The Great Basin Culture Area includes the high desert regions between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. It is bounded on the north by the Columbia Plateau and on the south by the Colorado Plateau. It includes southern Oregon and Idaho, a small portion of southwestern Montana, western Wyoming, eastern California, all of Nevada and Utah, a portion of northern Arizona, and most of western Colorado. This is an area which is characterized by low rainfall and extremes of temperature. The valleys in the area are 3,000 to 6,000 feet in altitude and are separated by mountain ranges running north and south that are 8,000 to 12,000 feet in elevation. The rivers in this region do not flow into the ocean, but simply disappear into the sand.
Not sure if this is where I should post this, but I have a great belief in the power of forums as information generators…
If someone would be so kind as to answer my (probably naive) questions, I’d be very grateful to them.
It is no secret that poverty and need plague today’s NA communities. One study of South Dakota reservations showed an average income of less than 3,800$ a year per household- far below the acknowledged American line of 5,000$ (which would be difficult enough to live on! Trust me, I know!)
Poverty is the enemy of progress anywhere- it saps the strength of a people, disallows them the advantages of a full life, and has unfortunately been used as a dark method of social control in history. It still enslaves members of ‘developed’ countries, trapping the masses in a struggle for basic survival. I think that’s wrong, wherever it’s happening: India, Oklahoma, or inner Chicago. And apathy from those higher up on the chain only perpetuates inequality’s grip.
A child in need anywhere is a blemish on the face of anyone capable of providing help… And it’s something I’ve promised my life to rectifying.
In this vein, I’d like to pose a few questions to the NA community here about what they know of need on modern reservations.
(I ask both for an economics project I am heading for a class, and out of sincere respect for our brothers and sisters who have suffered too long from desperate want. Knowledge is power- and this may turn out to be very strong in determining my life direction.)
Please address any of these with your thoughts and recollections:
1. Do you know a child growing up on a reservation or in a predominately poor area? What are the biggest difficulties in growing up, receiving an education, and staying safe?
2. What services are provided where you live/lived to help people in the Native American community cope with poverty, need, and the like? How heavily does availablity of assistance vary from community to community?
3. In your experience of the last 5-10 years, please describe the education system available to children and teens from reservations and needy areas. What can be improved, both in regards to their culture and the quality of their education?
4. How do programs that would provide social assistance form in your communities, and where do they get the funding? Do you know of any programs that have had success where you live?
5. What in your opinion is the greatest challenge to providing basic neccessities (decent food, clean water, health care, etc.) to reservation communities?
Thank you for reading~