There is a culture a whole race living here among us that need to be heard. The Native Americans have lived on this land for far longer than any European. This is their land; their sacred land. The Europeans came and over time the Native Americans have been pushed onto smaller and smaller reservations. Their once 3.79 million sq miles has over time been scattered all through the country. According to U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, there were roughly 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives living in the U.S., representing approximately 2% of the U.S. total population. Their population used to be 100% of the nation. Their culture was eradicated. Ways they had lives for centuries were no longer able to continue. Their buffalo hunt could no longer continue because of the near extinction caused by settlers over hunting. The trade system and guns lead to a whole new interrelation between the tribes. Their belief of not being able to own land could not continue. Not only did the population nearly die out so did the culture. Children were forced into Boarding Schools. They were not allowed to speak their native language, they had to cut their braids, and were not allowed to practice their religious beliefs. These people are still struggling today.
Native Americans are consistently in the highest percentage of poverty. Reservation Indians have a 39% poverty rate and Non-Reservations, 26%. ” the share of adults either working or looking for a job – is 61.6 percent, the lowest for all race and ethnicity groups. At 11 percent, the native unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2014 was almost double the national rate of 6.2 percent, according to the Labor Department. ” (Katherine Peralta ). Besides just poverty and unemployment they have so much more to handle.
A high heavy drinking rate, large amounts of cigarette and drug use, limited to no health care. These are issues a whole culture haven to face with seemingly no support. It is time that as a country we help those who have been here from the beginning.