It is heartbreaking to see the images of the young children, mothers and families who are being incarcerated in very inhumane conditions along the border and in detention centers in 17 states across the country. Of course as Tribal people we have been through this previously when we were first placed on reservations and when many of our children were taken away and sent to boarding schools. We are still living with the legacy of these experiences. We must continue to join others to fight for those who want to come to the U.S. to seek a better life and resist those who through fear and ignorance want to stop this very American tradition.
The United Nations recently conducted a study on poverty on countries throughout the world and the United States was one that they focused on. The U.S was called out for having the highest rate of poverty among those countries in what is called the advanced Nations. Of course the poverty rate is much higher in many Tribal communities. The report stated that 3 million Americans live in extreme poverty where a person lives on $2 a day. This is not to be compared with the dire circumstances of those in less developed countries but it is still a national tragedy. Of course the Tribes that are more remote and isolated tend to have the highest rates of poverty. One of the major barriers for those Tribal communities who have high poverty rates is a lack of leadership. I would say this is a larger issue than a lack of resources. We are a resilient people and there are ways to address these systemic issues by implementing a systemic change to deal with the structural issues inherent in poverty stricken communities. For more information go to www.redroadleadership.us and see link on consulting services for Transformation Model.