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Old 08-21-2008, 10:10 PM
Location: South Dakota
1,961 posts, read 5,802,191 times
Reputation: 959


I have been to a few reservations, with going through Eagle Butte being on of the most vivid memories. To me, it felt like I was in a third-world country. It would not surprise me to see Pine Ridge being one of the poorest. Much of it is due to a severe lack of economic activity, which lot of it is due to tribal laws that are not too friendly for those who wish to do business, provide services, and offer employement in the reservation. The reservation governments need to reform their rules and laws to open up the reservation to investment and allow the betterment of their people in many ways.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:22 PM
Location: So. Dak.
13,495 posts, read 32,213,371 times
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Bush signs bill to provide billions for reservations : ICT [2008/08/15] (broken link)
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Old 09-23-2008, 01:41 AM
20 posts, read 96,345 times
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Default Pine Ridge's Poverty due to mother nature

It's true Pine Ridge is extremely poor and always has been. The Reservation is situated on the edge of the Badlands. The soil is very poor quality. Nothing grows there except some grasses and a few trees and bushes along the narrow and shallow creeks. There isn't enough water to irrigate a farm system. There isn't enough water to support an industry. A lot of the roads aren't even paved. There is no transportation system for an industry to get its goods out of Pine Ridge. There is no airport. There is no railroad. Things have to go by truck. There is no trucking industry. The area is hot and dry in the summer and gets snow in the winter and has blizzards. It is dusty and windy most of the year. The landscape is bleak and barren. The grasses that grow there can't support a ranching industry. It takes too many acres of grassland to support one cow. The Native Americans who were forced to live there were supposed to ranch and farm. Nobody ever checked to see if it was possible to do either.

One family found out it was possible to grow industrial hemp in the Pine Ridge area. Industrial hemp has less than one tenth of one percent of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It could not create a marijuana problem. We have no US source of industrial hemp. We get our hemp from Canada. Our drug laws included industrial hemp on the list of controlled substances even though no one could get high on it. If Congress would remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances, the US could grow its own hemp at Pine Ridge. It just so happens that industrial hemp, the kind the US govt developed to be grown for war time use to make rope, likes a place with poor soil, little water, a hot and dry climate, etc. It's able to enrich the soil itself, so the soil doesn't get depleted in less than 5 years like other crops attempted in Pine Ridge do.

Industrial hemp can be used to make a very strong rope like the military needs. It can also make a brown paper like the kind used for paper grocery bags, and unlike trees, industrial hemp is renewable. The oil in industrial hemp can be used to make cosmetics. You can make canvas out of industrial hemp. It looks different from marijuana. It's the only crop ever successfully grown in Pine Ridge, and it could spawn some industries, and the govt sent the drug agents in to Pine Ridge and confiscated the crop without clearing it with the Reservation authorities first, which is against US law.

Crazy Horse was one of the strategists for the Battle of the Little Big Horn, where Custer and his men were wiped out. Crazy Horse was a member of the tribe that lives in Pine Ridge. His battle strategies are studied at our military academies. He went after Custer because Custer's main "battle strategy" was to find a defenseless Native American village when the men were out hunting game and wipe out all the women and children and elderly and steal the horses and write a report about his battle with the Native Americans. A lot of people think the US government has never forgiven Crazy Horse's tribe for defeating Custer and has been trying to take revenge on them ever since. The govt has done a marvelous job of keeping them desperately poor, sick, undernourished, and demoralized.

The man who decided to be an entrepreneur and had his industrial hemp crop confiscated has been through the court system to try to get his business legalized. The courts suggested he'd have better luck if he got Congress to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances.

So that's one thing people could do to improve the situation at Pine Ridge--write to Congress to legalize INDUSTRIAL hemp. It grows well even for inexerienced farmers, and we should have our own source of it for our national security.
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:24 AM
Location: Great Plains
25,587 posts, read 28,243,348 times
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South Dakota resverations have some really good ground for agriculture production. If it be farming or grazing. The kicker about the great plains and ag is a person needs a section (640 acres) or more of ground to farm (where farming is good) to make an OK living. If you want to use the land for grazing and most of west river South Dakota grazing is about the best use of the land IMO you need at least 1200 acres to make any sort of living.

And industial hemp... yeah that is making growth in leaps and bounds .

