Mateo Chipps, 5, rides his bike after a rainstorm in Cherry Creek, a remote community about an hour’s drive from Eagle Butte. It’s a good place for children to grow up, says Manila Chipps, Mateo’s mother, because they can play, ride bikes and learn about the Lakota culture. Though she also sees the endless problems that come with deep poverty. Jobs, access to health care and educational opportunities are limited. Her older son Malik almost died of an asthma attack because there are no medical facilities near to where they live. “Sure, it’s our homeland,” she says, “it’s the people’s, passed down generations to generations. It’s our own nation. But we’re struggling, and we’re in the United States of America. Struggling.” She herself had no trouble finding a job when the family lived out of state, but cannot find regular work on the reservation. Still, she says she tries to lead by example, buying basic necessities for neighbors with the extra income she earns from selling “Indian tacos” that she makes at home. She said despite hardships, she and her children have a purpose on the reservation–to help other Native Americans.
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Resources“Happily, though, my fears turn out to be entirely unwarranted: during a month of poverty and toil, no one recognizes my face or my name, which goes unnoticed and for the most part unuttered.”
- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara EhrenreichInvestigate