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Please begin with an informative title:

Tribal president declares state of emergency over increase in youth suicide attempts Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PINE RIDGE -- Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls will declare a suicide state of emergency for Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during a news conference at 1 p.m. today.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Crossposted at Native American Netroots, Docudharma,&
Progressive Historians

I want to share a personal story, because I hope people contacting the White House will save lives by giving hope. How many, I don't know. I wouldn't share it unless I thought it would be helpful to others. Suffice it to say, hope through someone to talk to would've been the difference between a 20 gauge shotgun to my head or not at 17.

I was 17 years old and my codependence combined with normal adolescent neurosis and feelings of abandonment left me feeling absolutely hopeless. I was raised in a good family and we had a good house, but New Years Eve of '87 found me calling suicide hotlines - but nobody answered.

I further spiraled into hopelessness thinking, "New Years Eve, they know it's a night of higher suicide rates, that's it." I made the decision to end my life.

It was really a strange feeling going into my parent's room, putting a shell in a 20 gauge shotgun with tears streaming down my face, and pointing it to my head. I had taken the safety off. I just wanted someone to help me and talk to me. Nonetheless, I put enough pressure on the trigger for it to go off, but I saw something out of the right corner of my right eye. The gun didn't fire and I was amazed that it didn't. I put it to my head again and these thoughts seemed to be streamed into my mind, "If you do this, you're one selfish bastard."
I put the gun up.

I sponsored someone 13 years later, and when he committed suicide via an overdose I understood why. However, many were at his funeral and I still remember thinking, "I wish you could have seen then how many people care now."

From a MySpace bulletin:

Autumn TwoBulls: Take a Stand Against Poverty & Suicide in Lakota Country join us in Calling The White House ~202 456 1111Share
Today at 3:13pm
Autumn TwoBulls: Take a Stand Against Poverty & Suicide in Lakota Country join us in Calling The White House ~202 456 1111 This is the time when my people should be treated fair and with justice.

Support the Sweet Grass Suicide Provention Program here in Pine Ridge Reservation
This is an epmidemic among Lakota Country please give our Lakota Youth a Voice for Hope!

Follow -Up Call In to White House Tuesday March 2, 2010
Help bring a voice to the Lakota Nation in the matters Poverty and Suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation/Contact White House

To Friends, Relations and supporters.,

Thank you for the overwhelming response to our White House Call In last Tuesday 2/16 and again on Friday.
Over the last while, you have seen and heard of the terrible situations and conditions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Again, I am asking you to come make your voice be heard.Last Tuesday all of you overwhelmed the Comment line 202 456 1111.
On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, please take the time to call in again.We need to keep this subject on the President's "Radar" and this is a way for us to be heard.

Tell President Obama of the awful conditions facing my people here on Pine Ridge. Tell him the Oglala Sioux Tribe Declared a State of Emergency on Suicide in December Remind him of the promises that he has made to the First Nations/Native American people. Promises waiting to be fulfilled.

When you call the comment line tell them about the grinding poverty rates, the 80% unemployment and the desperation that is leading so many of our people and youth to commite suicide. We are asking that Aide is brought to our Lakota Nation in these matters.

1: When you make your call, please be respectful
2: State in your call Why you are calling, i.e., Suicide and povertyon the Pine Ridge Reservation, etc
3: State that you would like to know what the President can do about this.
4: Remind respectfully that the President made promises to the First NationsNative American People during his campaign.

Help us to be heard again, we've only just begun use our voice.

Together we can make a difference for the people. One voice together, loud enough for the President to open his mind and his heart to my people, the Lakota Nation of Pine Ridge Reservation.

Please begin calling during buisness hours which are 9am - 4 pm Eastern time. Keep calling and emailing all day.

I am so grateful for the support in this effort to help Our Lakota Nation be heard. Lets work together as one voice

Pila Unyape, Wopila Tanka Echichiyape
Respectfully, Autumn Two Bulls
Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge South Dakota
http: //www.whitehouse.gov/contact
PHONE THE WHITE HOUSE:
202 456 1111

Faced with rash of suicides, OST President Two Bulls declares an emergency
www. rapidcityjournal.com
In an emotional appeal to the people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls declared a state of emergency Thursday in the face of overwhelming numbers of suicides and suicide attempts on South Dakota's largest reservation.

Chief Teresa TwoBulls declared a State of Emergency weeks ago, as conditions have become unbearable in a very harsh winter. The White House is silent.

