The Pine Ridge Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located in the South Western corner of South Dakota and with 2,800,000 acres it is the second largest Indian Reservation in the USA. This is the land of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe, and is home of approx. 40,000 Oglala Lakota. It seems to be a very difficult task to count the residents on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the current surveys vary 15,000 (us census) and 47,197 (OST Census Office10/2008 in Pine Ridge). The Oglala Lakota Oyate have a history with proud names like Tasunke Witko (Crazy Horse), Black Elk, American Horse, Red Cloud, Young Man Afraid Of His Horse, Little Wound and many more. The Pine Ridge Reservation is situated within the Shannon County where the Per-capita income makes it the second poorest county in the USA with an average annual income of $ 3,700.00 and an unemployment rate of 80%. Shannon County also has the highest population rate of Native Americans in the United States, and the lowest percentage of caucasians. Residents suffer from serious illness like diabetes, heart disease and chronic health conditions at levels vastly disproportionate to the national average. The life expectancy rate on this reservation is 48 years for men and 52 years for women. The school dropout rate is over 50%, the incidence of teen suicide is 150% above the national average. Almost 50% of the residents on the Pine Ridge Reservation live under the poverty level. Even in the year 2011 there are still residents on the reservation without plumbing, kitchen facilities and no electricity. Despite these harsh conditions of poverty and suppression, the Lakota people still proudly live a rich culture and work toward maintaining the cultural heritage and toward the revival of their language.