People in Indian Country Make the Best New Year’s Resolutions
In this country, New Year’s is a time of reflection and resolution — a time of promises we make to ourselves about a better future. Yet, much of what we resolve to do, and even take for granted, actually represents real and difficult challenges faced 365 days a year on the reservations served by Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA).
While many of us vow to lose weight or eat healthier, families on the reservations are facing a completely different kind of challenge. Will I have enough food to feed my family? Will this food be healthy enough to provide nutrition rather than just calories? Will the food I can afford lead to obesity or diabetes for my children? Will I be able to get the grocery store an hour or more away? Think about what kind of resolution you might actually make in the face of this challenge.
While some of us vow to strive for better grades in school, many students on the reservation might hope for something much more basic. Although it varies by community, up to 70 percent of Native American students drop out of high school due to economic and other struggles affecting them, their families and their communities. Faced with this reality, it would be a hopeful resolution to stick with it and graduate high school no matter the obstacles.
While those among us vow to find a better work-life balance, tribal members living on the reservations instead struggle with a lack of available jobs. Joblessness impacts a high portion of families throughout PWNA’s service area. Even among those with jobs, 29 percent of Native Americans who work full-time live below poverty level, affecting 43 percent of Native American children.
Continuing our work with reservation partners and donors, PWNA can help change these hardships. We’ve recently written on this blog about giving the gift of food. We see hope in more Native students applying for college scholarships. In recent years, the portion of Native students with a college degree rose from 11 percent to 13 percent. With continued commitment and high-impact support focused where our tribal partners need it, quality of life on the reservations can and will improve and a resolution found to the struggles they face.