Where is the HOPE that President Obama has promised? Where is HOPE for the Lakota?

Here is the President's Opening words to the Tribal Nations Conference last November.

Pine Ridge Reservation America’s Own Third World Country

I have never quite understood people who travel oversees and put forth so much effort to help those in Under developed countries, when we have a place right here in the US that has Third World conditions. Technically, this place is not “in the United States.” It is an Indian Reservation, therefore a Sovereign Nation.

- snip –

•  The Average life expectancy
on the Reservation is 46
•  Pine Ridge Teen suicide rate is 150 times higher than the National Average
•  65% of the residents of the Reservation live in sub-standard conditions such as no electricity, running water, and often, without heat


Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots


 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

Update

Thanks to Aji...

STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS

SOUTH DAKOTA EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Mike Rounds (R)
Office of the Governor
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
605.773.3212
Web
contact form

Dennis Daugaard (R)
Lt. Governor
Note: Daugaard's Web site applet doesn't function properly, so I can't
access his contact information.

SOUTH DAKOTA LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

State Senate

Julie Bartling (D), District 26 (includes Mellette,
Todd, & Tripp Counties)
P.O. Box 256
Burke, S.D. 57523-0256
605.775.2937

Jim Bradford (R), District 27 (includes Pine Ridge
Reservation; Jackson & Shannon Counties)
P.O. Box 690
Pine Ridge, S.D. 57770-0690
605.867.5369

Ryan Maher (D), District 28 (includes Cheyenne River
Reservation; Dewey & Ziebach Counties)
P.O. Box 237
Isabel, S.D. 57633-0237
605.466.2389

State House of Representatives
Larry Lucas (D), District 26A (Rosebud Reservation;
Mellette & Todd Counties)
P.O. Box 182
Mission, S.D. 57555-0182
605.856.2439

Kim Vanneman (R), District 26B (Rosebud Reservation;
Tripp County)
31148 269th St.
Ideal, S.D. 57541
605.842.2751

Ed Iron Cloud, III (D), District 27 (Pine Ridge
Reservation; Jackson & Shannon Counties)
P.O. Box 172
Porcupine, S.D. 57772
(No phone listed)

Kevin Killer (D), District 27 (Pine Ridge Reservation;
Jackson & Shannon Counties)
P.O. Box 322
Pine Ridge, S.D. 57770-0322
605.454.8105

Dean Schrempp (D), District 28A (Cheyenne River
Reservation; Dewey & Ziebach Counties)
P.O. Box 62
Lantry, S.D. 57636
605.964.6541

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS
Dewey County (Cheyenne River)
Robert Berndt, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box 277
County Courthouse
Timber Lake, S.D. 57656-0277
No e-mail address listed

Ziebach County (Cheyenne River)
Clinton Farlee, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box 68
County Courthouse
Dupree, S.D. 57623-0068
Phone: 605.365.5157
Fax: 605.365.5204
E-mail: cjfarlee@lakotanetwork.com

Jackson County (Pine Ridge)
Jim Stilwell, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box 280
County Courthouse
Kadoka, S.D. 57543-0280
605.837.2422
No e-mail address listed

Shannon County (Pine Ridge)
Connie WhirlWind Horse, County Commission Chair
906 N. River St.
County Courthouse
Hot Springs, S.D. 57747-1309
605.745.3996
Fax: 605.745.6835
No e-mail address listed

Mellette County (Rosebud)
Casey Krogman, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box C
County Courthouse
White River, S.D. 57579-0703
605.259.3291
No e-mail address listed

Todd County (Rosebud)
Gregg Grimshaw, County Commission Chair
200 E. 3rd. St.
County Courthouse
Winner, S.D. 57580-1806
605.842.1700
No e-mail address listed

Tripp County (Rosebud)
Greg English, Commissioner
200 E. 3rd. St.
County Courthouse
Winner, S.D. 57580-1806
605.842.3727
E-mail: genglish@gwtc.net (Note: Source does not specify who chairs
county commission; Greg English is the only commissioner with a listed
e-mail address.)

