The Huge List of Native American Problems and How To Solve Them

This list’s purpose is to bring awareness to the many Native American issues. Below you’ll find information and solutions to fight these problems. If you have any suggestions or additions for improving the list, please let us know via our contact page.

Domestic Violence is 10 Times Higher Than National Average

Native women experience murder and sexual assault at a rate 10 times higher than the national average. Many of the assailants white and other non-natives outside tribal law enforcement jurisdiction.

As of 2016, there have been 5,712 cases of missing Native women and children. The number likely be higher due to under-reporting

More than 4 in 5 native women have experienced violence in their lifetime. While more than 1 in 3 experienced violence in the past year 

How to Help

Charities are set-up to help fight and end for violence among Native women. You can donate to them on their respective sites

Highest Rate Of Police Brutality Cases

Native Americans saw the highest rate of law enforcement deaths at 2.9 times the rate of Caucasians. The second highest being of Black or African Groups at a rate of 2.6 times.

Media coverage on these deaths largely goes uncovered. Of the 29 Native Americans killed between May 1, 2014, and October 31, 2015, only one received sustained coverage

In 1996, Native American mortality rates were  21% underreported

How to Help

As of May 2020, a call for police reform following George Floyd’s death is being pushed. Unfortunately, the Native American inclusion in these discussions is largely nonexistent. Protestors in favor of police reform need to make a push that includes both Natives and Blacks. A Facebook Page, called Native Lives Taken By Police(NLTBP), is bringing awareness to natives killed by police. You can learn more and share information on this subject.

High Unemployment, Poverty, And Homelessness Numbers

The Native American population has grappled with poverty and joblessness. Ever since the recovery of the Great Depression, Native Americans are largely left out of economic prosperity.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau Data, 27% of all Native Americans live in poverty. With unemployment rates soaring as high as 85-90% in the Pine Ridge reservation. Lakota(Sioux) reservations in North and South Dakota constitute three out of the five poorest counties in the US

How to Help

Some relief and donation programs have donations available on their respective sites

Reservations Lack Basic Medical Equipment And Care

Many Native Americans have poor health conditions with limited healthcare access. Health care disparity has led to high rates of obesity, diabetes, HIV/AIDs, and Covid-19.

Indian Healthcare Services(IHS) is the primary medical caregiver for many Natives. Yet, only a third of Native Americans ensured benefits from it. Not to mention many local IHS facilities are unfunded. Often lacking basic health care amenities to provide quality service. Many IHS facilities are distant from most Natives, making them difficult to access.

This has caused very notable problems in treatment. One such case is the Rosebud IHS hospital in South Dakota. Where inspectors said a baby was born in Rosebud’s bathroom. In another case, it took 90 minutes for a heart attack victim to receive care.

Systematic issues have affected natives at a much higher proportion for Covid-19. In Arizona, 4.5% of its population is Native, yet make-up nearly 20% of the Covid-19 related deaths. These spikes and insufficient funding have caused problems for nations. The most notable include the Navajo nation. Which has become the 3rd highest area of infection in the US, behind New York and New Jersey.

Native Americans continue to die at a higher rate than any other Americans in many categories of preventable illnesses. Many tribal members have different health care quality than many other U.S. citizens. To match the level of care provided to prisoners, IHS funding would need to nearly double.

How to Help

Many of the long-term issues will involve pressing your representative to increase IHS funding. Covid-19 relief funds have been set-up to help out tribes. These relief funds are accepting both monetary and basic supply donations.

Students Have The Highest Dropout Rate

Native Americans represent less than 1% of the students’ population, yet have the lowest graduation rates. The dropout rate is twice the nation’s average than any other U.S. racial or ethnic group.

These rates can be attributed to not having their school and academic needs meet. Insufficient federal funding has resulted in structure deterioration and poor school equipment.

How to Help

There are several funds working to fill the educational requirements for Native Americans.

Census Misrepresentation Is Destroying Reservations

The 2010 census uncovered that Native Americans were the most undercounted demographic. Census data is collected every 10 years to allocate fundings and political representation.

Inaccurate census counts have resulted in reservations facing problems over several decades. For the Puyallup tribe, they did not have a health clinic, school, or large income source available. Some nations saw reservation status removed due to undercounting. As the case for The Prarie Island and Shakopee-Mdewakanton reservations.

Many of these problems are due to barriers restricting natives from taking part in the census. Tribal elders, not fluent in English, are blocked by language barriers. Out of the 175 Natives languages, only 1 is available for Census translation.

Nearly a third of Native Americans lack access to broadband internet, making them unable to take the census online. Many reservation addresses do not follow federal guidelines, making it difficult to get a census form via mail.

How to Help

Many Native Americans have a history of government distrust. Discouraging them from wanting to take part. But one tribal council member, Ramona Benett, advocated for Natives to take the census. As a result, census numbers shot up. Allowing Ramona to be eligible for grant applications and accessing necessary programs.

The census official site has steps to help anyone wanting to make a difference. In less than 5 minutes.

