Thunder Valley

Day 290_NK_-23Day 290 (October 18, 2014) – Pine Ridge

Life is simply hard on the reservation.  Opportunity is short to come by and hope, for some, was lost a long time ago. Promises were broken before and they continued to broken today. Help usually disguised in harm. This is one of the poorest places in America. I’m on sovereign land in a country that refuses to acknowledge the past, present or future. This is Thunder Valley, home to the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). On this land people die young, unemployed and wanting for more.  97% of the population live below the poverty line. Unemployment hovers around 85-95%. The infant mortality rate is 300% the national average and the average life expectancy is only 45 years old.  Homes are substandard and there are only a few shops in town.  Winters are brutal with snow drifts piling up on endless roads that stretch across a desolate landscape.  Despite these conditions, the Lakota are proud people. Despite the government promises turned into nightmares, they stand tall.  Despite all that life has thrown at them, they are still here.  But, life is hard on the reservation and opportunity, limited.

 

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