U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
Main Committee Contact:

Committee on Indian Affairs
Allison Binney, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
United States Senate
838 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2251
comments@indian.senate.gov

Members:

Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chair
Washington, D.C. Office:
322 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
Phone (202) 224-2551
Fax (202) 224-1193

Bismarck Office:
312 Federal Building
PO Box 2579
Bismarck, ND 58502
Phone (701) 250-4618
Phone (800) 666-4482
Fax (701) 250-4484

Fargo Office:
1802 32nd Ave South Suite B
PO Box 9060
Fargo, ND 58106
Phone (701) 239-5389
Phone (800) 666-4482
Fax (701) 239-5112

Minot Office:
100 1st Street, SW
Suite 105
Minot, ND 58701
Phone (701) 852-0703
Phone (800) 666-4482
Fax (701) 838-8196

Grand Forks Office:
102 North 4th Street,
Room 108
Grand Forks, ND 58201
Phone (701) 746-8972
Phone (800) 666-4482
Fax (701) 746-9122

John Barasso (R-WY), Vice Chair

Washington, D.C. Office:
307 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-6441
Fax: 202-224-1724
Tollfree: 866-235-9553

Casper Office:
100 East B Street
Suite 2201
Casper, WY 82602
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 22201
Casper, WY 82602
Main: 307-261-6413

Cheyenne Office:
2120 Capitol Avenue
Suite 2013
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Main: 307-772-2451

Riverton Office:
325 West Main Street
Suite F
Riverton, WY 82501
Main: 307-856-6642

Rock Springs Office:
2632 Foothill Boulevard
Suite 101
Rock Springs, WY 82901
Main: 307-362-5012

Sheridan Office:
2 North Main Street
Suite 206
Sheridan, WY 82801
Main: 307-672-6456

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Telephone: (202) 224-6361
Fax: (202) 224-2126

Hilo Office:
101 Aupuni Street, Suite 213
Hilo, HI 96720
Telephone: (808) 935-1114
Fax: (808) 935-9064

Honolulu Office:
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 3-106
Box 50144
Honolulu, HI 96850
Telephone: (808) 522-8970
Fax: (808) 545-4683

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Washington, D.C. Office:
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-3441
202-228-0514 - FAX
202-224-8273 - TDD

Toll-Free Number for State Offices:
1-888-648-7328

Central Washington Office:
825 Jadwin Avenue,
Suite 205
Richland, WA 99352
(509) 946-8106
(509) 946-6937 - FAX

Northwest Washington Office:
2930 Wetmore Avenue, Suite 9B
Everett, WA 98201
425-303-0114
425-303-8351 FAX

Seattle Office:
915 Second Avenue
Suite 3206
Seattle, WA 98174
206-220-6400
206-220-6404 - FAX

Spokane Office:
U.S. Federal Courthouse
W. 920 Riverside, Suite 697
Spokane, WA 99201
509-353-2507
509-353-2547 - FAX

Southwest Washington Office:
Marshall House
1313 Officers Row
Vancouver, WA 98661
360-696-7838
360-696-7844 - FAX

Tacoma Office:
950 Pacific Avenue, Suite 615
Tacoma, WA 98402
253-572-2281
253-572-5879 FAX

Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Washington D.C. Office:
172 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-5754
Fax: 202-224-6008

Oklahoma City Office:
100 North Broadway
Suite 1820
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Main: 405-231-4941
Fax: 405-231-5051

Tulsa Office:
1800 South Baltimore
Suite 800
Tulsa, OK 74119
Main: 918-581-7651
Fax: 918-581-7195

Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Washington, D.C. Office:

530 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3403
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776
Online: http://conrad.senate.gov/...
E-mail: https://conrad.senate.gov/...

Toll-free Phone: 1-800-223-4457

Bismarck Office:
U.S. Federal Building, Room 228
220 East Rosser Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501
Phone: (701) 258-4648
Fax: (701) 258-1254

Fargo Office:
U.S. Federal Building, Room 306
657 2nd Avenue North
Fargo, ND 58102
Phone: (701) 232-8030
Fax: (701) 232-6449

Grand Forks Office:
33 S 3rd St., Suite B
Grand Forks, ND 58201
Phone: (701) 775-9601
Fax: (701) 746-1990

Minot Office:
U.S. Federal Building, Room 105
100 1st Street SW
Minot, ND 58701
Phone: (701) 852-0703
Fax: (701) 838-8196

Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Washington, D.C. Office:
239 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6142
Fax: (202) 228-1375

Idaho State Office:
251 East Front Street
Suite 205
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: (208) 334-1776
Fax: (208) 334-9044

Eastern Idaho, North Office:
410 Memorial Drive
Suite 204
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Phone: (208) 522-9779
Fax: (208) 529-8367

