The reality of life on a reservation

I’ve never been one to follow politics or the news. It’s never been a focus of my attention. Being honest, I find the news upsetting & I feel like there’s little I can do about the awful situations around the world, so why listen to it?

Cuddle Fairy blog & social media has been a politically neutral place & will continue that way. I have no interest in getting into any political or world news debates.

That being said… today I feel compelled to highlight living conditions for Native Americans living on reservations.

For the past few weeks, my husband & I have been watching John Connors’ America on RTE TV. It has been eye-opening & upsetting to watch the horrible things that are happening to minority communities in America that are not being addressed in America!!!

For you non-Irish readers, John Connors is an actor, activist & a member of a minority community in Ireland. As a Traveller, John has faced discrimination & bullying. As an activist, John seeks to improve the issues of depression, low educational attainment & high suicide rates in his community.

John was sent over to America to interview different minority communities.

Life on a Reservation

On this week’s episode, John visited a Native American reservation. Let me just note that I was born & raised in America & lived there until my mid-20’s & I can honestly say that Native American conditions was NEVER a topic I heard discussed. Never! I had no idea the horrific conditions that are present on their reservations.

What do I mean by horrific conditions?

First off, the reservation land is “held in trust” for the Native Americans by the American government. That means that Native Americans living on reservations do not actually own any land. Does this seem bazaar & wrong on all levels since all of America was theirs to begin with?

Second, there was no bank on the reservation & no jobs to be had.

Third, suicide rates are huge among young Native American men.

Fourth, unemployment & drug abuse is rampant.

Third World Living Conditions

Saying that the living conditions are poor would be a massive understatement. A picture’s worth 1,000 words so I googled to find some photos taken on reservations so you can see the living conditions that I saw…

Images courtesy of We Are All Gods Children

These are third-world conditions!

One woman that John interviewed spoke about the huge housing crisis on the reservation. And, the houses that were there are in poor condition. She lives in a two-bedroom apartment with 10 other people! TEN other people in a TWO bedroom apartment.

I remember watching a show about India’s slums in Mumbai & that was the type of conditions they are facing with an outrageous amount of people sharing a tiny house.

But, this is in America – not India. One of the richest countries in the world!!! How can this be? How can this level of poverty & disadvantage exist in America?

Discrimination & Lack of Opportunity

A few of the Native American men who were interviewed were reduced to tears talking about the hard times they are facing, how they are stuck without opportunities or respect from people outside the reservation. When they leave the reservation they can often face discrimination in stores & for employment. Many men end up joining the military due to the lack of opportunities.

Drug abuse & suicide are taking children away from parents. Lack of employment is forcing fathers to leave the reservation for work.

The houses are run down & over crowded. Their health care system is underfunded & preventative health care is scarce or non-existent.

How are young Native Americans meant to better themselves in these conditions? How in the world are they supposed to have freedom or build a life for themselves?

It’s shocking that a culture that is one with nature has been confined, limited & restrained in such a way that they can not thrive.

Wake up America!

The Native Americans aren’t the only minority group who are facing discrimination, drug addiction & death in their community. There are shockingly terrible conditions for many minority groups in America & they simply aren’t dealt with.

Why aren’t these terrible living conditions seen as a national priority? Where’s the equality? Where is the greatness of America here?

Watching the show made me feel sick to my stomach. It made me feel ashamed to have lived in America for 25yrs & not know about the terrible conditions the Native Americans were reduced to live in. Former President Obama added funds & resources to support tribal communities but admits there is still much more to be done.

Native American Quotes

To end on a positive note, I was happy to see that there is a movement within the reservations to boost the Native American culture & pride through traditional sports & music. It’s wonderful that they are continuing to keep their native traditions & wisdom alive in the next generation.

Despite all of their hardships, the Native Americans who were interviewed are optimistic that positive change will come after the hard times. They keep their heads up & work hard to maintain their culture & communities.

The Native American wisdom about the Earth, community & the way we should treat others is inspiring. Here are a few of the amazing quotes from Native Americans…

The Earth does not belong to us. We belong to the Earth.

Regard Heaven as your Father, Earth as your Mother and all that Lives as your Brothers & Sisters.

Oh Great Spirit, who made all races,look kindly upon the whole human family and take away the arrogance andhatred which separate

Final Thoughts

I’m writing this post today because I have a platform to bring awareness to the awful conditions Native Americans on reservations are facing today. It felt wrong not to talk about this when it has moved me so much.

I hope with all of my heart that attention is brought in America, to the terrible conditions many Native Americans are dealing with. And I pray that a positive change will come their way soon.

About Becky



  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Recent Articles