TRS Report & Doc.: Native American Poverty

native american poverty

Native American Poverty

One of the biggest American tragedies was the devastation of the Native American tribes, that has led to Native American poverty, substance abuse, and a number of other issues.

With a population of over 5 million and hundreds of tribes and reservations, the Natives have come a long way from their once prominence in America.

While during the early 1800s, as the population of America was growing, the tribal land of the majority Native Americans, especially in the south, was being sought after for financial and personal reasons.

When the government issued the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the displacement of Indians was beginning as military troops defeated large tribes and acquired thousands of acres of land, which would later cause the Trail of Tears.


Natives were also given alternatives, through treaties and agreements, to move west of the Mississippi river in exchange for their land in the south, since the southern states was prime real estate to grow cotton.

This is why the majority of today’s reservations, other than central Mississippi and South Florida, are located in states like Arizona, Oklahoma, South Dakota, New Mexico, Minnesota, Utah or Montana.

Over the years the tribes would become self governing, while the government would pass a number of laws to supposedly help the reservations, like the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

In the 1980s, what started in the state of Florida expanded to all of the Native American reservations as Congress passed a law to regulate gaming on reservations and allegedly to provide a mean of providing tribal economic development and self-sufficiency.

Even though most of the country’s Native Americans do not currently live on the reservations, the complications of Native American communities vary with Native American poverty, a loss and exploitation of tribal land, a lack of resources, substance abuse, all while receiving a little help from the outside world.

For more on other communities of the diverse societies.