Indian Country 52 #37 – Urban Indians
“Indigenous people are not supposed to have money. We were never meant to. My tribes occupied our homelands consistently for 13,000 years without it, and we were rich beyond our wildest dreams. We had advanced seasonal permaculture, hunting and fishing patterns, and vast amounts of leisure time. Yet we’ve had about 150 years to change 13,000 years of subsistence lifestyle into a complete dependence on money. To us, that is an incredibly weakened state.
With the civil rights movement, however, came a rebirth in self-determination. Groups such as the American Indian Movement were founded to put political pressure on the federal government. Many urban Natives found ways to rise above their challenges, eventually forming the “Native middle class”. They began contributing back to their original communities.
This summer, I decided to document the experiences of some of the 140,000 Native Americans who call the Bay Area home. There, 18.50% of the Native population live below the poverty level, versus 10.4% of the white population. Among those living below poverty level, 24% of those are in “deep poverty”.
According to Janeen Comenote, executive director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, “poverty remains one of the most challenging aspects to contemporary urban Indian life. While I do recognize that a sizable chunk of our populations are solidly middle class, every Native person I know has either experienced poverty or has a family member who is. Housing and homelessness remain at the top of the list of challenges.””
– The Guardian, #.
Download the 18″x24″ poster (.pdf), Indian Country 52 #37 – Urban Indians.
Indian Country 52
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country. Follow the series: Indian Country 52
Creative Commons License
This work by David Bernie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may download, share, and post the images under the condition that the works are attributed to the artist.