ZIEBACH -- In the barren grasslands of Ziebach County, there's almost nothing harder to find in winter than a job. This is America's poorest county, where more than 60 percent of people live at or below the poverty line.

At a time when the weak economy is squeezing communities across the nation, recently released census figures show that nowhere are the numbers as bad as here - a county with 2,500 residents, most of them Cheyenne River Sioux Indians living on a reservation.

In the coldest months of the year, when seasonal construction work disappears and the South Dakota prairie freezes, unemployment among the Sioux can hit 90 percent.

Poverty has loomed over this land for generations. Repeated attempts to create jobs have run into stubborn obstacles: the isolated location, the area's crumbling infrastructure, a poorly trained population and a tribe that struggles to work with businesses or attract investors.

Now the tribe - joined by a few entrepreneurs, a development group and a nonprofit - is renewing efforts to create jobs and encourage a downtrodden population to start its own businesses.

"Many, many people make these grand generalizations about our communities and poverty and 'Why don't people just do something, and how come they can't?'" said Eileen Briggs, executive director of Tribal Ventures, a development group started by the tribe. "It's much more complicated than that."

The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, created in 1889, consists almost entirely of agricultural land in Ziebach and neighboring Dewey County. It has no casino and no oil reserves or available natural resources.

Most towns in Ziebach County are just clusters of homes between cattle ranches. Families live in dilapidated houses or run-down trailers. Multicolored patches of siding show where repairs were made as cheaply as possible.

Families fortunate enough to have leases to tribal land can make money by raising cattle. Opportunities are scarce for almost everyone else.

The few people who have jobs usually have to drive up to 80 miles to tribal headquarters. The nearest major population centers are Rapid City and Bismarck, each a trip of 150 miles or more.

Basic services can be vulnerable. The tribe's primary health clinic doesn't have a CT scanner or a maternity ward. An ice storm last year knocked out power and water in places for weeks. And in winter, the gravel roads that connect much of the reservation can become impassable with snow and ice.

Nearly six decades after the reservation was created, the federal government began building a dam on the Missouri River, but the project caused flooding that washed away more than 100,000 acres of Indian land. After the flooding, the small town of Eagle Butte became home to the tribal headquarters and the center of the reservation's economy.

"There are things that have happened to us over many, many generations that you just can't fix in three or four years," said Kevin Keckler, the tribe's chairman. "We were put here by the government, and we had a little piece of land and basically told to succeed here."

But prosperity never came. The county has been at or near the top of the poverty rankings for at least a decade. In 2009, the census defined poverty as a single person making less than $11,000 a year or a family of four making less than $22,000 a year.

Eagle Butte has few businesses and the handful that do exist struggle to stay afloat. The town has just one major grocery store, the Lakota Thrifty Mart, which is owned by the tribe. There's also a Dairy Queen, a Taco John's and a handful of small cafés. There's no bowling alley, no movie theatre.

But a few entrepreneurs are trying to break the cycle of failure, with mixed results.

Stephanie Davidson and her husband, Gerald, started a plumbing-and-heating business in 2000 with a single pickup truck. Eventually, D&D Plumbing started to grow, and they hired several employees.

But the reservation economy, which was never strong, has been hit hard by the economic slump. Many customers don't have the money to pay for work upfront, and the Davidsons have struggled to get contracts in new construction, such as an $81 million federal hospital being built to replace the aging clinic.

They've laid off employees and filled empty space in their building by adding a bait shop and then a deli. Nothing has worked.

"People think you're a pillar of the community because you have a business, and that part of it is good," Stephanie Davidson said. "We don't feel that way right now because we're having such a tough time."

Nicky White Eyes, who owns a flower shop on Main Street, says there are days when she doesn't sell a single flower. Most of her business comes from families who get help from the tribe to buy flowers for a relative's funeral.

"We're getting by with nothing extra," said White Eyes, who said she hasn't taken any salary in the months since she quit another job to run the shop full-time. "But no, I have too much heart in it to let it go quite yet."

The nonprofit Four Bands Community Fund has invested in both businesses and people in Eagle Butte. The group teaches residents basic financial skills - how to open a checking account, how to save money on a budget and how to develop credit.

"You have the most complicated little world here," said Tanya Fiddler, Four Bands' executive director.

Without a viable private sector, federal money permeates every part of life here. The federal government pays for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Health Service, three of the reservation's largest employers. Businesses rely on the federal money that comes into the reservation.

Federal stimulus dollars are paying for the new hospital, which will create as many as 150 permanent jobs when it opens this year. Other federal contracts bring sporadic jobs, too.