Eastern Idaho, South Office:
275 South 5th Avenue
Suite 225
Pocatello, ID 83201
Phone: (208) 236-6775
Fax: (208) 236-6935

North Idaho Office:
610 Hubbard Street
Suite 209
Coeur d' Alene, ID 83814
Phone: (208) 664-5490
Fax: (208) 664-0889

North-Central Idaho Office:
313 'D' Street
Suite 105
Lewiston, ID 83501
Phone: (208) 743-1492
Fax: (208) 743-6484

South-Central Idaho Office:
202 Falls Avenue
Suite 2
Twin Falls, ID 83301
Phone: (208) 734-2515
Fax: (208) 733-0414

Southwestern Idaho Office:
524 East Cleveland Blvd.
Suite 220
Caldwell, ID 83605
Phone: (208) 455-0360
Fax: (208) 455-0358

Al Franken (D-MN

Washington, D.C. Office:
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-5641

Duluth Office:
515 W 1st St
Suite 104
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 722-2390

Saint Cloud Office:
916 W St. Germain St.
Suite 110
Saint Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 251-2721

Saint Paul Office:
60 East Plato Blvd
Suite 220
Saint Paul, MN 55107
(651) 221-1016

Saint Peter Office:
208 S Minnesota Ave
Suite 6
Saint Peter, MN 56082
(507) 931-5813

Daniel Inouye (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:
722 Hart Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1102
Phone: 202-224-3934
Fax: 202-224-6747

Hilo Office:
101 Aupuni Street, #205
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Phone: 808-935-0844
Fax: 808-961-5163

Honolulu Office:
300 Ala Moana Boulevard
Room 7-212
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850-4975
Phone: 808-541-2542
Fax: 808-541-2549

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Washington, D.C. Office:
404 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-4224
Fax: (202) 228-0436
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST

Kearney Office:
4111 Fourth Avenue, Suite 26
Kearney, NE 68845
Tel: (308) 236-7602
Fax: (308) 236-7473
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. CST
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CST Fri

Lincoln Office:
294 Federal Building 100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, NE 68508
Tel: (402) 476-1400
Fax: (402) 476-0605
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CST

Omaha Office:
9900 Nicholas St., Suite 325
Omaha, NE 68114
Tel: (402) 758-8981
Fax: (402) 758-9165
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Scottsbluff Office:
115 Railway Street, Suite C102
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Tel: (308) 632-6032
Fax: (308) 632-6295
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. MST

Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Washington, D.C. Office:
136 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5842
Fax: (202)228-5765

Toll Free from anywhere in South Dakota: 1-800-537-0025
Agriculture Hotline: (800) 819-0788

Aberdeen Office:
320 S. First St. Suite 103
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Phone: (605) 226-3440
Fax: (605) 226-2439

Rapid City Office:
405 E. Omaha St., Suite B
Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: (605) 341-3990
Fax: (605) 341-2207

Sioux Falls Office:
5015 S. Bur Oak Place
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Phone: (605) 332-8896
Fax: (605) 332-2824

John McCain (R-AZ)

Washington, D.C. Office:
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-2235
Fax: (202) 228-2862

Phoenix Office:
5353 North 16th Street
Suite 105
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Main: (602) 952-2410
Fax: (602) 952-8702

Prescott Office:
122 North Cortez Street
Suite 108
Prescott, AZ 86301
Main: (928) 445-0833
Fax: (928) 445-8594

Tempe Office:
4703 South Lakeshore Drive
Suite 1
Tempe, AZ 85282
Main: (480) 897-6289
Fax: (480) 897-8389

Tucson Office:
407 West Congress Street
Suite 103
Tucson, AZ 85701
Main: (520) 670-6334
Fax: (520) 670-6637

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Washington, D.C. Office:
709 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Main: 202-224-6665
Fax: 202-224-5301

Anchorage Office:
510 L Street
Suite 550
Anchorage, AK 99501
Main: 907-271-3735
Fax: 907-276-4081
Toll Free: 1-877-829-6030

Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Main: 907-456-0233
Fax: 907-451-7146

Kenai Office:
805 Frontage Road
Suite 105
Kenai, AK 99611
Main: 907-283-5808
Fax: 907-283-4363

Ketchikan Office:
4079 Tongass Avenue
Suite 204
Ketchikan, AK 99901
Main: 907-225-6880
Fax: 907-225-0390

