Holiday Realities in Remote Native Communities

As the holiday season gets into full swing, most Americans will have gifts and parties on their minds. But for many Native American families living on remote reservations, the holiday season only exacerbates the challenges of everyday life and this kind of celebration is not always within reach.

Did you know that households on reservations are 400 percent more likely than other U.S. households to report not having enough to eat? This is usually tied to the fact that many reservation lands are in geographically-isolated locations with insufficient access to healthy and affordable foods. It’s also a surprise to many that Native Americans face the highest rates of poverty in the U.S., with 35 percent of Native American children affected.

The upside is that the holidays are one more opportunity for Native Americans to continue their lifelong tradition of unity and helping others.

Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) exists to support reservation programs all year long, and during the holidays, works to ensure Native families have opportunities to share a holiday meal and practical gifts to enjoy. Children and elders alike know there are people who care and remember them.

In 2016, PWNA worked with reservation partners to provide holiday meals for 2,400 Native American Elders, families, and children. Sylvia Aims Back from Sylvia’s Store – the food pantry in Polson, Montana – says they also rely on support from PWNA during the holiday season, when they see a spike in the number of families needing food.

In addition to food, PWNA’s holiday services also include thousands of gifts and stockings delivered to partners for distribution in Native communities. Holiday stockings are filled with practical items; while Elders receive gift bags with items such as socks, blankets and personal care products, excited children find toys, school supplies and more in their stockings. In 2016, PWNA provided holiday stockings for 11,730 Elders and nearly 27,500 children in remote reservation communities.

Find out how you can join PWNA’s efforts to ensure Native communities across the country can enjoy a bountiful holiday free of economic stress, and get started on a bright new year. Download Holiday Realities in Remote Native Communities, and make a meaningful gift through our Plains gift catalog or Southwest gift catalog.

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