatening conditions, and in turn drug abuse for many of their people. In order to grasp the destruction drug abuse and addiction have on a community, it is best to look at that community’s youth. According to Riley, “Indian youth have the highest rates of alcoholism use disorders of any racial group in the country. . .” (1). This alarming fact only contributes to the notion that many Native American homes have a devastating problem that needs immediate attention. Lowe states in his work that “By twelfth grade, 80% of Native American youth are active drinkers” (2). This statistics displays the true impact on the Native youth caused by drug abuse, and the true urgency needed in solving this ever growing issue.
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