Whiteclay

Whiteclay, Nebraska was a symbol of one of the most shameful and unfortunate byproducts of American exploitation. There are very few issues I am this passionate about, I feel cautious as I write this because I know the harm that exposing issues does, it leads to a large majority of people with shoddy solutions to a issue far more complex than the sum of its parts.

Whiteclay, Nebraska is just outside the Pine Ridge reservation where a lot of my family lives. Growing up with my grandpa, who worked hard to give my parents and uncles the life that they have, despite this. Native Americans from the Pine Ridge reservation have a disturbingly high rate of nearly every metric one could use to discuss problems. eight out of ten families suffer from alcoholism is just an example,( http://www.4aihf.org/id40.html) so one asks what can we do to solve this problem?

Beer Sales Prohibited in Whiteclay but the fight is far from over, with 97% of families below the poverty line and a plethora of other terrible statistics, what Pine Ridge needs is a complete overhaul, yet at the same time not too demanding interference from outside groups to lose their culture, the future needs to come from their youth. Hope is a powerful force, kids having just a glimmer of a chance is what is needed, and with that hope change can occur.  I think that this new youth needs to come from education and sports, I know I will give back to where my family came from, and that’s what I think is most important, I didn’t grow up there and I don’t even mean that you need to either to support something but I think that it’s important to have hope, and even though I’m not sure how to fix the Whiteclay problem, I know that there are other communities with similar issues, don’t forget to give back to who made you. If a ripple effect can occur with that idea then maybe a change can happen. Organizations like Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation and other support groups are trying, but it is gonna take a large overhaul to get to where we need to go,  but even the education  needs help, with over 70% dropout ratehttps://friendsofpineridgereservation.org/about-pine-ridge-reservation-and-foprr/statistics-about-pine-ridge-reservation/

Make sure to support your communities, hope is one of the most powerful forces out there, I hope some day to be able to throw a stone and make a ripple that may be able to help Pine Ridge and other communities in the area, but it’s gonna take awareness and education to get us there.

“Over 33% of the Reservation homes lack basic water and sewage systems as well as electricity.” http://www.4aihf.org/id40.html, this is another major problem, often we think of poverty as a lack of any sort of luxuries, but even basic needs like water have not been met for these Native Americans. I think that the surprising lack of support shows just how much of a blind eye is shown to Natives who live in America. It feels as though many of them are treated like they don’t live in America and despite these issues, the youth of Pine Ridge reservation are working to make the future even better than it is now. I believe as long as hope is kept up change can occur, but outside help for the Native American people is very important. It’s not just the poverty but the lack of a good infrastructure to promote growth, and this is because their community wants are very unique for each reservation.

1 thought on “Whiteclay”

  1. I absolutely love how you’ve put your own unique spin on your civic issue of choice. By leading into the poorly-defined of Native Americans in today’s society with a personal example, you grabbed my attention, hence encouraging me to continue reading. You express gratitude towards relatives whom rose from a community abounding with issues and developed prosperous futures. At the same time, you state a desire to eliminate the strenuous process of overcoming hardship, thus making yourself an amicable and admirable character in your blog.

    I also appreciate the great breadth of information you were able to condense in just one post. As opposed to using this entry as solely an introduction, you elaborated on the core argument with alarming statistics, analysis, and statement of how you wish to contribute to the issues at hand.

    Upon reading your comment about the 70% dropout rate, I proceeded to explore the list of facts you provided and found my discoveries quite alarming. While you continually stressed the need for remaining optimistic and hopefully, it failed to truly resonate with me until I read the myriad statistics which all go against the population of Pine Ridge Reservation. With the nearest substantial town a whole 120 miles away and public transportation failing to exist on the reservation, why bother going to school? Then a higher dropout rate ensues, thus elevating the number of unemployed, hopeless souls living below the poverty line and trying to mask such pain with substance abuse.

    While this may not be exactly how you wish to frame the issues at hand, I highly encourage giving this link some consideration:

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb07/astruggle.aspx

    Stemming from your mention of hopelessness, the American Psychological Association analyzes the scarily high suicide rates among Native Americans living on reservations. Maybe you could tie some of their statistics or anecdotes into a future post.

    Keep up the stellar work! I look forward to seeing what direction you take this issue in.

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