Jan 06 2011

For Native Americans Recession Hits a Lot Harder

native americanThe US Mint on January 12th will celebrate the release of this year’s $1 coin in its Native American series. The coin features the images of a Native American and white man passing a peace pipe. This represents a 1621 treaty signed between a tribe in Massachusetts and the area’s English settlers. However, as the Federal government honors the history and contributions of Native Americans with a new coin, Indigenous people are among the least likely to have one in their pocket. An issue brief released by the Economic Policy Institute in November shows that Native Americans are experiencing significantly higher rates of unemployment than whites. Titled, “Different Race, Different Recession: American Indian Unemployment in 2010,” the brief examines regional unemployment rates among American Indians. From the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2010, whites in Alaska and the Northern Plains were not hit as hard by the recession as their counterparts in other areas. However for Native Americans, unemployment rose the most in these two regions in the same period. To calculate the unemployment rate among this diverse and widespread group, the Economic Policy Institute looked at employment-to-population ratios, instead of the more common method that excludes unemployed people who have stopped actively looking for work. The employment-to-population ratio counts all working age adults who are not employed, and is considered by some to be a more accurate assessment of unemployment.

GUEST: Algernon Austin, author of the Brief and Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute

Find out more at www.epi.org.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “For Native Americans Recession Hits a Lot Harder”

  1. Toni Martinezon 07 Jan 2011 at 10:43 am

    Again I read a news story that is not completly based on the full truth. So I will state this and will hope you will open your eyes. Most Americans think all Natives live on reservations but only close to 25% live on reservations with 75% live in towns and cities all over this country. As Citizens they have the ablity to have a dollar in their pocket like everyone else. When you travel to reservations and see the poverty, you should look to their Native governments (especially ones with casino’s) that is where the wealth is but it is not being shared with the people. But of course, the story is only as good as the author. I am tried of the cry baby stories and I refused to say sorry for the past generations ideals. I see it as a study to stop wrongs done to any group of people reguardless of the color of their skin.But of course it has become a money making way of life for the natives in this country and has served them well in europe and in the United Nations continuing through out south of our boarder.
    I am sure many Natives will have the new dollar in their pocket if they want it.

  2. Gordon Jameson 07 Jan 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Everyone, tribal and non-tribal, could benefit from a better learning and understanding of this history. Reservations have long been the target for those who would diminish tribal capacities. Afterwards, it’s too easy to point at what the families who’ve stayed don’t have and blame them for it.

    It is also unfortunate that seeing the shiny new buildings distracts some from seeing the not-so-shiny new debt. While tribal economic development may bring jobs, it can come at tremendous expense – that must be paid for before a profit can come to the people. Those who do it otherwise, find themselves in additional financial difficulty and potentially lose the benefit of the jobs they’ve created.

  3. GREY EAGLEon 08 Jan 2011 at 9:07 am

    Pretty funny celebrate a Native American coin with a scene from the signing of a peace treaty. Like all Promises and Treaties none were ever kept all were BROKEN.

  4. Jeff Whalenon 10 Jan 2011 at 1:01 pm

    When America goes into recession they have a fit and panic because they cannot continue the life stye they have gotten used to. When America goes into recession the Indian Tribe on the other hand don’t pay much attention to it. Tribal members who have elected to “stick it out” at home on the rez are used to being subjected to recession type environments. It is a way of life and we have learned to cope with it in more ways than one. Everytime America goes broke, they should take lessons from Tribes on how to surive in poverty stricken areas. I live in South Dakota in one of the most poverty stricken areas in the country. We have been at the bottom of the list for all of our lives. We are survivors.