<\body> Stories in America: Support Pro-Choice SD Oglala Sioux President

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Support Pro-Choice SD Oglala Sioux President


Cecilia Fire Thunder, the president of the Oglala Sioux in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, is making waves over her recent comments about her state's abortion ban with no exceptions for rape and incest. "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction," she said in an interview with the Native American Times.

Considering the fact that Pine Ridge is dealing with extreme poverty, it's pretty amazing that President Fire Thunder is speaking out on this issue.

At Pine Ridge, two and three families sharing a house is common, according to Rhonda Two Eagle, Oglala Sioux Tribe secretary. A 2004 report on Oglala Sioux Tribe housing prepared by the University of Illinois Building Research Council found an average of 2.6 people per bedroom. "Nearly all the major and minor problems mentioned in the report are amplified by increased overcrowding," the report says. In one home, the researchers found 14 people sharing three bedrooms. Seven of them were being treated for asthma.

Pine Ridge's unemployment rate is estimated to be between 60 and 80 percent -- and it's been that way for as long as anyone can remember, reports CSIndy. The closest the rest of the country has ever gotten was 25 percent unemployment, during the Great Depression. The average life expectancy on the reservation is lower than Bangladesh -- 48 for men and 52 for women.

This reservation clearly has very few resources and would greatly appreciate a donation. Make checks out to OST Planned Parenthood Cecelia Fire Thunder:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

4 Comments:

At 3/23/2006 12:28 PM, Anonymous george clooney said...

Right on!

Those numbers are frightening.

 
At 3/29/2006 8:06 PM, Blogger MJW said...

If you missed it, I thought you might like to see this:

"For providing leadership during a time of cowardice in Washington, DC, Cecilia Fire Thunder, you truly merit this week's BuzzFlash 'Wings of Justice Award.'"

 
At 3/29/2006 9:13 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Thanks, I interviewed her on Monday. It should run on AlterNet.org in the next few days. She's an amazing woman...!

And it turns out, the unemployment rate on the reservation is 85%!!

 
At 3/30/2006 10:44 PM, Blogger MJW said...

Rose,

How do you suggest the problem of unemployment on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations be handled? What businesses do you propose South Dakota, or some other public or private entity, bring onto the reservation? South Dakota is not an industrial or manufacturing state. Outside of Sioux Falls and Rapid City, there are almost no private businesses that employ large numbers of people. The rest of the state barely has enough jobs to spread out to a very thin population (I know because I've been trying to find a job there myself). The only difference between the Pine Ridge/Rosebud reservations and the rest of the state (including other reservations! as well as many counties in the eastern part of the state) is the fact that the citizens of the rest of the state realized the economic realities of the region long ago and moved on to other locations. The populations of most of these counties have either decreased or stayed roughly the same throughout the 20th century. Even the two southern Black Hills counties have either lost residents over the decades or have increased only slightly.

Meanwhile, the population on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations has gone in completely the opposite direction, more than doubling in the last forty years. With numbers like those, is it any wonder the unemployment rate is so high? Cultural preservation or not, the local economy simply cannot support that many people.

See for yourself:

Population Changes for Most Counties in Western South Dakota and Three in Northwestern Nebraska. (source)

Shannon County, SD (Pine Ridge Reservation)
1920 - 2,003
1930 - 4,058
1940 - 5,366
1950 - 5,669
1960 - 6,000
1970 - 8,198
1980 - 11,323
1990 - 9,902
2000 - 12,466

Todd County, SD (Rosebud Reservation)
1910 - 2,164
1920 - 2,784
1930 - 5,898
1940 - 5,714
1950 - 4,758
1960 - 4,661
1970 - 6,606
1980 - 7,328
1990 - 8,352
2000 - 9,050

Jackson County, SD (half Pine Ridge, half non-reservation)
1920 - 2,472
1930 - 2,636
1940 - 1,955
1950 - 1,768
1960 - 1,985
1970 - 1,531
1980 - 3,437
1990 - 2,811
2000 - 2,930

Bennett County, SD (borders Pine Ridge on east and south and Rosebud on west)
1910 - 96
1920 - 1,924
1930 - 4,590
1940 - 3,983
1950 - 3,396
1960 - 3,053
1970 - 3,088
1980 - 3,044
1990 - 3,206
2000 - 3,574

Mellette County, SD (borders Pine Ridge on east and Rosebud on north)
1910 - 1,700
1920 - 3,850
1930 - 5,293
1940 - 4,107
1950 - 3,046
1960 - 2,664
1970 - 2,420
1980 - 2,249
1990 - 2,137
2000 - 2,083

Tripp County, SD (borders Rosebud on east; contains large town of Winner)
1910 - 8,323
1920 - 11,970
1930 - 12,712
1940 - 9,937
1950 - 9,139
1960 - 8,761
1970 - 8,171
1980 - 7,268
1990 - 6,924
2000 - 6,430