Native Americans Are Unable To Vote In Elections

Many reservation residents are unable to exercise voting rights. In 2008, the Alaskan government eliminated polling places as part of district realignment. Affected residents found themselves having to travel by plane to vote.

Many reservations don’t use traditional addresses, barring them from voting due to Vote-by-ID laws.

How to Help

A proposal, known as the Native American Voting Rights Act of 2019 has been made to remove these voting barriers. Pushing for approval on the Act is a necessary aid in fighting for fair voting rights. Find your congress representative and push for them to pass this voting act. Another helpful step is to raise awareness that this act exists and is currently sitting in limbo.

Fracking And Pollution Ruining Drinking Water And Land

Fracking has boomed in the U.S. since 2008, which has negatively affected the Native American Reservations. Both for land ownership and environmental concerns

The Mandan Hidatsa Arikara(MHA) Nation accounts for one-fifth of the daily oil production in North Dakota. Many of the nations oppose fracking on tribal land due to the many environmental impacts it has. One such case includes the 2014 devastating spill of over three million gallons of oil. Leaving a trail of gray vegetation and contaminating drinking water.

Under the Trump Administration, advisors aim to privatize tribal lands for Fracking purposes. One such case is Pawnee, which is fighting a several year-long frakking court case. Pawnee residents expressed outrage after learning drilling is being done on their reservation. The drilling leases approved failed to properly notify the tribe until construction began.

How to Help

The Native American Right’s Fund and the Fort Belknap Indian Community have teamed up to fight the largest pipeline, Keystone XL. Both organizations are spreading awareness and asking for financial support for this battle.

Many other fracking disputes are being fought in court. The Standing Rock protests have played a significant role in proposing an Anti-Fracking Bill in 2015. Unfortunately, this was stricken down in courts in mid-2016 under the Trump Administration. There is a need for further fracking regulations pushed by representatives.

Bullying And Racism Through Sports

Studies show a direct cause of Native mascots lowering the self-esteem among youths. This has led to an increased rate of depression and suicides. Further studies show the majority of the Indigenous Americans found Native mascots offensive.

Removal of mascots in both reservations and non has been an ongoing battle for over half a century. Despite decades of protest, high profiting companies still use offensive mascots and names.

How to Help

Various campaigns have been set-up actively pushing for this change. Below are instructions on how to join some of these campaigns.

Native American Laws Still Broken By Government

Breaking Native American treaty rights is not new for Native history. Today, there are still ongoing legal fights to preserve Native rights. For the Kickapoo tribe, they’ve filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture. This 2-decade long lawsuit claims Kansas violated the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act. A water shortage on the reservation has caused tribal members to be unable to access safe drinking, bathing, or cooking water. As well as have inadequate water towards fire protection.

Other illegal activities include the Kumeyaay tribe of the La Posta Reservation. Where border construction is desecrating sacred burial sites. Reservation members noted that the federal government did not properly notify the tribe. Leaving them unable to recover human remains and cultural items buried.

Efforts were made to halt construction. Currently, the Kumeyaay tribe has an ongoing lawsuit against President Trump. “Construction the border wall directly through Kumeyaay burial sites and sacred lands, [is] causing irreversible and easily avoidable damage to Kumeyaay remains, cultural items, history, and religious practices” the lawsuit states.

How to Help

Many of these legal battles are long-fought. To aid in this, a board of legal expert volunteers banded to established the Native American Rights Fund(NARF). A non-profit, NARF fights for Native causes and to protect tribal culture. Information on how to donate and support them can be found on their official site.

Native American History Not Taught In 87% Of U.S. Schools

In a 2016-2018 Research Project led by Echo Hawk Consulting, Native Americans have found to be inconspicuous in K-12 schools. 27 States in the US make no mention of a single Native American in their curriculum. While 87% of all schools don’t teach about Native Americans after the 1900s.

Native Americans are unrepresented in National News Coverage and Entertainment. In TV & Films, Native American Representation makes as little as 0-0.4%. Studies show a lack of racial or ethnic role models causes minorities to feel unrecognized. This often discourages them from educational and career advancement.

How to Help

The Illuminative organization is partnering with various other Indigenous groups. Their goal is to bring more Native American inclusion in media, schools, and politics. They have various ongoing projects open for anyone to join.

Sacred Landmarks Desecrated And Racistly Named

One of the most famous popular landmarks is the Six Grandfathers. Ancestral spirits held sacred to the Lakota(Sioux People). The Lakota were later evicted, facing one of the bloodiest genocides, Wounded Knee. The rock was carved into what is today known as Mount Rushmore.

Other such famous sacred native landmarks are also racistly named by settlers. What many know as Devil’s Tower in Wyoming is referred to as Bear lodge by many Indigenous tribes. The same goes for the similarly named Wisconsin lake, Devil’s Lake, which is more known by the natives as Spirit Lake.

How to Help

Lakota(Sioux) tribes have been fighting actively for the change in names to Bear Lodge, but get repeatedly denied. A similar battle has been done with Mount Rushmore.

For now, be open to exploring the historic origin of landmark names and make an effort to use the more Indigenous names given to them.