Essay on Poverty Among Native Americans


Poverty is a serious issue, affecting many types of people such as Native Americans. The book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” highlights the struggle of a Native American undergoing issues in a low-class area. Poverty comes with numerous issues such as such as hunger, home problems, loneliness, and many other negative consequences. The main character Junior, is a teenage Indian living in a low-class area and suffers the feeling of constant neglect. Poverty affects the lives of Native Americans living on Reservations because it destroys kid’s child’s hood’s, causes depression, and impacts children’s education.  

Starting off, poverty strongly affects Native Americans by ruining their childhoods. As children, Native Americans constantly watch their parents drink alcohol and do drugs. Without being able to learn right from wrong, “Tony Ghost-Red Feather, 18, said he grew up surrounded by alcoholism and violence” (Horwitz, “From Broken Homes”). Children, at the youngest of 4, do view sights they certainly should not. However, they constantly seem to experience with the alcohol and drugs they find. There are several young kids who have, “nearly a dozen friends and relatives who have died — some from drugs, violence or suicide” (Horwitz, “The Hard Lives). Having individuals disappear from life repetitively from the same effect really impacts a child’s life.

Next, Native American teenagers go through multiple beatings as a result of punishment. When psycho parents raise their children, the child becomes elder with never knowing how to react in certain situations. Some kids walk into their home, preparing to get a beating. The rate of child abuse of Native Americans, “is twice as high as the national average” (Riley). In the future, when kids have remembrances of their parents, they will instantly think of pain. Kids will think of unforgettable moments including, “Dad said I wasn’t listening” (Alexie, 16). Lastly, children on the Reservation go through struggle and betrayal. Every kid regularly, “wants to go outside.” However, Native Americans consider, “it’s safer to stay at home” (Alexie, 4). No Native American will ever experience the full fun of being young. Before Junior gets home from school, his father “took what little money we did have and ran away to get drunk” (Alexie, 150). Sadly, this is the last he hears from his father for days, impacting his week. 

Along the lines of ruining childhoods, poverty exceedingly affects Native Americans education. In life, children absolutely need an average education to succeed in the future. However, Native American students “graduate high school at a rate 17 percent lower than the national average” (Horowitz, “Hard Lives”). On the other hand, school books usually renew after years of learning. But, Junior irritatingly “was staring at a geometry book that was at least thirty years older than I was” (Alexie, 31).

Next, having an average education is phenomenal in order to earn good pay. Teachers attempt to teach kids who are “behind academically” (Raposa). But, due to their poor school systems, almost every Indian is behind. They definitely, “don’t have enough experience. But how can I get experience if they don’t give me a chance to get experience” (Alexie, 62). However, Junior thinks only wealthy white individuals can succeed. After Junior makes it into Reardon, he horribly acts as if he, “didn’t deserve to be there. I knew it; all of those kids knew it: Indians don’t deserve shit” (Alexie, 56).  Junior views himself as a “poor Indian.” He outrageously considers if “you’re Indian you start believing you’re destined to be poor” (Alexie, 13). Poverty overall ruins Native Americans chance to earn education. 

As a result of their difficult childhoods, lack of education, and opportunities, Native Americans grow up with mental health problems like depression. As Native Americans go through depression, they often think about taking their life. A year after a young girl took her own life, the girl’s distraught father hanged himself in the same tree because he “was devastated and he was drinking, and he hung himself too,” (Horowitz, “Hard Lives”). The only thing stopping Native Americans from suicide is their younger siblings who desperately need them. Indians sadly have suicide being, “the second leading cause of death among Natives aged 10 to 34” (Riley).

Resulting, poverty causes Native Americans to feel lonely. Whenever fathers are not off on a drinking binge, “they spend most of his time in his bedroom, alone, watching TV” (Alexie 39). Imagine wanting to experience the most pain and not knowing which will hurt more, “slicing my throat or my stomach”, or “slitting my wrists,” (Horowitz, “From Broken Homes”). Lastly, the poorer the family, the more misery Native Americans experience. Almost no one on the reservation “can afford to build a home, because no one can get a mortgage” (Riley). Many Indians do not have a house to live in. When Indians are poor, they desperately start “believing that you’re poor because your stupid and ugly. And then you start believing you’re stupid and ugly because you’re Indian” (Alexie, 13). Overall, depression is a big effect of poverty. 

Poverty affects the lives of Native Americans living on Reservations because it destroys kid’s child hood’s, causes depression, and impacts children’s education.  The main character Junior, is a teenage Indian living in a low-class area and suffers the feeling of constant neglect. Poverty comes with numerous issues such as such as hunger, home problems, loneliness, and many other negative consequences. The book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” highlights the struggle of a Native American undergoing issues in a low-class area. Poverty is a serious issue, affecting many types of people such as Native Americans.

 

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