The hope for a successful and equitable recovery resides in an unlikely group of Americans whose women are “more likely to be in poverty than any other major racial or ethnic group.” That’s the way the Institute for Women’s Policy Research described Native women.
In many Native communities economic crisis is not an occasional disaster. It is a daily, and ongoing, reality. For generations our communities have faced conditions that are even worse than those of the current economic crisis: the scourge of high unemployment and poverty rates, health disparities, and substandard housing and infrastructure.
Back in 2000, when the national unemployment rate was less than 4 percent, the U.S. Census reported on-reservation Native unemployment at 22 percent. At that time, the Census also reported the per capita income for American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations at $7,942, well below the U.S. average for all races.