I don't think that is the honest answer.

as far as the poverty problem. That is two edged sword. No one is obligated to live on the resveration and quite a few move to the bigger towns and several earn job and better their lives.
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Old 09-23-2008, 02:42 PM
Location: Pennsylvania
60 posts, read 202,950 times
Reputation: 53
Default Read my other post

Please, read my other post under the topic 'Least Favorite SD Town' - post #33 and #35

Read and learn -- about the differences between Mexicans-Filipinos-Pine Ridge adults. I wish I had the time to talk about Central Americans and Africans too. Big difference in circumstances.

There is a reason why people "literally die" to come here, like Cubans (in the ocean), Mexicans (in the desert),and Haitians (in the ocean).They don't come here to be oppressed! They come here because of -- the opportunity for a better life. In order to have a better life, you have to "work hard", not sit around and "drink beer all day", and "blame everybody" else for your "poor decisions". I'll focus on Mexican immigrants because we all know them very well -- as hard working immigrants and good providers for their families. Mexican men in particular, risk jail (undocumented) in a foreign land and work 40-80 hours per week.You know what they do with that money...they send it home to their family.They would "rather" live in Mexico where they know everybody, speak the same language, and don't have to live in fear of deportation, but, they do it because -- their own country doesn't provide them with the opportunities that America does.They also know after 1 or 2 generations that their kids will make it here -- and make them proud, just like a alot of European immigrants did. It's also a myth that Mexicans only make $5-$6 dollars per hour, many in construction make $15-$20/hr because of their work ethic.

Not all whites were born into privilege either, most of them worked for it -- this country is a shining example. Asian immigrants from the Philippines, China, and India have the "higest per capita incomes" in America, yes, they earn a lot more than most white families.You know why Asian Americans are highly successful and wealthier than most whites, because of family values (very few divorces) , hard work, and mandatory higher education. That's why! I work in healthcare, and most places that I've worked in had more Asian doctors, nurses, and therapists from the Philippines and India, than American born.Their skin color is never used as an issue, despite many of them having darker skin than some blacks and Sioux.We can all learn from them, and I wish I could hold seminars in Pine Ridge about sacrifice, hard work, and family values. I would bring Indians (India), Mexicans and Filipinos with me, because they wouldn't want to listen to me. Sacrifice, family, and hard work built this country.This country or modern -- rising superpower--China wouldn't exist without those key ingredients.That's the recipe for success -- "not crying victim" for eternity! It needs to stop.

The Oglala Sioux have it better than "all" of these immigrants did.The Sioux are Americans, and they don't have to risk their life in the desert or at sea, or spend years on waiting lists to work in America -- like most immigrants.They aren't subject to any immigration laws and deportation policies like many immigrants. Even some doctors here, who save lives, and pay the highest income tax rates -- only have a temporary work visa. The Sioux speak English which also makes their transition to work easier as well.

Furthermore, look at black Americans, "nobody" suffered more than blacks, and look at them today.Everywhere you go, you see black millionaires, corporate executives, Mayors of the greatest U.S. cities, Secretaries of State, Supreme Court Justices, and even a possible -- "next" President of the U.S.

Barack Obama's dad was an "immigrant" from Kenya, and his mom was a regular Mid-West girl.The Sioux weren't slaves for 300 years like the blacks!To say they were -- is a slap in the face to all blacks today. If blacks, and immigrants from Third World countries can make it here -- so can American Indians.

Residents of Pine Ridge need to put down the bottles, cut up their 'Victim credit cards' and join the rest of the world. If they love their children, and want to have a future -- they need to step up to the plate of life. Their proud, brave, self-sufficient ancestors would be disappointed to see their men -- sitting around drunk and asking for handouts from whites.The mighty Sioux did everything for themselves and fought for their families. By intentionally living in despair, they are cursing their ancestors and telling them that they all died in vain.They need to stop blaming whites for all their problems, and prove to us that they are equal or better.

Nobody can change the past, but you can change the future. If you study history, and study the world today, every race was oppressed at one time. We all need to stop living in the past. Everyone here that lives near the Sioux, has a responsibility to "stop telling them that they are victims". You are hurting them by rehashing how their land was stolen, evil whites, etc. Stop calling them "victims", and stop "patronizing" them and treating them as if they are dumb and defenseless babies. Some of you talk about them like abandoned animals in an animal shelter. They are men! No more excuses! Many of you are hurting them, by feeling as if you owe them something. None of us alive today --owe them anything, except for maybe helping them find work, and offering to watch their kids when they are "at work". That's all you can do! More welfare for those who "don't" want to work and get drunk -- is a certain death for all of them! If there is no work on the reservation, go get a job somewhere else -- like many do. Many immigrants travel over 10,000 miles to find work. Why can't they work as nurses at the IHS, instead of importing non-native nurses from around the country -- to take care of them. Don't they want to take care of their "own" sick?

