Rescue Native American Indian Heritage
Native American Indian heritage is rich in tradition and culture unique to the legacy of our country. But many Native American tribal members living on Indian reservations are struggling with a different legacy. More than 300,000 Native Americans are either homeless or living in life-threatening conditions. American Indians are faced with a suicide rate double that of all other nonwhites, and higher levels of school dropouts, alcoholism and unemployment (45% average, with 82% on the Rosebud Reservation). Because many Native American reservations are located in isolated areas, much of the housing on Indian reservations lack electricity and running water.
With the reported success of Indian gaming, it might be hard to believe that nearly 50% of all American Indian families currently live below the poverty line. Native Indian tribes are individual sovereign nations and have always been responsible for the needs of their people, regardless of tribal income. There are 562 federally recognized Indian tribes, and only about half operate any type of gaming business. It is just a handful of the smaller Indian tribes, like the 50-member Cabazon, and non-Indian investors, that have become the wealthy "headline making" exceptions. (Other tribes, such as the 250,000-member Navajo Nation, are not involved in gaming.)
Native American Indians are a proud and capable people. They aren't looking for a handout, they are searching for ways to face the challenges of maintaining their native culture, while overcoming years of poverty.
By volunteering on an American Indian reservation, you'll not only share the customs, traditions and wisdom of Native history, but you will help to rescue our country's Native American Indian heritage as well. After all, the Lakota Indians believe "Mitakuye Oyasin," or "We are all related."
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