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Reservation Awareness by Danilee3240 Reservation Awareness by Danilee3240
The purpose of this stamp is to address the contemporary living conditions of Native Americans living on reservations and encourage deviantARTists to support Native Americans who live on reservations.

The Native Americans of the United States (Alternatively Indigenous Americans or American Indians) are diverse ethnic groups of peoples that have historically stretched from the northern tip of Maine to the southern tip of California (save Alaskan Natives, who exist in the state of Alaska.) Like other ethnic groups, they have been both blessed and cursed with a variety of stereotypes. The “Wise Indian Warrior” stereotype has survived its valor from WWII, preserved by the Navajo code.1 Many who hold Native American blood flaunt it proudly-- but the bright light of such praise has an overlooked shadow.

Our inflated esteem and perceived “respect” has often overlooked the injustice served to tribes all over the country. With multiple land acts pushing them further into compacted territories, for a variety of reasons both good and bad, inflicted by the federal government and their own tribal decree, these contemporary American Citizens live in ruins.

Today, Native Americans are the largest American ethnic group in poverty with reservations often mirroring “third world” conditions. The average income is far below the poverty line for most families (70% below poverty line, 30% in utter poverty) and account for the poorest 1% of Americans (e.g; Pine Ridge.). Native Americans on reservations are prone to drug abuse, alcoholism,2 physical abuse, and are the largest demographic (aside from War Veterans) to commit suicide, most notably youths.3,4 These staggering facts and statistics have lead to many Natives abandoning their tradition-based lifestyles in exchange for the comforts advertized by mainstream European-American culture. About 78% of Native Americans (more often than not of mixed-blood heritage) live off of the reserve.

Thankfully not all Native American reserves are in poor condition. A variety of exclusions, such as “Indian Casinos” make it possible for Native Americans to distribute wealth within their community—if they choose to. Other reservations do not have such a benefit.

If you are moved to donate and/or take action, be warned. A variety of Native American charities exploit Native American poverty for their own profit. A notorious example would be the Native American Relief Council.5 The highly acclaimed Native American Emergency Relief is an excellent foundation, but caters only to two tribes. If you are willing, please buy products from certified Native Americans who either have an online store or travel from the reserve to sell their goods.

Accredited Relief Sites:
National Relief Foundation (Nationwide): www.nrcprograms.org/site/PageS…
Native American Emergency Relief: (Navajo and Hopi Tribes): www.naerelief.org/index.html
American Indian College Fund (Nationwide): www.collegefund.org/students_a…

Buy from Native American Artisans:
E-how: How to buy from the reservations: www.ehow.com/how_5700098_buy-a…

Sources and Further Reading:
1. Navajo Code Talkers: www.navajocodetalkers.org/
2. MSH.org: Challenges to Health and Well Being for Native American Communities: erc.msh.org/mainpage.cfm?file=…
3. HIS.org: American Indian and Alaskan Native Suicide Prevention: www.ihs.gov/nonmedicalprograms…
4. AI/AN Facts (PDF source): www.sprc.org/sites/sprc.org/fi…
5. Charitywatch.org: “Indian Charity Accused of Lying”: www.charitywatch.org/articles/…
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Wikibooks: American Indians Today/Current Problems: en.wikibooks.org/wiki/American…
Federal Indian Law: thorpe.ou.edu/cohen.html
Native American Liaisons Directory: www.fws.gov/nativeamerican/Lin…
Indian Casino Directory: www.indiancasinos.com/
Native American Initiative Program: www.cdfifund.gov/what_we_do/pr…
Forbes.com: Why are Indian Reservations so Poor? Look at the bottom 1%: www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoppi… (This is an article that encourages European-American entrepreneurship, so please consider it carefully.)

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