One tribal success story is Lakota Technologies, which has attracted call-center and data-processing work and trained hundreds of young people since it started more than a decade ago. The company now employs a handful of tribal members on a State Department sub-contract, even though most of its cubicles remain empty.

But other businesses owned by the tribe have run into trouble. Last year, a buffalo-meat processing company was sued by a rancher in federal court. The lawsuit accused the company, Pte Hca Ka Inc., of not delivering on contracts. A federal judge ruled against Pte Hca Ka for $1.1 million when it did not respond to the lawsuit.

Keckler, the newly elected tribal chairman and a former business owner, has pledged to try to fix the problems. He said previous officials have rejected overtures from outside investors because they feared the loss of tribal control or the risk of losing their positions.

"It's difficult for us to get people to come here and have faith in us as a government," he said. "We just had a new election, and there was discussion about, 'Oh, people want to give away things.' Those are kind of the issues that we have."

Still, there are small reasons to hope.

Later this year, the tribe will start to receive payments from a $290 million settlement with Congress related to the farmland that was lost to the Missouri River flooding. The tribe will receive annual interest on the settlement money starting this fall. This year's payment could be as much as $75 million, according to one tribal estimate. A Department of Treasury spokeswoman says the final amount hasn't been determined yet.

That money can be used for infrastructure improvements, economic development and education.

Raymond Uses The Knife, a rancher and tribal councilman, wants the reservation to be "accessible for other companies to come in and invest their money right here."

"We have to attract business. Regardless of how much money we have, we can't set up our own businesses," he said. "We also have to realize that we're all not experts."

Meanwhile, groups like Tribal Ventures and Four Bands continue to look for ways to bring in jobs and help those who are fighting the decades-old obstacles here.

"You can have all the heart you want, but you have to have actual cash and resources," said Briggs, of Tribal Ventures. "All those things play a part in our being able to basically use our greatest asset, which is our people."

(57) comments

Oglala Native

First of all, I would like to say hello to everyone who has left their comment on this article, and offer a hand shake. I know that sometimes people who on these reservations have a hard life to live, and at the same time are also trying to make life livable. I am going to comment on several of those who have already commented. Lexi06-mentioned about how other tribes are a success with their business ventures; One of the reasons why these tribes are a success is because, there reservations were put in an area where they are able to become almoast self-sufficient, meaning that some of these tribes have water. When there is a business, and this business may need water, then that is when it thrives. I remember when there was a business in Pine Ridge (reervation), and it was a moccasin factory. It was doing good for several, until it closed. Back then it was stated that Pine Ridge was located far from anywhere that it was hard to make deliveries from here to there, and also that water was a problem. Some of these reservations were put in places where water is scarce, so, the US Government had these plans to locate reservations where they are today. Another thing about these tribes being successful, is that some tribes are small, population wise; these tribes are then allowed to hire non-natives to work for them. So, think about that. On the comment made by Goldminer-about free money for natives. I put myself through college and I worked to get where I am now. I did not get free money. When I left home after I graduated from High School, I went to an out-of -state college, because I was discriminated against from in state education institutions (colleges, universities). So, did not get free money. The comment by Shunkaska- on education. I know that it is up to ever individual to get educated. The Lakotas have a strong extended family value, so I think that is why we have such a high drop-out rate. We are not individualized, but more of a family state. So, once s student is in high school s/he does not have that, or even a native to help with that support system. Thank you for letting me offer my outlook on this situation.

fringefan

It amazing me how a treaty or treaties signed in the 1800's and I think 1920's to brovide basic and reasonable care have evolved into what is provided today. One agreement that was to provide a horse, ox, small house, and cover basic needs like medical care, grain, flour, and education now means enitre hospitals, airports, cell phones, schools, SSI, and hundreds of other programs to cover social, mental, medical, and family issues. I would like to note many of these are self induced issues. When a high school student on the rez asks a school official how much alcohol they need to drink so they have a child with FA in order to qualify for SSI, my 6 year old could see it has gone to far. Rapid City might have once been on tribal lands but currently it is not on the reservation and the Sioux took these lands from another tribe.

jonesi
jonesi

Thank you for your reply evenescent7077. But you wrote one thing that sums it all up.
You wrote - "There is more to it than the assumptions that some people have made. I believe each person, each Lakota has their own feelings and beliefs. So, when I state something it is coming from my life experience as another human on this Earth."

So if you believe each person has their own feelings and beliefs then why do you feel it is still the native against the white man. I too honor my ancestors. Of which none of them slaughtered Natives or owned slaves But some think I owe them because a few "criminals" did slaughter Natives and owned slaves. So don't bunch everyone into one group because of the color of their skin. Please.

evanescent7077
evanescent7077

Yes, I agree.