MatSu Office:
851 East Westpoint Drive
Suite 307
Wasilla, AK 99654
Main: 907-376-7665
Fax: 907-376-8526

Jon Tester (D-MT)

Washington, D.C. Office:
724 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2604
Phone: (202) 224-2644
Fax: (202) 224-8594

Billings Office:
Granite Tower
222 N 32nd Street, Suite 102
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman Office:
Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte Office:
Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Glendive Office:
122 W Towne
Glendive, MT 59330
Phone: (406) 365-2391
Fax: (406) 365-8836

Great Falls Office:
119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena Office:
Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell Office:
14 Third Street E, Suite 230
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula Office:
130 W Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

Tom Udall (D-NM)

Washington, D.C. Office:
110 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
(202) 224-6621

Albuquerque Office:
219 Central Ave NW
Suite 210
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 346-6791

Las Cruces Office:
Loretto Town Center
505 South Main Suite 118
Las Cruces, NM 88001
(575) 526-5475

Santa Fe Office:
120 South Federal Place
Suite 302
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 988-6511

THE WHITE HOUSE
President Barack H. Obama
202.456.1414
Web contact form

Vice President Joseph Biden
202.456.1414
Web contact form

Kimberly Teehee (Cherokee Nation), President Obama's
Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs. No direct number
available; call the White House switchboard, 202.456.1414, during
regular business hours, to be connected (reports to M. Barnes, below).

Melody Barnes
Domestic Policy Adviser and Director, Domestic Policy Council
No direct number available; call the White House switchboard,
202.456.1414, during regular business hours, to be connected.

Update 2:

From no way lack of brain:

Here is contact information for Lt. Governor Dennis Daugaard:  Dennis.Daugaard@state.sd.us.  When I emailed people about the storm conditions in SD, Lt. Governor Daugaard was the only person who responded.
Update 3:

cacamp gives us “Some Reservation Statistics.”

