THE UNDERSTANDING

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

For centuries, the American narrative has been rewritten to conceal the unthinkable crimes against humanity on which this country was founded. These historical violations and the continued systemic oppression of indigenous communities not only go unacknowledged, they are often denied by those in positions of power. 


Native Americans were violently removed from 99% of their homeland and forced into so–called “reservations” where they have been subjected to some of the worst poverty and unthinkable living conditions in the country. These reservations have epidemic rates of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, human trafficking and suicide. 


The Lakota, also known as the Teton Sioux, are one of the seven Sioux tribes of the Great Plains and one of 563 Federally recognized tribes in America. Once a nomadic tribe living in tipis, they were forced onto the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in the late 19th century. The majority of people now live in small trailers that house upwards of 18 family members, many without electricity or running water.

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