I signed back in to add this. I lived my life in honor of my Grandmother, my ancestors. They are with me in my heart always. I can see no greater tribute to them, but to do my best in this life. To do what they were not allowed to do. To give their wishes and voices a place. They gave up so much and were treated so badly, so I felt it was on all of us to honor them in the best way we can.

Thank you again


[quote]jim123 said: "is the trailer photo in the story in Dewey county. As far as old trailers I grew up in one (the walls would move when the wind blew) but it was home and we made the best of it. I think the news folks like a good story and find a lot of bad things to report on. There are a lot of homes on the reservation that are very nice by my way of thinking and yes many are owned by tribal members who work hard to pay for them. There are many things we can find wrong but there are many good things as well (if we only look). It can not be just the Tribal,County or City governments by themselves to make it better, it will take all 3 working together."[/quote]

evanescent7077
evanescent7077

As far as I'm aware, Rapid City is within the Lakota's treaty land. I have been thinking of opening another business in Rapid City. Where I decide to open up a new business is up to me, naturally.

There is more to it than the assumptions that some people have made. I believe each person, each Lakota has their own feelings and beliefs. So, when I state something it is coming from my life experience as another human on this Earth.


What most of you don't seem to understand is there are no central stereotypical "Indian" being. We each individually have our own life experiences, like anyone else. So, we each make our own life decisions, like anyone else.

The Lakota do have treaty rights. I believe the U.S. government should honor the treaty.

So, I hope this somewhat helps answer your question about why I should open a business on the reservation. To me and my family we are still on treaty land.

Thank you

[quote]jonesi said: "evenescent7077 wrote - "For myself, I did own my own business in Rapid City. Although, I've sold it, I believe it is important for Lakotas to open their own businesses."So why not open a business on the reservation? Another thing. I'd bet you did so well for yourself not because of govt handout, but more from your hard work and pride. Something everyone should do. Native, white, black or what you consider yourself. That is how I made it."[/quote]

jim123

is the trailer photo in the story in Dewey county. As far as old trailers I grew up in one (the walls would move when the wind blew) but it was home and we made the best of it. I think the news folks like a good story and find a lot of bad things to report on. There are a lot of homes on the reservation that are very nice by my way of thinking and yes many are owned by tribal members who work hard to pay for them. There are many things we can find wrong but there are many good things as well (if we only look). It can not be just the Tribal,County or City governments by themselves to make it better, it will take all 3 working together.

jonesi
jonesi

evenescent7077 wrote - "For myself, I did own my own business in Rapid City. Although, I've sold it, I believe it is important for Lakotas to open their own businesses."

So why not open a business on the reservation? Another thing. I'd bet you did so well for yourself not because of govt handout, but more from your hard work and pride. Something everyone should do. Native, white, black or what you consider yourself. That is how I made it.

evanescent7077
evanescent7077

Nicely put WicazoTanka. To fringefan, don't keep me guessing...how would it turn out?

I hope any Lakota reading some of these statements being made, never let the negative part get to you.

For myself, I did own my own business in Rapid City. Although, I've sold it, I believe it is important for Lakotas to open their own businesses. I opened my store with my own savings. I never took out loans of any type. I saved and saved and saved.

I do own my own home and have a very nice life. So, please always look at the positive and keep your spirit strong. None of us have to leave our homeland to make our lives better. It can be done.



[quote]fringefan said: "There is a good reason why no businesses want to invest in those communities and we all know what they are. My kids go to a school that is over 80 years old and I can almost guarantee there is not a school or maybe even a building on the reservation that has been in use for that length of time. What kind of learning enviroment do you expect to get when you have to wrap your playgrounds in razor wire. I think most would rather see the money handed out which would be a huge stimulus for this area so there is never another dime paid out. Again I think everyone knows how that will turn out. "[/quote]

marilyn

My grandparents came to Perkins county around 1900. Perkins county isn't a lot different from Ziebach the way the land lies. They came with nothing and built a homestead and worked the land. We still farm that land and yes, we do receive subsidies on occasion. We aren't one of the farmers that have fancy pickups that pull boats to the river. We don't have the time and can't afford the boat. Those "subsidies" will never make us rich or even cover our costs. My point is that with hard work it was possible. There is no way that could be done in this day-no one could jump into farming with the cost of even the basics of machinery. Cows at $1300 head would also make beginning ranching difficult. Only choice, go to school and move to find a job. The "spirit" doesn't put food on the table.

fringefan

There is a good reason why no businesses want to invest in those communities and we all know what they are. My kids go to a school that is over 80 years old and I can almost guarantee there is not a school or maybe even a building on the reservation that has been in use for that length of time. What kind of learning enviroment do you expect to get when you have to wrap your playgrounds in razor wire. I think most would rather see the money handed out which would be a huge stimulus for this area so there is never another dime paid out. Again I think everyone knows how that will turn out.

