Hunger on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation - Part 5 of 8
In this series, the Black Hills Pioneer staff examines the effects of hunger in our state and local communities. The following is part five of eight and examines hunger on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
PINE RIDGE — Hunger is a fact of life for those living on South Dakota’s seven Indian Reservations, where third-world conditions of extreme poverty found a home in America. Many issues contribute to this lingering problem on the reservations, but they all share the same root: severe economic depression.
Per capita income in Oglala Lakota County, comprised solely of Pine Ridge Reservation land, is $6,000-$8,000 per year. More than 60 percent of the reservation’s estimated 20,000-40,000 residents (the latest U.S. census results, taken 16 years ago, hold the population at 15,000; tribal officials report real numbers near 40,000) fall under the federal poverty line, and unemployment rates hover around 80 percent.