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View Diary: Here we go again: Blizzard hits Dakotas (243 comments)

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  •  Some of the NAN team looked into this . . . (3+ / 0-)
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    third Party please, cai, BardoOne

    last winter.  There's one HUGE problem:  A very large percentage of the homes are in such bad shape that weatherization wouldn't help, and/or would be a waste of money that could go directly to ensuring heat for surviving the winter.

    IIRC, four years ago, Pine Ridge needed to have another 7,000 homes constructed just to house people minimally adequately.  (They didn't get them, needless to say, and it's worse now.)  In some areas, there are 17 people living in 4-person houses (no, that's not the top end; more like and average).  And a lot of the homes are infected with black mold - saturated with it.  They're irreparable; the only thing to do is tear them down, burn the vegetation under the foundation, and start over.  

    But folks can't afford that, so meanwhile, they are forced to live in these toxic structures, getting sicker and sicker, while the world goes on around them, uncaring.  The death rates from preventable illnesses are sky-high there; the chronic and catastrophic illness rates are several hundred times that of the U.S. generally.  The average life expectancy for men at Pine Ridge is equal to Somalia's - 43; for women, 52.  The average household income is less than $3,750 annually, and the unemployment rate is 86%.  What people outside the rezes don't understand is that this is daily life.  This is what our people battle, every second of every day.  And it's been by design that this has occurred, and that it never gets fixed.  Which is where we come in.

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Sat Jan 01, 2011 at 03:42:06 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for the detailed reply. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      third Party please, BardoOne, Aji

      I knew about the crowding and the income, but not the black mold.  And the life expectancies are an absolute travesty.

      Thank you for all the work you do.

      My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

      by cai on Sat Jan 01, 2011 at 04:33:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aren't they, though? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        third Party please, cai, BardoOne

        We didn't know about the black mold, either - well, several of us didn't, I mean - until last year.  I and a few other folks went digging around to see what would work by way of remediation, and learned that there isn't anything.  Explained a lot about the illness levels, especially in children (in addition, of course, to the problems of poor nutrition, lack of medical care, etc.).

        But I don't deserve the thank-you; that should go to navajo.  I do precious little by comparison.  But thank you for the kind thought. :-)

        Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

        by Aji on Sat Jan 01, 2011 at 04:41:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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