WicazoTanka
WicazoTanka

To the afosterkid78's of these posts: The US Governement entered into treaties with the tribes of this state that guaranteed a homeland, healthcare, education, and subsistance through the Supreme Law of the Land. Law is forgotten. The Chairman stated that perfectly about how tribes were treated. Indians were not US citizens until 1924, well after the creation of reservations, and were shoved aside from the railroads and emmigrant roads.

The difference regarding the "whining" is there is remedy via law that is conveniently ignored but touted loudly when it comes to "private ownership" of lands. There is no argument in existence that will contradict the fact of that theft at the end of a US Calvaryman's rifle. All non-Indian individuals and businesses who have a deed to these home and business lands/sites are living off of the thievery of that very land since the late-1800's. If a thief sells your TV he just stole to a person who paid good faith money for it, he does not get to keep it and it is returned to you or the thief pays you for it then goes to jail.

For Indians here in the great state of South Dakota, the land is/was the TV, and non-Indian South Dakotans are still watching it. Indians were never paid or had their TV/land returned. The past is still here indeed today.

For reservations like Cheyenne River, the primary job sources are the government, private people like the store owners and plumbers referrenced have their different opportunities, but are at an inherent disadvantage mainly due to their location (middle of nowhere). Treaties guaranteed tribes the infrastructure for necessarry items, police, housing, education, healthcare, roads. The US has blown off its responsibility for that. Tribal governments don't want the money for per capita payments, they want good schools, good roads, and salaries for people to carry out the function of that job of tribal governments. (Shokopee and the Seminoles have two of the best gaming markets in the US. All SD tribes compete with Deadwood and their casinos are at a distinct geographical disadvantage.)

No Indian asked for any non-Indians/Americans to come in the 1700 or 1800's, but since you are here, honor your treaties via your rule of law. The remaining homelands, the 9 various reservations here in SD, are beautiful homelands and not American.

As for me and my Lakota relatives, we need to keep telling non-Indian American the rent is due We as Lakota need to live up to the tenets of what our heritage and language dictates; be proud, educated, strong, respectful, have pity for those who can't help themselves, so that the people may live.

afosterkid78

I am so tired of alot of Natives complain and whine about what the government did to your people back in the 1800's and what you think your entitled to for it. That might be part of the problem here. Do you think other tribes in america where strong and thriving from the start. If and when the government pays anything to any tribe what are you gonna do with it? Ten years will pass and that money will run out and the reservation will still be a dump and corrupt. Maybe invest it into cleaning the reservation up and making it attractive for outside companies to come set up shop. Look at Rapid City. What they gave to Cabelas to set up shop. How did the Shakopee become so financially strong and thriving? How did the Seminoles become so strong and thriving?

afosterkid78

I live in Rapid City and I understand that home is home but if it aint working for you....I guess you could always move. I was unemployed for three months and couldn't find a job so I was getting ready to move. Sometimes in life you have to do certain things to survive.

Nativeeyes

So the article is out and everyone knows that Ziebach County is the poorest county in South Dakota. My question is, so now we know, what can we do to solve it and promote a better economy? Isn't there a taskforce ready to tackle the problem and create a solution instead of using money for other sources?
Bob Jones, I am unsure if you are quoting from someone regarding the farm land subsidies but I do have a list in my hands, and willing to share it with you. We consider them multi-millionaires for using our lands and we don't get that back so we can benefit and better lives on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Its needs to be told the majority of those receiving "Farm Subsidies" are white people monopolizing off of our Tribal Lands when they are running cattle for wealthy ranchers from Oklahoma and Texas, and receive Farm Subsidies for Drought, harsh winter weather and other disaster.

badger123

Dear Peanut Gallery or Think Tank of So. Dak., get rid of the race-colored glasses and start thinking about why this is allowed to occur. How long would it take any one of us to throw off the bonds of oppression? Does anyone one wonder why is this type of poverty institutional? What will happen when a wronged people with legal siding finally become educated? Will our societal status be upended? Will they regain the title to the country they lost? There are many reasons to keep them in poverty, undereducated/uneducated and powerless politically. No one wants to think or speak about why they are not included. The rampant exclusion/non-acceptance in this state is societal and institutional oppression and at the worst ,racism that no one wants to acknowledge.

BobJones
BobJones

"...let's jump in and see what those in South Dakota get from "Farm Subsidies" by name and residence...okay?"

