A main road in Eagle Butte. With a population of around 1300 people, it’s the biggest town on the Cheyenne River Indian reservation in South Dakota. Because recreational activities here are limited, there is no movie theater and no bowling alley, many youth hang out at the gas station, which contains a convenience store and two fast food restaurants, Taco John’s and Dairy Queen. It’s one of the only places to socialize and grab a bite to eat. Eagle Butte is the only place to buy groceries and one of the only places where you can land a job. People who live in remote communities drive up to 90 miles to see if they can find work with the main employers–the tribal government and Indian Health Services. It’s difficult for Native Americans to move closer to town because there is a shortage of housing and almost 48 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

  • Unemployed and living on government assistance, Robby High Bear said "the elders" are the keepers of Native American history. "You have to talk to the elders," he said.

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson

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