Fall River County, SD (Black Hills; borders Pine Ridge on west)
1900 - 3,541
1910 - 7,763
1920 - 6,985
1930 - 8,741
1940 - 8,089
1950 - 10,439
1960 - 10,688
1970 - 7,505
1980 - 8,439
1990 - 7,353
2000 - 7,453

Custer County, SD (Black Hills; borders Pine Ridge on west)
1900 - 2,728
1910 - 4,458
1920 - 3,907
1930 - 5,353
1940 - 6,023
1950 - 5,517
1960 - 4,906
1970 - 4,698
1980 - 6,000
1990 - 6,179
2000 - 7,275

Pennington County, SD (Black Hills; contains Rapid City, second largest city in state)
1900 - 5,610
1910 - 12,453
1920 - 12,720
1930 - 20,079
1940 - 23,799
1950 - 34,053
1960 - 58,195
1970 - 59,349
1980 - 70,361
1990 - 81,343
2000 - 88,565

Haakon County, SD (borders Cheyenne River Reservation on south)
1920 - 4,596
1930 - 4,679
1940 - 3,515
1950 - 3,167
1960 - 3,303
1970 - 2,802
1980 - 2,794
1990 - 2,624
2000 - 2,196

Jones County, SD
1920 - 3,004
1930 - 3,177
1940 - 2,509
1950 - 2,281
1960 - 2,066
1970 - 1,882
1980 - 1,463
1990 - 1,324
2000 - 1,193

Ziebach County, SD (Cheyenne River Reservation)
1920 - 3,718
1930 - 4,039
1940 - 2,875
1950 - 2,606
1960 - 2,495
1970 - 2,221
1980 - 2,308
1990 - 2,220
2000 - 2,519

Dewey County, SD (Cheyenne River Reservation)
1910 - 1,145
1920 - 4,802
1930 - 6,476
1940 - 5,709
1950 - 4,916
1960 - 5,257
1970 - 5,170
1980 - 5,366
1990 - 5,523
2000 - 5,972

Corson County, SD (Standing Rock Reservation)
1910 - 2,929
1920 - 7,249
1930 - 9,535
1940 - 6,755
1950 - 6,168
1960 - 5,798
1970 - 4,994
1980 - 5,196
1990 - 4,195
2000 - 4,181

Stanley County, SD (borders Cheyenne Reservation on south; also borders state capital)
1900 - 1,341
1910 - 14,975
1920 - 2,908
1930 - 2,381
1940 - 1,959
1950 - 2,055
1960 - 4,085
1970 - 2,457
1980 - 2,533
1990 - 2,453
2000 - 2,772

Hughes County, SD (home of Pierre, the state capital)
1900 - 3,684
1910 - 6,271
1920 - 5,711
1930 - 7,009
1940 - 6,624
1950 - 8,111
1960 - 12,725
1970 - 11,632
1980 - 14,220
1990 - 14,817
2000 - 16,481

Lyman County, SD (contains Lower Brule Reservation; borders Crow Creek Reservation; my home county)
1900 - 2,632
1910 - 10,848
1920 - 6,591
1930 - 6,335
1940 - 5,045
1950 - 4,572
1960 - 4,428
1970 - 4,060
1980 - 3,864
1990 - 3,638
2000 - 3,895

Buffalo County, SD (Crow Creek Reservation)
1900 - 1,790
1910 - 1,589
1920 - 1,715
1930 - 1,931
1940 - 1,853
1950 - 1,615
1960 - 1,547
1970 - 1,739
1980 - 1,795
1990 - 1,759
2000 - 2,032

Sheridan County, NE (borders Pine Ridge on south)
1890 - 8,687
1900 - 6,033
1910 - 7,328
1920 - 9,625
1930 - 10,793
1940 - 9,869
1950 - 9,539
1960 - 9,049
1970 - 7,285
1980 - 7,544
1990 - 6,750
2000 - 6,198

Dawes County, NE (borders Pine Ridge on south; home of Chadron State College)
1890 - 9,722
1900 - 6,215
1910 - 8,254
1920 - 10,160
1930 - 11,493
1940 - 10,128
1950 - 9,708
1960 - 9,536
1970 - 9,761
1980 - 9,609
1990 - 9,021
2000 - 9,060

Cherry County, NE (borders Rosebud on south; one of the largest counties in area in the nation)
1890 - 6,428
1900 - 6,541
1910 - 10,414
1920 - 11,753
1930 - 10,898
1940 - 9,637
1950 - 8,397
1960 - 8,218
1970 - 6,846
1980 - 6,758
1990 - 6,307
2000 - 6,148

 

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