Spending your days wringing your hands about what someone else got that you didn't is never going to make you successful. It's a direct result of a government-dependedant mentality which is very sad and a nearly impossible mindset to break.

inhuman

we have kids with scholerships to various colleges,most tribes have colleges with master degree programs, its not hard to groom future leaders on the reservation, ...tribes need to develope exports,realestate,solicite manufactoring companies, developement of a tribal export like jewlwery or craft that only they can make, or create a micro brewery..otehr tribes sell cigerettes. we can survive aslong as the money is comming from out of the reservation not from with in thats why some casinos flourish but fail when their entire marketing is aimed at its members

Stu Pid

Unfortunately this problem is generations old and there is not an easy fix. The Reservations are located far away from SD pockets of population so any way you slice it is hard to spur that economy. But the real gold here in South Dakota is the people. We have some of the best in the world and I have been many places, but I came back so I could be a South Dakotan again.

Human

Education? Yes but from what source? Since the Lakota (i am one) been pursuing k-12 education, associate degree, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees and ignoring cultural education things have gotten worse. The last 50 years at a glance is a telling tale. the last 130 years even more so.

America's leaders need "Lakota" education, then maybe they can manage the Lakota. If they can't obide then leave us alone. Stick to managing people of your own. Let the Lakota manage the Lakota.

jonesi
jonesi

Just goes to prove that no matter how much tax money the feds throw at a problem, the problem doesn't go away.

xjess
xjess

lakotaicon said on: February 16, 2011, 9:47 pm
"Half of the people commenting on this article, obviously haven't been to eagle butte or any other rez. I grew up in Eagle Butte and seen alot of positve things springing up. I graduated in the top 10% of my class, am a native american but my parents made too much money, yeah my indian parents, made too much for me to get any financial aid. I was given the opportunity for a student loan, which I took and am now a sophomore in a 4 year college, paying my own way through loans and a job."

Good for you. I think what some of the other people are saying is that a good majority of Indians do not take the initiative to do what you have done. I know quite a few out of Rapid that want nothing to do with a full-time job. They have all the opportunities in the world open to them, and don't seem to take advantage of it.
It's hard for the rest of the people, struggling every day to make it, and see people take advantage.
I'm not saying that it's Indians alone, it's all races.

tipimakr

Hey there Icon, thank you for your post! My children have all done it themselves as well. Most folks don't know the competition for Grants or Scholarships is intense...so they make false claims about "indians getting free money" which is a myth. Hang in there...you'll get to where you want to be someday!

lakotaicon

Half of the people commenting on this article, obviously haven't been to eagle butte or any other rez. I grew up in Eagle Butte and seen alot of positve things springing up. I graduated in the top 10% of my class, am a native american but my parents made too much money, yeah my indian parents, made too much for me to get any financial aid. I was given the opportunity for a student loan, which I took and am now a sophomore in a 4 year college, paying my own way through loans and a job.

evanescent7077
evanescent7077

[quote]ramblinrose said: "Vikingslost: I am pretty sure the taxes people are talking about are land taxes and you are wrong. Native Americans are NOT required to pay land taxes..."[/quote]

Oh really? Than I think I may be owed a refund on the taxes I've paid out for my house and land for the past 30 years.

lac

who are you! and what do you know?

[quote]ramblinrose said: "Vikingslost: I am pretty sure the taxes people are talking about are land taxes and you are wrong. Native Americans are NOT required to pay land taxes..."[/quote]

Quevol

Come on Gopher, Dartmouth? They can offer all the free-ride scholarships in the world and all the specialized courses they want, they still have academic requirements. With an 11% overall acceptance rate, any student from any where would have to be truly exceptional to get in. 40% of admitted students were valedictorians.

It’s like those restaurants that offer to pay for your meal if you can eat the 6 lb steak. The offer is there but they know only 1 in a million can take advantage of it.

inhuman

Reservations don’t need to be dissolved it’s the tribal council that needs to be an educated leading body interested in the welfare of the tribe not were their next travel is some have never been in politics period before becoming a council rep some don’t have college degrees , yet they are in meetings interrupting law and trying to micro manage businesses and tribal programs that most if not all require a college degree to run in the first place, now how do you justify a governing body that doesn’t have the proper education to run a nation much less a gas station?
It should be any council rep must have at least a two year degree in business or social science or human services, then have been a community officer for two years then have the eligibility to run for tribal council and then have two terms as a council rep to be able to run for tribal chairmen.

