This installment features the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Pine Ridge is the home of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe. There are no casinos here. The unemployment rate is obscenely high--estimated to be over 80%.
The Oglala Lakota (Sioux) is a very proud nation. Despite their impoverished condition, they have to date refused a 1980 settlement with the US government that is today worth over $200 million (exploitation of minerals in the region has been estimated at $60 billion).
Pine Ridge is known nationally for two events: The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 and the Pine Ridge Shootout of 1975.
Wounded Knee was the last major conflict between the US military and Native Americans. US soldiers annihilated nearly 300 children, women, and men.
In 1975 a shooting at Pine Ridge grabbed national headlines. Two FBI agents were killed. Leonard Peltier, a prominent member of the American Indian Movement, was tried and convicted of the murders with the help of bogus testimony. Peltier, a political prisoner, has been incarcerated for over 30 years.
Many African Americans are still catching hell in America. Native Americans are still catching hell too, but their oppression is mostly invisible.
"It [extreme poverty] aint a tragedy to me...its everyday life for a Lakota."
Bill Mills of the Oglala nation and a Marine Corps lieutenant is only american to win Olympic gold in 10 thousand meters and was only the second Native American to win Olympic Gold (1964 Tokyo). Mills's victory in the Olympics was a huge upset and is considered one of the greatest races in track and field history.
War chief (Oglala Sioux)
Statement, Sept. 23, 1875
Phote credit: youth build
tags: annihilation, lakota, oglala, pine ridge, poverty, sioux, white supremacy
Update #1 10/9/2010 -- A reader has informed me that Pine Ridge does have a casino, but it has done little to alleviate poverty on the reservation.