While groups like National Relief Charities work to aid modern Native Americans, the tribes continue to suffer from certain afflictions at rates much higher than those of their neighbors outside of the reservations.
Diabetes has become one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide. Native Americans suffer from the affliction more than most, with the highest rate of diabetes in the world. With Type II Diabetes becoming more and more common in younger children, diabetes prevention has become a priority in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The Native American population has worked to strengthen education and prevent the spread of diabetes to future generations.
Alcoholism poses another serious problem in Native American communities. Every ethnic group faces the challenge of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems; Native Americans are not the only group. But statistics show that 1 in 10 Native American deaths is the result of alcoholism. Studies have suggested that genetic traits contribute to Native Americans’ tendencies towards low tolerance of alcohol in the body. With this understanding, prevention groups and Native American communities have taken steps to prevent alcoholism in the younger generations.
The two poorest counties in the United States are Native American Reservations. The Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation and the Crow Creek Reservation struggle with extremely high unemployment rates (over 80%) and poverty rates (over 63%). It is not hard to see that poverty is an immediate concern for Native American peoples. According to the 2010 Census, 28.4% of American Indians and Alaska Natives are living in poverty. The negative effects of poverty include overcrowding, malnutrition, alcoholism, and suicide.