Oglala Sioux Tribe wants government help with housing crisis - KOTA Territory News

Oglala Sioux Tribe wants government help with housing crisis

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For years, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has struggled to maintain housing conditions. Now a new effort will draw national attention to the sub standard housing.

Broken windows, vandalism and disrepair aren't the only problems facing Indian country. There's a serious lack of housing on the pine ridge reservation.

"We've got young families that are just starting and they don't have homes to go. I have people coming into my office with three, four little kids and they have no place to go," said Paul Iron Cloud, Oglala Sioux Housing Chief Executive Officer.  

In some cases, three or four families are living in the same house. Oglala Sioux Tribal Chairman, Bryan Brewer, says this affects education and can lead to a slew of other problems.

"With poverty it breeds a lot of bad things–drugs, alcoholism, abuse," said Brewer.

 Those problems are in addition to an 89 percent unemployment rate and a growing population. "Our population is going up, our life expectancy is going up, so there's more need for housing and it's just not happening," said Brewer.

Brewer says the government is partially to blame by not following treaty rights.

"One of the things that it says in the treaty is that we will have housing, education, law enforcement, things like that," said Brewer.

So, if Washington won't come to the reservation, the tribe will take the reservation to Capitol Hill. Lakota Housing, the OST Partnership for Housing, and other organizations are hoping to shine a national spotlight on the home, an example of the poor living conditions on the reservation. 

"We're trying to make them aware of our need and the treaty obligations that congress has with Indian people," said Iron Cloud.

The hope is to establish a "Trail of Hope" for Indian housing.

The "Trail of Hope" project leaves from Kyle, South Dakota to D.C. on April 13th. The house will be in front of the Capitol. They have permission to be there for one day, which is April 17th.

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