Living conditions on many reservations are inferior to what many of us take for granted. Society is dysfunctional, with high divorce rates, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and crime. The economy is very bad, with few job opportunities, and low wages. Decent education is also hard to find, with an astounding number of children not graduating high school.
On many reservations alcoholism is uncontrolled. Social workers in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota estimate that between 60 percent and 80 percent of babies on the reservation are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Alcoholism affects nearly every family and often starts early in life. Those people who do not abuse alcohol experience difficulty functioning in an environment so dramatically affected by alcohol abuse. One effect of the alcohol is increased crime rates. While it provides new revenue for a reservation, it also causes many disasters, such as drunk driving. Native American women experience the highest rate of violence of any group in the United States.
A report found that Native American women suffer violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. National researchers estimate that this number is actually much higher than has been captured by statistics. According to the Department of Justice over 70% of sexual assaults are never reported. Average life expectancy ranges from a low of 64.3 years of age in the Aberdeen Area to a high of 76.3years in the California Area, a difference of 12 years. Life expectancy for the general Native American population is 76.9 years.
On a reservation, job opportunities are scarce. Since the market is so small, many employers do not chose to expand into reservations. A Native American who wants a middle class job will most likely have to leave the reservation. Because of this,