BOSTON33

I would guess that 99% of the people writing on here have never been to Eagle Butte or ANY reservation. How you can comment and claim to have the answer without spending time on the reservation? Native Americans want what everyone else wants. They want jobs, strong families, and dignity. Believe me they don't want to live in poverty anymore then all of the white people living in poverty in South Dakota. They want to find a way out. They have dreams and goals also. Native Americans are very proud people and they deserve respect from all of us. They have been treated as second class citizens from the beginning of the reservation system. Most of you would be too good to go to the reservation to actually help and see with your own eyes how difficult life is there. Sometimes its hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when your bootstraps are broken.

Gopher

[quote]wheresthesunshine said: "From what I understand, native americans are able to receive various grants due to their minority/native american status (proven via federally recognized tribal connection). Consider that along with the low-income and you could receive a really good financial aid at low cost to yourself. Elite colleges such as Dartmouth even have specifically tailored native american programs! People WANT to help.I think before anyone tries to help alleviate any problems, the native americans themselves need to first decide if they truly want to better their lives. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. It requires a conscious effort and determination to go in a certain direction. It seems like it should be a priority of the tribal council to encourage positive changes if they won't listen to anyone who is not native american. Maybe the tribal councils should be asked what they are doing for their own people. Specifically and with studies to back up their claims."[/quote]

this is not ez to do, they what you to prove you don't need it then turn you down...

ramblinrose

Vikingslost: I am pretty sure the taxes people are talking about are land taxes and you are wrong. Native Americans are NOT required to pay land taxes...

tipimakr

And let's not forget those who do not Farm, but put in for and get Free Money...again in 2009 $1.3 Billion was given to those folks...maybe some of you are one of those folks who's always complaiining?

tipimakr

Well, now we've broken the ice let's jump in and see what those in South Dakota get from "Farm Subsidies" by name and residence...okay?
In 2009 36,097 folks in South Dakota recieved this free money, even the Hutterite Colonies got theirs...but enough, you go and look it up yourself before you cut indians down.
The site is farm.ewg.org...check it out!
Thanks for nothing!

wheresthesunshine

From what I understand, native americans are able to receive various grants due to their minority/native american status (proven via federally recognized tribal connection). Consider that along with the low-income and you could receive a really good financial aid at low cost to yourself. Elite colleges such as Dartmouth even have specifically tailored native american programs! People WANT to help.

I think before anyone tries to help alleviate any problems, the native americans themselves need to first decide if they truly want to better their lives. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. It requires a conscious effort and determination to go in a certain direction. It seems like it should be a priority of the tribal council to encourage positive changes if they won't listen to anyone who is not native american. Maybe the tribal councils should be asked what they are doing for their own people. Specifically and with studies to back up their claims.

VikingsLost

goldminer said on: February 14, 2011, 6:00 pm
its amazing how the people that live there complain about how bad it is. All they have to do is move. dont tell me "I can't afford to move" because they can sure make a trip to rapid or bismarck and go to Walmart. They have the same opportunities that everybody else has. they have to stop feeling sorry for themselves, get off the pity pot and make something happen instead of waiting for someone to take care of them. I grew up in Dupree, nothing there, I didn't stay because of that. I feel I am successful, not rich by any means, and I have not returned. Why would I go back to nothing. Be responsible and move. Go to school with your free money. I don't get free school, I am not native. there are more chances than they want to admit. Just lazy. Quit bringing up the past. Nobody alive put them on the rez. Anybody that had anything to do with that is dead, get over it.

------------

Attn: goldminer

You talk of free money that we are supposed to get. You are absolutely wrong. The gossip is that Native Americans get free money as in federal government checks, that is all incorrect information. And Native Americans pay taxes in the form of federal income taxes, state taxes, city taxes, federal fuel taxes and every other tax that all Americans pay.
And with the county government not wanting to snow plow Native Americans driveways because the County is trying to say that Native Americans do not pay taxes. Native Americans DO pay taxes, let's get that straight once and for all.

And goldminer, you want to talk about free money, what about most of those farmers/ranchers in Ziebach County that receive United States Department of Agriculture (UDSA) federal farm subsidies that is free money. Examples (Ziebach County): federal farm subsidy recipient (1) $1,034,299; recipient (4) $922,355; recipient (10) $592,138; recipient (12) $558,980; recipient (18) $475,381; recipient (23) $421,523; recipient (26) $396,289; and the list goes on and on. These subsidies were for the years 1995-2009. Most of the above federal farm subsidy recipients listed their address as either Eagle Butte, SD or Dupree, SD.

Any of you interested people regarding these federal farm subsidies for Ziebach or Dewey Counties or any other county in the United States can find that information at the website: farm.ewg.org

Doctrine of trust responsibility:
The foundation of this unique relationship is one of trust: the Indians trust the United States to fulfill the promises which were given in exchange for their land. The federal government's obligation to honor this trust relationship and to fulfill its treaty commitments is known as its trust responsiblity. (The Rights of Indians and Tribes; Stephen L. Pevar, The Basic ACLU Guide to Indian and Tribal Rights)

Finally, all of you including goldminer, need to do some research before you go off ranting and raving about stereotypes and misconceptions associated at Native Americans.