They get enough free services from a government "that they say they don't need". Don't forget that they are not the only ones suffering in this land. Have more sympathy for the handicapped, than able-bodied men who "don't" want to take care of their wives and kids. The answer isn't always more money! If these men behaved this way and treated their kids this way -- off the reservation -- they would be called "deadbeat dads" or "trailer trash". Stop the "double set of standards", and stop the "self loathing" for something you or I -- didn't do to them. It's not your fault!

Last edited by pikie; 09-23-2008 at 03:52 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:57 AM
20 posts, read 96,345 times
Reputation: 39
Default Immigrants moving to Pine Ridge?

In my previous post, I wrote about INDUSTRIAL hemp and its industrial uses as a possible help for the unemployment in Pine Ridge. Industrial hemp is not marijuana! It does not look like marijuana. It has only one tenth of one percent of THC, the intoxicating substance in marijuana. You can't get high on it. Marijuana also needs a lot more water and richer soil than industrial hemp.

It isn't good to compare the experience of immigrants with that of the native Americans. My great great grandfather and his wife and children were European immigrants who homesteaded here. Many immigrant groups have been able to find work, feed, clothe, educate, and care for their children and created a decent life for themselves. However, none of those immigrants are moving to Pine Ridge, except to work in the hospital. Most of the immigrant groups, except for African Americans, were not slated for genocide. Genocide was part of the policy for Native Americans. Under Manifest Destiny the US did not want to enslave the Native Americans. The US wanted to take their land and get rid of them. In California it was legal to hunt Native Americans, which is why many California tribes no longer exist.

The reservation system consisted of rounding up a Native American tribe, assigning it a piece of land without regard to the needs of their culture, dividing the reservation up into land allottments and assigning an allottment to each family. No concern was given to whether the piece of land could support agriculture or ranching or if water was available. At one point the Native Americans in Pine Ridge reservation were given cows, but they could not sell a cow without government permission. They probably had to go get water for the cows and carry it to them, because not many of the land allottments had a creek. (A 5 gallon container of water weighs 40 lbs, and cows needs a LOT of water.) They could not sell their land allottment. They could not leave the reservation. If they tried to leave, they were rounded up by the Army. No other immigrant group has had it's right to trade and make money so restricted. Nor have they been the victim of so many poorly researched schemes which impoverished them instead of improved their lives.

Because the land at Pine Ridge is so poor, it doesn't support large numbers of buffalo. The Native American culture at Pine Ridge was dependent on hunting buffalo and deer and elk and using buffalo hide for many things and buffalo robes (buffalo hide with the hair on it) for warmth. All parts of the buffalo have a daily use function. Buckskin was used for their beautiful beaded clothing. Pine Ridge does not support a large deer population, either. Nothing of their culture is available at Pine Ridge, and they were not allowed to leave to hunt. Cultural genocide!

Pine Ridge is not like other grassy parts of South Dakota. It is actually on the edge of the Badlands and has Badlands formations on it. No one tries to farm or ranch the Badlands. The grass on the reservation is not good, and it's more sparse than other places in the state, like the rest of the Badlands. Except along the White River and a few larger creeks, farming isn't possible. There only a few creeks in Pine Ridge, much less large ones. The rainfall isn't much more than the Badlands, if that. Industrial hemp can grow there, because it requires so very little water in spite of the heat and very low humidity.

Pine Ridge is poor because the government gave the Native Americans land settlers weren't interested in, because it was useless. The settlers took the land in the Black Hills, which belong to the people of Pine Ridge by a treaty, which the Supreme Court has upheld. The land in the Black Hills is beautiful, good, has lots of buffalo and deer and elk and wapiti (antelope), and gold and feldspar and enough trees to do some logging. The Army didn't protect the Black Hills from settlers after Custer and his men found gold there. The Native Americans had to sit at Pine Ridge and watch the Europeans take the Black Hills.

Pine Ridge is poor because of an unconscionable lack of concern by everyone except the people who lived there. The state universities, which are land grant colleges, are required to do research to support agriculture in their state. Nothing stopped them from developing crops that were workable for novice farmers, didn't require carrying water, and sustainable in Pine Ridge. Industrial hemp for rope and canvas could have been introduced during World War II, when the government was paying people to grow it for the Navy's thick ropes and heavy canvas. Instead, the government knew the land was so useless that they leased a large part for a bombing range.

