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Reservation Awareness by DanileeNatsumi Reservation Awareness by DanileeNatsumi
The purpose of this stamp is to address the contemporary living conditions of Native Americans living on reservations and encourage deviantARTists to support Native Americans who live on reservations.

Native American Reservation Awareness
   The Native Americans of the United States (Alternatively First Nations People, Indigenous Americans, or American Indian*) are diverse ethnic groups of peoples that have historically stretched from the northern tip of Maine to the southern tip of California and Alaska.  Like other ethnic groups, they have been both blessed and cursed with a variety of stereotypes.  The “Wise Indian Warrior” stereotype has survived its valour from WWII, preserved by the Navajo code.1  Many who hold Native American blood proudly flaunt their heritagebut the bright light of such praise has an overlooked shadow.

   Our inflated esteem and perceived respect has often overlooked the injustice served to tribes all over the country.  With multiple land acts pushing them further into compacted territories, for a variety of reasons both good and bad, inflicted by the federal government and their own tribal decree, these contemporary American Citizens live in ruins.

   Today, Native Americans are the largest American ethnic group in poverty with reservations often mirroring “third world” conditions.  The average income is far below the poverty line for most families (70% below poverty line, 30% in utter poverty) and account for the poorest 1% of Americans (e.g; the inhabitants of the Pine Ridge Reservation.).  Native Americans on reservations are prone to drug abuse, alcoholism,2 physical abuse, and are the largest demographic (aside from War Veterans) to commit suicide, and youths are especially vulnerable to suicide ideation and action.3,4  These staggering facts and statistics have lead to many Native Americans abandoning their tradition-based lifestyles in exchange for the comforts advertised by mainstream European-American culture.  About 78% of Native Americans—more often than not of mixed-blood heritagelive off of the reserve.

   Thankfully not all Native American reserves are in poor condition.  A variety of exclusions, such as “Indian Casinos” make it possible for Native Americans to distribute wealth within their community—if they choose to.  Other reservations do not have such a benefit.

   If you are moved to donate and/or take action, be warned.  Some Native American charities exploit Native American poverty for their own profit.  A notorious example would be the Native American Relief Council.5  The highly acclaimed Native American Emergency Relief is an excellent foundation, but caters only to two tribes.  If you are willing, please buy products from certified Native Americans artisans who either have online stores or travel from their reservation to sell their goods.

* There are many names used when referring to indigenous peoples of North America, some of which are recently constructed, and others of which are dated.  More information on Indigenous North American ethnic and legal nomenclature can be learned from this wikipedia article.

Accredited Native American Reservation projects, charities, and services
Listed alphabetically.  Please inform me of other credible charities!!  Please inform me if any of these resources experience controversies!!
Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program: Provide basic necessities to a Navajo Elder living a culturally based lifestyle on the Navajo Reservation.  You can buy beautiful Navajo rugs from this organisation.
Native American Emergency Relief: Provides basic resources to Navajo and Hopi Reservations. WARNING! This organisation over-uses emotional tactics and under-uses statistical evidence to collect support!.
Native american Heritage foundation:  Provides regular nutritional food to South Dakotan reservations.
Navajo Water Project: Provides clean water to needy Navajo communities.
Partnership with Native Americans: formerly known as the National Relief Foundation, this charity improves the quality of life for America's poorest reservations. 

Accredited Native American Off-reservation projects, charities, and services
American Indian College Fund: Provides college funding to Native American students.
Native Services:  America's Big Brothers and Big sisters outreach to Native American communities.
Notah Begay III foundation: Reduces obesity and Type II Diabetes in Native American children.
White Bison, Inc.: Culturally based alcoholics recovery programme.
Wings of America:  Athletics programme for Native american youth.

Buy from Native American Artisans:

E-how: How to buy from the reservations:…

Sources and Further Reading:
1. Navajo Code Talkers
2. Challenges to Health and Well Being for Native American Communities
3. American Indian and Alaskan Native Suicide Prevention
4. Suicide Prevention Action Network USA: Suicide Among American Indians/Alaskan Natives  (PDF source)
5. “Indian Charity Accused of Lying”
Federal Indian Law
Indian Country Today Media Network: Native American Interest News Source
Wikibooks: American Indians Today/Current Problems
Native American Liaisons Directory
Indian Casino Directory
Native American Initiative Program Why are Indian Reservations so Poor? Look at the bottom 1% (This is an article that encourages European-American entrepreneurship.  Please consider it carefully.)
CCTV Americas Now (youtube channel): An investigation into living conditions in the Navajo nation of the southwestern United States
On deviantART: "Cultural Appropriation" by RobynRose discusses the misappropriation of stereotypically "Native American" motifs in art.

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Submitted on
October 1, 2012
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