Some Reservation Statistics
Demographic Information
§         The Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Indian Reservation sits in Bennett, Jackson, and Shannon Counties and is located in the southwest corner of South Dakota, fifty miles east of the Wyoming border. Shannon County is consistantly Americas poorest county along with Todd County of the Rosebud Reservation.
§         The 11,000-square mile (approximately 2,700,000 acres) Pine Ridge Reservation is the second-largest Native American Reservation within the United States.  It is roughly the size of the State of Connecticut.  According to the Oglala Sioux tribal statistics, approximately 1,700,000 acres of this land are owned by the Tribe or by tribal members.
§         The Reservation is divided into eight districts: Eagle Nest, Pass Creek, Wakpamni, LaCreek, Pine Ridge, White Clay, Medicine Root, Porcupine, and Wounded Knee.
§         The Pine Ridge Reservation is home to approximately 40,000 persons, 35% of which are under the age of 18.  The latest Federal Census shows the median age to be 20.6 years.  Approximately half the residents of the Reservation are registered tribal members of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Nation.
§         According to the most recent Federal Census, 58.7% of the grandparents on the Reservation are responsible for raising their own grandchildren.
    Employment Information
§         Recent reports vary but many point out that the median income on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year.
§
§         The unemployment rate on Pine Ridge is said to be approximately 83-85% and can be higher during the winter months when travel is difficult or often impossible.
§         According to 2006 resources, about 97% of the population lives below Federal poverty levels.
§         There is little industry, technology, or commercial infrastructure on the Reservation to provide employment.
§         Rapid City, South Dakota is the nearest town of size (population approximately 57,700) for those who can travel to find work.  It is located 120 miles from the Reservation.  The nearest large city to Pine Ridge is Denver, Colorado located some 350 miles away.
Life Expectancy and Health Conditions
§         Some figures state that the life expectancy on the Reservation is 48 years old for men and 52 for women. Other reports state that the average life expectancy on the Reservation is 45 years old.  These statistics are far from the 77.5 years of age life expectancy average found in the United States as a whole.  According to current USDA Rural Development documents, the Lakota have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America.
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Teenage suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 150% higher than the U.S. national average for this age group
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§         The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 300% higher than the U.S. national average.
§         More than half the Reservation's adults battle addiction and disease.  Alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and malnutrition are pervasive.
§         The rate of diabetes on the Reservation is reported to be 800% higher than the U.S. national average.
§         Recent reports indicate that almost 50% of the adults on the Reservation over the age of 40 have diabetes.
§         As a result of the high rate of diabetes on the Reservation, diabetic-related blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are common.
§         The tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately 800% higher than the U.S. national average.
§         Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S. national average.
§         It is reported that at least 60% of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation are infested with Black Mold, Stachybotrys.  This infestation causes an often-fatal condition with infants, children, elderly, those with damaged immune systems, and those with lung and pulmonary conditions at the highest risk.  Exposure to this mold can cause hemorrhaging of the lungs and brain as well as cancer.
§         A Federal Commodity Food Program is active but supplies mostly inappropriate foods (high in carbohydrate and/or sugar) for the largely diabetic population of the Reservation.
§         A small non-profit Food Co-op is in operation on the Reservation but is available only for those with funds to participate.
Health Care
§         Many Reservation residents live without health care due to vast travel distances involved in accessing that care.  Additional factors include under-funded, under-staffed medical facilities and outdated or non-existent medical equipment.
§         Preventive healthcare programs are rare.
§         In most of the treaties between the U.S. Government and Indian Nations, the U.S. government agreed to provide adequate medical care for Indians in return for vast quantities of land.  The Indian Health Services (IHS) was set up to administer the health care for Indians under these treaties and receives an appropriation each year to fund Indian health care. Unfortunately, the appropriation is very small compared to the need and there is little hope for increased funding from Congress.  The IHS is understaffed and ill-equipped and can’t possibly address the needs of Indian communities.  Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Education Issues
§         School drop-out rate is over 70%.
§         According to a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) report, the Pine Ridge Reservation schools are in the bottom 10% of school funding by U.S. Department of Education and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
§         Teacher turnover is 800% that of the U.S. national average
Housing Conditions and Homelessness
§         The small BIA/Tribal Housing Authority homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation are overcrowded and scarce, resulting in many homeless families who often use tents or cars for shelter.  Many families live in old cabins or dilapidated mobile homes and trailers.
§         According to a 2003 report from South Dakota State University, the majority of the current Tribal Housing Authority homes were built from 1970-1979.  The report brings to light that a great percentage of that original construction by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) was "shoddy and substandard."  The report also states that 26% of the housing units on the Reservation are mobile homes, often purchased or obtained (through donations) as used, low-value units with negative-value equity.
§         Even though there is a large homeless population on the Reservation, most families never turn away a relative no matter how distant the blood relation. Consequently, many homes often have large numbers of people living in them.
§         In a recent case study, the Tribal Council estimated a need for at least 4,000 new homes in order to combat the homeless situation.
§         There is an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home (a home which may only have two to three rooms).  Some larger homes, built for 6 to 8 people, have up to 30 people living in them.
§         Over-all, 59% of the Reservation homes are substandard.
§         Over 33% of the Reservation homes lack basic water and sewage systems as well as electricity.
§         Many residents must carry (often contaminated) water from the local rivers daily for their personal needs.
§         Some Reservation families are forced to sleep on dirt floors.
§         Without basic insulation or central heating in their homes, many residents on the Pine Ridge Reservation use their ovens to heat their homes.
§         Many Reservation homes lack adequate insulation.  Even more homes lack central heating.
§         Periodically, Reservation residents are found dead from hypothermia (freezing).
§         It is reported that at least 60% of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation need to be burned to the ground and replaced with new housing due to infestation of the potentially-fatal Black Mold, Stachybotrys.  There is no insurance or government program to assist families in replacing their homes.
§         39% of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation have no electricity.
§         The most common form of heating fuel is propane.  Wood-burning is the second most common form of heating a home although wood supplies are often expensive or difficult to obtain.
§         Many Reservation homes lack basic furniture and appliances such as beds, refrigerators, and stoves.
§         60% of Reservation families have no land-line telephone.  The Tribe has recently issued basic cell phones to the residents.  However, these cell phones (commonly called commodity phones) do not operate off the Reservation at all and are often inoperable in the rural areas on the Reservation or during storms or wind.
§         Computers and internet connections are very rare.
§         Federal and tribal heat assistance programs (such as LLEAP) are limited by their funding.  In the winter of 2005-2006, the average one-time only payment to a family was said to be approximately $250-$300 to cover the entire winter.  For many, that amount did not even fill their propane heating tanks one time
by cacamp on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 09:14:15 PM PST
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Originally posted to Winter Rabbit on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 06:13 PM PST.

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