The Native Americans who live at Pine Ridge have a healthy desire to work in a familiar place and to preserve their cultural identity and pass it to their children. They cannot do that if they are scattered all over the United States looking for work. In addition their culture requires the individual to rely on the support of the tribe. That is why so many more people from Pine Ridge are getting educations since community colleges were established right on the reservation.

The government wants the people of Pine Ridge to take a monetary reimbursement for the Black Hills. The people of Pine Ridge want the Black Hills, not money. The Black Hills have a lot of cities and towns, water sources, universities, feldspar mines, mica mines, (the Homestake Gold Mine is mined out and closed), logging operations, and some farms and ranches. It's the life the people of Pine Ridge could have had if the government had obeyed their treaty to reserve the Black Hills to them forever.

If you go to CDP Heritage West and search Pine Ridge, South Dakota (don't use SD), you can get 300 photos from the turn of the century to look at, and some of them will make you sick at how human beings were forced to live, especially when you notice that a few of them are from 1935.

Last edited by Polycarp of John; 09-25-2008 at 01:16 AM..
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:41 AM
33 posts, read 132,522 times
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Clean up the drugs and alcoholism first.
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:38 PM
20 posts, read 96,345 times
Reputation: 39
Default Why clean up the alcoholism first?

Why should a whole people wait until there is good enough alcohol treatment to clean up the area FIRST? The unemployment rate in Pine Ridge is up near the 90% rate. Unless they're at the latest stage where they're drunk 24/7, most alcoholics can do some work for many years. They don't do it as well as sober people, but they can and do work all the time in our country. I know two people who work with alcohol in their systems every day at good jobs.

In order to get sober, an addict needs some kind of hope. A man who is an alcoholic needs to have a realistic hope that he will be able to support his wife and children when he gets sober. At 90% unemployment in a place with bad land and no water in a country with no respect for treaty rights, Pine Ridge is not a place that engenders a lot of hope, though some steps are being made. There are still plenty of non addicted people in Pine Ridge to do some work if work is available in the area. I've seen mocassins in city stores that were made in Pine Ridge. It isn't necessary to clean up the alcoholism first.

Pine Ridge needs locally sustainable industries such as maybe growing the US government developed form of INDUSTRIAL hemp for heavy rope, canvas, paper, and many other things and letting the crop spawn local industries that use the industrial hemp in manufacturing. That kind of change might last. Unfortunately Congress has to be made to take industsrial hemp (you can't get high on it, it's not marijuana) off the list of controlled substances first. Right now we import it from Canada. I don't know how we get it into the country since it's still a controlled substance.

And what would really be best is to start a program to return the Black Hills to the people to whom by treaty it belongs forever. Maybe there could be a requirement that people who own property in the Black Hills could continue to use it, but when they die or choose to sell it, it has to be sold to the tribe that owns the land, with a guarantee that the selling price will be the current market value of the property.

And in case you're thinking Pine Ridge could get money and jobs by running casinos... Rapid City is the nearest population center, and it's 120 hot dry miles of driving in the summer and snow covered miles with blowing snow and blizzard possibilities in the winter. Hot Springs is 60 miles away over the same roads, but there are only about 5,000 people there.

Last edited by Polycarp of John; 10-02-2008 at 10:48 PM..
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:07 PM
Location: South Dakota
1,961 posts, read 5,802,191 times
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Another possible thing that could help the reservations in western SD is renewable energy. Wind energy is a good possibility along with the switchgrass that can be turned into cellulosic ethanol that can power our vehciles and be more efficient and require less resources to prouduce than corn-based ethanol. How about tourism and getting the tribe behind it and use tourism as a way to educate toursits of tradition, arts, and historical culture of the Sioux. Yes, industrial hemp is a good idea to make useful products such as baskets, cosmetics, etc. With ideas and coming up with logical ways to make them reality, this can open up doors to greater economic opportunties and hope for the Native Americans. Sitting down and acting pitiful will not work in maing things better, but cooperatiion, optimism, and diligence will help improve matters on Pine Ridge.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:13 PM
Location: Great Plains
25,587 posts, read 28,243,348 times
Reputation: 22713
Industrial hemp? Hahahahahahahahahahaha... You have got to be freaking kidding me.

Polycarp I am willing to be money you have never stepped foot onto the pineridge resvervation.
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