THE PRESENT DAY PLIGHT OF THE LAKOTA
The name Lakota means "feeling affection, friendly, united, allied", or simply, “the friendly people.” Most Lakota live on South Dakota's nine reservations. The state of South Dakota is home to some of America's most scenic landscapes, the Badlands, and also the home to the poorest people in our nation.
Although Pine Ridge is the eighth largest reservation in the United States, it is the poorest. Unemployment on the Reservation is epidemic and 49% live below the Federal poverty level. Adolescent suicide is four times the national average. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewer. Many families use wood stoves to heat their homes.
The population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere: approximately 47 years for males and in the low 50s for females. The infant mortality rate is five times the United States national average.
There is a large homeless population on the Reservation, but most families never turn away a relative no matter how distant the blood relation. Consequently, many homes have large numbers of people living in them.
There is an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home (a home which may only have two to three rooms). Some homes, built for 6 to 8 people, have up to 30 people living in them. Some Reservation families are forced to sleep on dirt floors. Like so many other indigenous cultures facing the very reality of their loss of heritage and potential cultural extinction, the Lakota Nation is fighting to preserve their way of life.
10% of all CD sales of Siyotanka go to various charities in support of the Lakota people. If you are interested in finding out more about the spiritual traditions of the Lakota People we highly recommend the books, “Black Elk Speaks”, and “The Sacred Pipe: The seven rights of the Oglala Sioux”.