Thanks. Something to think about.

goldminer

its amazing how the people that live there complain about how bad it is. All they have to do is move. dont tell me "I can't afford to move" because they can sure make a trip to rapid or bismarck and go to Walmart. They have the same opportunities that everybody else has. they have to stop feeling sorry for themselves, get off the pity pot and make something happen instead of waiting for someone to take care of them. I grew up in Dupree, nothing there, I didn't stay because of that. I feel I am successful, not rich by any means, and I have not returned. Why would I go back to nothing. Be responsible and move. Go to school with your free money. I don't get free school, I am not native. there are more chances than they want to admit. Just lazy. Quit bringing up the past. Nobody alive put them on the rez. Anybody that had anything to do with that is dead, get over it.

shunkaska

I am talking about the rez, be it Shannon, Todd, Mellette, and Ziebach. We have incrediablee high drop out rates, our children can not compete with out the minimun of a HS deploma.You can't get into the armed services anymore with out a HS Deploma. We have do many issues, I believe that ones employability adds to ones chance not to fall into Alcoholism,Drug abuse, suicide,gangs and the other horriable social problems found in ALL high unemployement areas....

0bamanation

CRST-EB said on: February 14, 2011, 2:17 pm: "...over the past decade small changes have been happening but the old way of how business is run still goes on."

Please comment more on this. Perhaps a hypothetical "this is what I want to do (on the Reservation, but "on my own") and just how many governments, agencies, bureaus and of course bureaucrats that would entail: local, tribal, state and federal.

CRST-EB

So, are we talking county or reservation here? Ziebach County covers part of the reservation and the other half is Dewey County, the actual town of Eagle Butte isn't even in Ziebach County. I like the way everyone has a simple answer for the woes of this article. Then, we go off into political parties and blah blah. The problem is deeper than just educating everyone with a high school diploma or higher degree. Of course the problem lies within ourselves and making the changes, over the past decade small changes have been happening but the old way of how business is run still goes on.

Lexi06
Lexi06

There are many good comments here. Shunkaska as usual has a good grasp on the situation. I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the tribal council trump all others (gov. etc) when making decisions for the reservation? If so they should be reaching out to other reservations to see what they do economically. Fort Hall, Idaho isn't rolling in the dough but they have successful businesses and community relationships with surrounding towns. It's better all around to help people get on their feet instead of them living for generations on social programs provided by the federal government.

0bamanation

archiejones said on: February 14, 2011, 9:42 am: "I have to agree with you for once obama'snation. Since South Dakota has not elected a Democratic governor since 1974 I think we get "The perfect view of what total government management "can do for you."

Dont' flatter youself. I don't care one way or the other if you agree with me or not. However, not having a Democrat governor since 1974 is not "total government management." As a committed progressive you just THINK it is.

Rush Mountmore
Rush Mountmore

I've never flown over Zeibach County or driven through, but I would bet you couldn't tell the difference from the air where Zeibach started and other counties left off.

I would take a bet that the best jobs on the reservation would be working for the government and passing out goods and services.

Voting for Democrats while blaming Republicans keeps people busted and disgusted and beholding to whoever is passing out necessities.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a waste of time for everyone.

PaIinLies
PaIinLies

More proof that the reservation system needs to be dissolved.

Eggman
Eggman

[quote]Rush Mountmore said: "Pointing out that changing whatever is not working, is not meant to insult or to demean anyone.Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, seems to be a waste of good time."[/quote]

Didn't you mean "waste of good money" it seems like that's all conservatives care about. These people live in OUR state. To have this distinction of having the poorest county in the nation is disturbing. This state has been governed by Republicans since the beginning....maybe a poor state shouldn't be conservative....maybe people who live in trailer houses shouldn't vote republican...maybe some day the poor and lower middle class that makes up the vast majority of this state will wake up, turn off Fox news and see the lies for what they are. Republican do not support the poor or working middle class...they are the party of the rich....a very small minority in South Dakota.

[quote]0bamanation said: "The perfect view of what total government management "can do for you." "[/quote]

I have to agree with you for once obama'snation. Since South Dakota has not elected a Democratic governor since 1974 I think we get "The perfect view of what total government management "can do for you."

