Associated Press
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Powerful Video Documents 'Third-World' Living Conditions on Pine Ridge Reservation

Lynn Armitage
2/5/15

The True Sioux Hope Foundation, founded by Twila True, Oglala Sioux, and her husband, Alan, is on a mission to bring awareness to the plight on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota —the second largest Native American reservation in the United States, and also the poorest.

True is also the co-founder, president and CEO of True Investments, LLC, a real estate private equity business that has invested $38.3 million in properties in 16 states.

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Pine Ridge has an average annual household income of $3,500, a 90 percent unemployment rate and a 70 percent high school dropout rate, according to the foundation. What’s more, True says that only about 40 percent of the more than 18,000 residents have electricity and running water.

“There are so many people who just don’t know about these third-world conditions right here in the U.S.,” True told ICTMN about the Pine Ridge, a reservation she grew up on. “I found that instead of me talking about it because I might as well be talking about the moon, I say, ‘Just watch this video,’ and they get it.”

The 9-minute video that True refers to tells a story about how poverty has affected the community on Pine Ridge. Watch it out below.

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Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Profound & sad to see this clip. What most people out here don't know about the Rez is that things are far worse than is presented on this clip. There is an air of so much hopelessness out in a number of tribal Rez around the country. Most tribes aren't flush with casino money & per capita payouts throughout the year. ......................................................................................................................... Another thing I do not like what I am seeing, hearing & reading about are tribal council members who are making a boatload of money while the rest of the tribe is seeing hardly anything of the federal/tribal monies they receive each year. That is wrong as well. It doesn't matter how many degrees someone has, no one deserves a 6 figure income when your people you are representing are destitute & living in extreme poverty through no fault of their own. That shows arrogance & ego, BOTH, which go against Native teachings & beliefs. ......................................................................................................................... Our ways are to share the bounty the Creator blesses us with. For our many Peoples across Turtle Island to become healthy spiritually, mentally & physically our leaders are going to have to return to the ways of the ancestors & be the example a true leader should be: Sharing, guiding & setting the daily examples as set forth from the Creator. ......................................................................................................................... I cannot be at peace in my spirit if I know my brother or sister by me is hungry, needs clothes, decent housing, clothing, food, water & healthcare. I cannot rest at night if someone needs something to eat & I had something to share with them. I cannot rest when someone is experiencing violence around me & I have a means to stop it. I cannot be at peace when those elders older than myself are doing without necessities of life when I have the means to provide for them. ......................................................................................................................... Anyone who is a decent human being also feels the same way as I do when we hear about things that are shown in this film clip. My friends & fellow Native people who are able to help our brothers, sisters, old ones & little ones alike in any way, PLEASE step up to the plate & do what you can as soon as you can. The Creator blesses those in many different ways who help the least among His children across this world. Kind Regards, Two Bears Growling
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