Kevin_C_K

If you read history what the settlers did to the Native Americans is no worse than what they did to those that had the land previously. They killed and raped those that had the land and even disregarded treaties. They wanted their independence so we gave them the land to do that, and supplied the financial resources to support them continually over the years. There is only so much that you can do. It takes motivation, hard work, and a strong business sense among other things to succeed. I agree with shuncaska...education is important. Maybe we need to stop supplying the financial support until they reach an appropriate percentage of College Educated members of the tribe. OR...that money could be only used as scholarships for those in needed areas of expertise and with good grades. I am all for supporting the County and the tribes that reside within. But let's be smart with our money and not throw it in a hole!

wheresthesunshine

I'm confused as to how "the deck is stacked against them." I agree that what was done to the native americans in the last couple of centuries was wrong. But you have to face the facts that if the newly established USA didn't do it, then it would have been Britain, France, Spain, or even China. You can choose to be or not be dependent upon ANYONE. There ARE opportunities available for these people to help themselves. It's as though they would prefer to live a bitter life rather than make the most of what they are being given to try to right the wrongs. I see plenty of jobs out there that are posted specifically for native americans. I wish I had their opportunities.

tipimakr

The article about the Wilder Buffalo Ranch up by McLaughlin is a prime example of the way Indians have been treated for hundreds of years...put on rez's and starved.
I say this because I am one of those who have a claim against the FMHA for denying me a cattle loan back in the 80's...
I have never seen a "poor" rancher or farmer. They are always the ones with the biggest trucks pulling boats enjoying "my" river and driving our highways simply because they get "subsidies" which in reality is social economic welfare, and these same opportunities are not provided for indian ranchers or farmers...I know, because I come from ranching families.
When the deck is stacked against you in everything, from the Missouri River Flooding to wind energy, indians have different hoops to jump through, the Casino's on tribal lands is another example...I could go on and on but critics only want to crticize someone they know nothing about...
Have a good day.

oldsarge

Wait...didn't I hear somewhere what John Thune would do about it if he was president ? No? Well, you would think he would be trying to do something about it...Zeibach County is in SD too, isn't it ?

hydrocarbon29
hydrocarbon29

[quote]0bamanation said: "The perfect view of what total government management "can do for you." "[/quote]

Social welfare programs do more to destroy people, families and societies than about anything else. There were some horrific things that were done to native Americans during the 1800's none of which were excusable. All of those things were small beans when compared to assimilation and social welfare. It doesn't matter where or when welfare measures are put in place, it usually ends in the multi-generational destruction of people who are made dependent.

Rush Mountmore
Rush Mountmore

Pointing out that changing whatever is not working, is not meant to insult or to demean anyone.

Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, seems to be a waste of good time.

0bamanation

The perfect view of what total government management "can do for you."

tipimakr

Rush Mountmore said on: February 13, 2011, 3:56 pm
If you fly over Zeibach County, it would look just about the same as all the other counties around it.

Maybe the inhabitants of Zeibach might try what they are doing in other counties.

Yeah Rush, since you've obviously flown over Zeiback County you should run for Tribal Chairman...seems you and Palin have the same attitude about your abilities!

shunkaska

When you look at the core, its about education, the keys to one future is to be educated and compete. It seems to be OK to drop out, crawl into dependency, then blame others for their choice.Although our nine reservations are considered independent nations the land mass if combined is larger than the state of Maryland. You have Lower Brule the largest produces of popcorn in the United States, you have millions of acres of grassland, add cattle and a slaughter house, consider markets from kosher, to other reservations, than other markets. You have construction benefits on all the reservations, health care, all the communities need shopping ect...It blows me away that with all the possibilities the head goes into the ground.The first goal would be to graduate, to feel you are as good and employable as anyone else. Some tribes will not hire anyone unless you have a HS diploma. Between Banking, wind energy, etc..the possiablities are as endless as it is for everyone else

Macdan

Apparently that is exactly what they are doing Rush Mountmore. According to the same report, the 7 poorest counties across the Midwest (you can add Bennett County at number 10) are ALL in western South Dakota, with Ziebach being the poorest in the nation and Shannon County as the third poorest in the nation.

Which one do you propose they model themselves after?

Rush Mountmore
Rush Mountmore

If you fly over Zeibach County, it would look just about the same as all the other counties around it.

Maybe the inhabitants of Zeibach might try what they are doing in other counties.

Hometown

And you see Sally Struthers (sp?) et. al. asking for people to send money to Africa, Asia, abroad basically. If you want to help, SD has seven reservations and plenty of people that need a hand to help them up.

1910147

Let me see !! Gosh this should work, a family of 4 now makes about $22000 a year, Take the $75 million and divid by 2500 County Residents comes to $30,000 per person, that times four = $120,000 add the $22,000 that they make now and you got $142,000 a year starting this year, Yes this should work. 101

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